6 Foods that you might want to rethink in your everyday life! Yes, there are more environmentally damaging foods in this world, but I chose foods that just about everyone of us eat! They were chosen for various reasons from waste, ethical issues to their usage of agrochemicals!
#1 n the series is BEEF!
This may not come as a huge surprise to some of us, but beef is ranked number one (close to lamb) as one of the most damaging foods to the environment. It requires vast amounts of land, food and water.
For every pound of beef produced, 16 pounds of feed had to be consumed.
(Globalcitizen.org) Cattle need 28 times the amount of land that pigs and chickens require to grow and thrive. In the US and UK, large amounts of land are being used to feed cows, so that just a few cows can feed people!
That “cheap beef” that you get from fast food chains (not all but some) contribute to the vast amounts of rainforests that are cut and burned just to produce meat for those fast food chains. It is then transported long distances just to feed us. So they have a HUGE carbon footprint when you consider the amount of land, feed, water and transporting it from South America.
So what can we do? Buy local beef, know what kind of environment they are raised in and just eating LESS of it! Plus if you’re buying local you’re supporting your local farmer and economy!
#2 in the series is COFFEE!! I know! We can all cry now 😭!
Coffee is a heavy hitter when it comes to environmental damage. From the 2.5 million acres cleared, to unfair wages and working conditions. It isn’t much of a surprise that coffee is second to the oil industry as one of the most traded commodities!
Where there’s money, there’s ethical questions as a consumer!
Americans consume 146 BILLION cups of coffee a year or 400 million cups a day! 😬 But what can we do as consumers?? The best options right now are Fairtrade Foundation and Rainforest Alliance certifications. Although they aren’t perfect, they are better choices than your regular coffees. Rainforest Alliance certification is where they use traditional yet sustainable methods of shade growing. It is much better for the environment, flora and fauna. Fairtrade Foundation certifications are where workers are paid fairly and are treated fairly!
So the moral of the story is to know where your coffee comes from! If you don’t know where your local coffee shop gets their coffee from, ask!! And if your local store or bulk shop doesn’t carry it, ask them to! They don’t know you’re looking for it if you don’t say something! And do we need another reason to make coffee at home?! 😉
#3 in the series is SUGAR! Not only is sugar bad for us but also for the environment!
Between sugar beets and sugar cane more than 145 million tons of sugar is produced per year in about 120 countries. The environmental issues are vast here that there’s to much too discuss! (So I’ll focus on one main issue). Besides the amount of land that is cleared yearly, one of the most posing problems is soil erosion and degradation. From the improper use/over irrigation to the runoff of agrochemicals! The effects of those generally show up downstream and sometimes not until later!
Sugar cane fields have been blamed for toxic algae blooms for many years where there’s mass die offs of fish and animal life.
We also lose TONS of soil every year just from the production of sugar. And that’s all before production!
So what can we do? Reduce the amount of sugar intake and added sugars-which is better for your health too! Look into replacements for granulated sugars such as honey, molasses, Stevia, coconut sugar, etc. If you’re lucky enough to have the option of sustainable sugar brands, they are out there!
#4 in the series is ALMONDS! We all love almonds but they are notoriously bad for environment!
There’s two reasons...pesticide use and water usage! California is a producer of 80% of almonds and has been in a severe drought for almost a decade.
A single almond takes about 1.1 gallons of water to produce.
Plus almond trees need water year-round, even when they’re not producing almonds!
Pesticides have been linked to mass die offs of native bees. Native bees can’t keep up with the amount of trees so almond farmers hire commercial beekeepers. The beekeepers know that their bees will not be coming back to the hive and if they do the whole hive eventually collapses. Without the bees, there would be no almonds, and because of almonds there are no bees.
So what can we do? Buy organic which helps the bees but not the water issue. There are so many other nut options out there -and even if you love almond milk give some of the other milks a try!
#5 in the series is our beloved 🥑AVOCADOS🥑 Just on Super Bowl Sunday Americans eat around 69 million pounds of avocados on this day alone!!
Our demand for avocados have increased exponentially over the past few years from guacamole to avocado toast! Although there are much worse things for the environment, the demand for avocados has grown so quick that it’s been hard for farmers to keep up with that demand. Which in turn leads into illegal farming of avocados. They illegally cut down the woodlands and hoard water to plant avocado trees.
Cartels have even been known to be involved in the avocado biz!
I know I don’t want any part of that! Besides being big money, the deforestation that increases every year in Michoacán, the state that produces most of the country’s avocados, are also the wintering grounds for the monarch butterfly. Environmentalists die every year protecting the monarch’s home from illegal activities!
So what can we do here? First, limit the amount of avocados you eat! And know where your avocados come from! Around here we don’t usually have a choice-either you can get organic or nonorganic 🤷🏻♀️ Consider yourself lucky if you are able to source ethical avocados! Like I’ve said before, where’s there’s money to be made, there’s ethical questions as a consumer.
#6 Last and final most environmentally damaging foods....BANANAS!
Anytime there is a monoculture or a single crop, it presents problems within itself. They generally require heavy pesticides and fungicides, soils become depleted, etc! Because of the bananas thick skin it requires more agrochemicals. The banana industry consumes more agrochemicals than any other in the world, except cotton!
Not only is there an issue of heavy agrochemicals, but also other issues as poor working conditions and wages , but also the distance they travel! Bananas travel thousands of miles to arrive at your supermarket chain. At the supermarket it is one the most landfilled foods!
In the UK alone 1.4 million bananas are thrown out daily!
Plus those single bananas you see over on the side are really the first to go! I personally always like to buy the singles because of this and I get to choose what ripeness I want! I try to only purchase what I need as well! If for some reason I don’t eat all the bananas I peel and freeze them for smoothies! 🍌
Good Luck out there consumers! Knowledge is power!