Mitigation Ideas: Agriculture

From growing food crops, to herding livestock, to growing crops for things like paper and rope, agriculture represents one of the largest expenditures of energy in modern society. As such, it is also one of the largest producers of greenhouse gases. Techniques to reduce energy costs and emissions from agriculture could have a huge impact on our contribution to climate change. 

Agriculture, specifically the growing of plant crops, also represents one of the most reliable methods for pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere—via photosynthesis. If that surface carbon can then be removed from the carbon cycle, agriculture could be an important method of sequestration.

Tortilla chips made out of crickets
The Eat Chirps company has developed food made from insects that looks and tastes just like one of America’s favorite snack foods. They’re high in protein, low in fat (for tortilla chips), and good for the environment.

“Aquapod” fish farming
Moveable, spherical fish farms could be the basis for more efficient aquaculture, which will be especially important as the oceans’ natural fisheries decline. 

Insects for protein
An open-source bug farm could provide a way for people grow their own protein at a low financial AND low environmental cost.

Organic insect farming: Bug burgers!
Locusta (grasshopper), Tenebrio (mealworm), Acheta (cricket) and many other delicious insects are regularly consumed by more than 2 billion people already today – for excellent reasons.

Other Agricultural Techniques  

These ideas may be out of reach for a school project but could be feasible if scaled down. For example, could the idea of limited-spectrum LED lights inspire you to build and test a prototype in your home that allows you to grow and harvest a herb garden?

Limited-spectrum LEDs for indoor farming
Indoor farming reduces water wasted through evaporation and irrigation, reduces the need for pesticides, and allows for year-round food production. It also means that, in theory, food can be grown near or even in the cities where most of it is consumed. 

Beetle wing casings to make plastic
A Dutch designer has developed a way to convert beetle wing casings—made mostly of chitin—into a kind of bioplastic. With efforts underway to try to develop ways to farm insects for food, chitin-based plastics could turn out to be a major part of manufacturing in the future.

Using fungus to create a variety of materials
This company uses mushrooms grown in molds to create materials for packaging, insulation, car parts, structural building materials, and even surfboards. Not only does their product require relatively little energy to create, it replaces other, more energy-intensive products, and has a wide range of applications.

Growing food in the desert
Creative use of photovoltaics, architecture, and natural resources allows for indoor farming in the desert.