Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2018

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Environmental Studies


Edward Van Buren


In exploring the concept of environmental sustainability in the modern age, it is important to look at the practices of the agriculture industry and the role of agricultural production in the multifaceted issue of climate change. The agriculture industry's overwhelming power in the US government and its resistance to moving toward more sustainable practices is an issue that the average American has little awareness of. In order to push the movement of environmental sustainability forward, it is necessary to examine the economic reasons for the slow shift towards sustainable agriculture and possible incentives for industrial farmers to modify their practices. Chapter One uses the EPA’s report on Greenhouse Gas Emissions to identify the role of agriculture in climate change. Chapter One examines the growing evidence that agriculture has a large role in climate change and environmental degradation. This chapter details the specific practices and subsets of this industry that are the most detrimental to the environment and focuses on the harms of animal agriculture. Chapter Two outlines the government policies and regulations, which are currently in place, that aim to mitigate the agriculture industries harmful effect on the environment. Chapter Two uses the USDA’s National Agriculture Library to identify the major environmental policies and laws that have aimed to regulate or modify current practices used by farmers. This chapter examines the effectiveness of these existing policies. Chapter Three uncovers the lobbying power of large agricultural firms in the United States and the ways that this power has delayed the transitions to more sustainable agricultural practices. Chapter Four showcases the sustainable agricultural practices that are taking place amongst smaller farmers and certain large firms. Chapter Five explores the ways government can shift its resources from subsidizing detrimental agriculture programs (i.e animal agriculture) and fund more sustainable alternatives.

Included in

Life Sciences Commons