A shocking stat: 93 percent of the seed varieties available in US seed houses in 1903 had gone extinct before 1990.
Now keep in mind that 1994 and 1995 were the first years that outdoor growing of GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) began, which started to result in crop contamination and further pressure on our international seed stocks.
This National Geographic infographic spells out some of the specifics (but only through 1983), which means that the graph below shows a picture of an already dwindling food variety a full ten years before the introduction of GMO-contamination to our crops:
Needless to say, the situation has become more dire in the 2000’s.
Not only from problems such as these, but also relating to the areas where the food was physically grown: loss of arable land, loss of topsoil, overuse of pesticides, toxic groundwater, GMO-patented crops, supply and demand, tracking and clear cutting and more. Biodiversity is an incredibly important component in environmental integrity, and not something to take lightly. And even though techniques such as hydroponics and vertical farming are being explored, it’s crucial that we pay attention as well to the loss of the land where crops could grow in each country.
For more on learning about the repercussions of certain practices, as well as what you can do today to improve awareness of the issue and to support seed/species protection, consider joining or donating to organizations such as Seed Savers at their website or on their Google+ page.
Suggested articles for further reading:
- In 80 Years We Lost 93% of Variety
- The Economist: Banking Against Doomsday
- Mother Earth News: Seed Diversity in Trouble: Monsanto Dominates Global Seed Supply
- GMO Journal: Loss of Biodiversity and Genetically Modified Crops