Rainforests, plains and prairies are being destroyed by industrial agriculture as man demands more meat.
“The livestock sector is by far the single largest anthropogenic user of land... the total area dedicated to feedcrop production amounts to 33 percent of total arable land. In all, livestock production accounts for 70 percent of all agricultural land and 30 percent of the land surface of the planet.”
As pollen disperses it leaves a permanent fossil record in the earth's layers. Future geologists will see pollen monocultures in the rock where previously there was enormous biodiversity - lasting evidence of man's impact on the world.
Industrial agriculture uses increased pesticides which kill pollinators. So the bees who collect pollen and fertilise thirty percent of the world’s food are disappearing.
An interest in industrial agriculture’s environmental impact led me to pollen. I started collecting different forms of pollen and discovered its delicate and unpredictable colours. I couldn’t help but use it as pigment.
“Probably the most obvious way humans are altering the planet is by building cities, which are essentially vast stretches of manmade materials—steel, glass, concrete, brick and cement. But it turns out most cities are not good candidates for long-term preservation, for the simple reason that they are built on land, and on land the forces of erosion tend to win out over those of sedimentation. From a geological perspective, the most plainly visible human effects on the landscape “may in some ways be the most transient,” Zalasiewicz has observed.
…Future geologists are more likely to grasp the scale of 21st-century industrial agriculture from the pollen record—from the monochrome patches of corn, wheat, and soy pollen that will have replaced the varied record left behind by rainforests or prairies.”
Elizabeth Kolbert, Making Geologic Now