In addition, other elements conspire to take away from the harvest for which we worked so hard to produce. Despite the best application of modern agricultural practices, an unavoidable portion of what is grown rots in the fields prior to harvest time, or in the world’s storage bins afterwards. Every year, depending upon geographic location and intensity of El Niño events, crops suffer from too little water and wither on the spot, or are lost to severe flooding, hailstorms, tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes, cyclones, fires, and other destructive events of nature. Many of these phenomena are at best difficult to predict, and at worst are impossible to react to in time to prevent the losses associated with them. In sub-Saharan Africa, locusts remain an ever-present threat (42), and can devastate vast areas of farmland in a matter of days. Even after a bumper crop is realized, problems associated with processing and storage lessen the actual tonnage that is available to the consumer. A large portion of the harvest, regardless of the kind of plant or grain, is despoiled or a portion consumed by a variety of opportunistic life forms (., fungi, bacteria, insects, rodents) after being stored. While it is conceded that at present the abundance of cash crops is more than sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of the world’s human population, delivering them to world markets is driven largely by economics, not biological need. Thus, the poorest people – some billion – are forced to live in a constant state of starvation (43), with many thousands of deaths per year attributable to this wholly preventable predicament (44). Locating vertical farms near these human “hot spots” would greatly alleviate this problem.
The idea of incentive conservation is a modern one but its practice has clearly defended some of the sub Arctic wildernesses and the wildlife in those regions for thousands of years, especially by indigenous peoples such as the Evenk, Yakut, Sami, Inuit and Cree. The fur trade and hunting by these peoples have preserved these regions for thousands of years. Ironically, the pressure now upon them comes from non-renewable resources such as oil, sometimes to make synthetic clothing which is advocated as a humane substitute for fur. (See Raccoon dog for case study of the conservation of an animal through fur trade.) Similarly, in the case of the beaver, hunting and fur trade were thought to bring about the animal's demise, when in fact they were an integral part of its conservation. For many years children's books stated and still do, that the decline in the beaver population was due to the fur trade. In reality however, the decline in beaver numbers was because of habitat destruction and deforestation, as well as its continued persecution as a pest (it causes flooding). In Cree lands however, where the population valued the animal for meat and fur, it continued to thrive. The Inuit defend their relationship with the seal in response to outside critics.