Healing the Planet through Food Choices
The world’s population is always increasing at a high rate. Researchers claim that by the year 2050, the population will rise to up to approximately nine billion. With this extraordinary rise, it means that there will be high demand for resources so that we can fully sustain ourselves. We will, therefore, need more food, land and water so that we can satisfy our basic needs. Sadly enough, with the current population so many people are starving and even unable to have access to their necessities, such as water. For example, those living in the desert and arid areas currently lack access to the basic needs because the climatic condition at their homes are not favorable enough to enable them to extract water from the ground or plant crops as they will all dry up. The result is that they get faced with nutritious health issues and most of them especially the infant children and the weak old-aged individuals are likely to starve and die.
Most of the issues around our current society evolve around diet. Such dietary problems are brought about by the lifestyle that people tend to adopt; most wealthy individuals eat sugary and over-exaggerated food such as the snacks and pizza while the poor and the low-life rely on unbalanced food (which actually may not contain one of the essential elements of protein, vitamin, and carbohydrate). Due to such cases, the wealthy develop heart problems and related issues while the poor develop the Kwashiorkor, obesity, and related problems. Some others heavily rely on meat especially in the western countries, diets which are likely to affect their life systems.
Our food choices greatly affect the surroundings in which we live: and diet can get regarded as both a personal and public concern. This paper discusses the ways that people can take part in ensuring that the planet is on the right track by making the right choices. The paper provides a guideline on the areas where people have polluted, which do not only get seen as a country’s concern but the whole world in general.
Healing the Planet through Food Choices
The healthy daily plan can greatly challenge the food problems and improve on the farming and food production. More people currently recognize the fact that our diet our farming practices and food preparation is sick, and there is need of changing the situation immediately. Those who feed the nation with their food are the few monopolistic individuals who only care about the profits they gain from food production and supply without caring about the consumers of the food. The consumption of such unhealthy food is a disaster to the nation and the world in general, and this crisis affects us personally and politically such as there is the need for change and intensive transformation (Virtue & Ross, 2009). The questions that arise are: how is healthy food system viewed? What does healthy diet mean to the universe and the people in it? And finally; what consequences does food system render to the global food system?
As it is known, some factors contribute to food situation and end-result, more importantly, its level of the food chain, the amount of energy consumed while producing the food (including if the food has been produced organically or chemically) and the transportation period and distance before the food gets eaten. In an attempt to save the earth some of the following issues have to be solved.
One of the issues under concern is the meat production and its effect on the climatic condition that we currently have. According to studies, researchers estimated the population of livestock produces as approximately seventy percent of the land utilization, a population that occupies about thirty percent of the land in the entire earth. Since livestock are known to contribute to the greenhouse gasses (for example methane gas), the high population of the animals that we have will tremendously impact to that. According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the estimated eighteen percent of greenhouse gasses are contributed by animals. In our main concern of healing the planet, it is important to discourage the production of animals (both wild and domestic) as a source of food. Animals consume so many grains and greens and therefore it automatically leads to massive loss of plants which are essential to human feeds. For example, to produce one kilogram of meat or pork, you will have to feed a cow or pig with approximately seven kilograms of the feeds (such as grain).
Additionally, most of the land will be dedicated to a single animal, which would be helpful in producing human food like potato or even be used to plant trees to minimize the global warming. An animal consumes almost twenty liters of water each day, but other people, especially in the arid areas, are facing difficulties in reaching the water sources (Riebel & Jacobsen, 2011). The government would be able to develop a budget that supports pumping water from the water sources, so as to feed the thirsty in those areas. On the other hand, it would be profitable to utilize the feeds in other purposes such as the production of energy and water. The plant resources get destroyed when we direct them to animals. Huge animals like elephants and hippopotamus can destroy a single acre of land filled with bananas within hours and rather not days. Instead of spending most of our resources in feeding animals, we would rather set strategies to fill the earth with plants and feed directly on them. In this strategy, we will be able to feed hundreds of people who have no access to food. Based on the discussions above it gets noted that the planet earth cannot manage to sustain the total world’s population using the western meat diet. The reason is that the food composed of meat requires more resources and time before we get the end product as compared to plants. An animal like a cow takes almost five years to fully mature, while in those years, they have consumed so much of the resources than we can imagine. On the other hand, plant feeds take almost three years especially the greenhouse products, but not more than a year before we begin celebrating the success of our efforts. As you can see, by relying too much on the animal product, we will have to over-tax our limited resources to satisfy the huge world’s population.
Looking at our personal perspective, we cannot manage to alter government policies, business practices, and regulations in an attempt to maintain food security, but we have full capability of controlling the lifestyle choices we possess. People should get advised on minimizing the number of animals that they keep. In an attempt to control livestock production, the government should set up a policy that states the maximum number of domestic livestock in a single homestead as well as ensuring that the parks and national reserves do not get overpopulated with animals. Instead, people should be encouraged to grow plants, which will automatically be helpful in maintaining the level of greenhouse gasses and in turn improve the climate on the earth. With a good climatic condition, we will not be experiencing the global warming that we have currently. By deciding on eating plant-based dietary food, you will greatly reduce the carbon emission level, reduce water usage and assist in ensuring that the important crop outputs are fed to the people and not the animals. The planet has immense plant wealth that needs to get maintained as much as possible. By adopting the vegetarian diet, we will reduce the supply of the meat, eggs, and dairy products, thereby minimizing suffering and misuse of resources.
Another major concern is the use of organic food. The world is full of scientific knowledge regarding farming practices such that most farmers think that the only solution to successful farming is the use of pesticides in protecting their crops from harmful pests and insects. However, they do not know that the pesticides affect both the plants, essential soil microorganisms, and pests altogether. When the microorganisms are dead, it results in an emission of carbon into the air as carbon dioxide. The result is that the soil will no longer become fertile, and the farmers will have to adopt the use of chemical fertilizer as a basic necessity and rather not a luxury thing. Most organic food farmers claim that the organic food is far much superior as compared to the other food types. There are some scientific research facts that clearly prove the fact that people should opt to go for organic food rather than other conventional types of food.
Even though some scientists have produced inorganic products which have similar behavior as the organic food, they are very few. For example, the organic milk has shown to contain a high percentage of vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants as compared to the non-organic milk. Scientists at Danish Institute of Agricultural Research support the idea that organic milk is far better and healthier diet than non-organic milk because organic cows rely on pasture, and therefore the quality of milk they produce if of high quality. Additionally, the organic tomatoes have been found to be much more nutritious as compared to the inorganic tomatoes. The University of California conducted a ten-year study to research on the nutrient supply of the organic tomatoes and found out that since they get grown in soil with low nutrients, where no chemical fertilizers containing the high amount of nitrogen, it results to the high development of antioxidants (for example quercetin 79%). These antioxidants, as we are aware of, are essential in that they minimize the chances of developing heart infections and cancer. Studies carried out regarding the health associated with organic diet prove worth investing. Also, organic food has been seen to require fewer resources to get sustained and to grow (Robbins & Robbins, 2013). A farmer who specializes in growing organic products is far much better because he will not incur the additional cost of applying the chemical fertilizer on his soil or plants. Also, the farmer can maintain the soil PH as well as the fertility.
A farmer who chooses to go organic will not spend money going to the shop to buy the essential pesticides or fertilizers to control the pests and to improve soil fertility. People should get advised of the need to use organic food diet so that they and their children can grow healthy. The organic food has many advantages some of which include; they are tastier and healthier, they are environmentally appealing, they assist in providing the strong immune system and also the organic food types greatly improve the overall health of the humans. With good health, the nation can progress positively.
Besides, people should support local food. Support for local food in some way ties with the use of organic food, and it is advantageous in minimizing the cost associated with the external food. As we all know, buying imported or food is grown at other far areas usually gets associated with issues. First and foremost, the transportation is an issue. A farmer who transports food products to a far-away market will automatically face troubles reaching the market. If the food product is highly perishable, as the tomatoes and vegetables, by the time they reach the market they will get destroyed, broken and smelly. The result is that the customers will not buy the product. Transportation of food products which end up getting rejected by the market becomes a huge blow to the farmers who have worked for sleepless nights in ensuring that their crops flourish. For this reason, the farmers gain losses when selling the products. Indeed, the products will go to waste. Due to the losses that the farmers experience, they lose hope in growing the crops while others get into growing inorganic crops or even using chemicals to keep their products appealing to the customers.
The use of the chemicals will highly affect the consumers’ health, and in the result, the consumers will eventually shift their budgets of the medical services which are highly costly. Also, relying on food products which have been transported for long distances lose nutritious value to the customers. A good example is the transportation of kales, which are highly perishable. Kales which have not been well-stored have no good taste, and they also lack value. In an attempt to support locally grown food, there are several techniques that a consumer should adopt. Firstly, identify a local farmer in your area and visit him/her, maybe every week or once in a while. Also, you can use the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), whereby you make the deposit, and from then you will be able to get deliveries of fresh vegetable products throughout the production period. Most likely, by using that strategy, you can minimize costs while eating healthy. If you are unable to use that strategy, you can rely on the local grocery store or supermarket before you are stable. The idea is that you should not depend on food products from other towns, cities or countries, that is, do not dare buy your vegetables from South Africa while you are in London. By supporting the local food diet, you contribute to supporting the efforts of the local farmers and in return, you contribute to an economy building, a process of healing the nation.
The fourth important strategy is packaging food on your own. The world is full of recycling centers which aim at making profits from the service of recycling products. Most recycling companies use machines to clean items that need to get recycled. The common issue in recycling process is that the end products are not usually clean and healthy as they may appear. They just quickly recycle the products and sell them to food processing companies without thinking of how clean they are. As for the companies, they may sterilize the packages, but it does not mean that they are very safe. Consider a package that got obtained from garbage and then used in packing food which you have to eat before thoroughly being cleaned. Likely enough, you will get infected with diseases that arise from dirt. The best thing is that you should not rely on already packaged food but do it yourself. Also, these recycling centers are highly overburdened and produce throwable containers and packages so that they can find their next products to recycle and therefore, we will be adding more damages and even cost on our self and community. If you intend to go for an adventurous event, don’t think of spending more just because you want to be happy at the event but rather think of the advantages of packing your food. If there is no time or resources to pack, then consider buying packed food products from eco-conscious companies, who use reusable and environmental-friendly packages with lids, which need not get thrown away. By reusing the products and using healthy packaging products, we will have less trash and minimum health complications respectively, therefore having a better planet.
More importantly, we should eat seasonally. Sometimes we find ourselves going for similar food throughout the entire year, forgetting that some other types of food exist. Depending on the fact that our supermarkets and grocery sell the tropically sourced food produce all year round; people can easily forget that various food productions are seasonal (Lappé, 2010). We are likely to find ourselves spending more to have such exotic products despite the high price and transport cost incurred, forgetting that there are other similar products which are still useful and healthier. People should understand that food products have different seasons, and a healthy nation gets developed by minimizing the expenditures on buying unhealthy food.
Other than the above discussion, in an attempt to heal the nation, there are other things that may be important as far as food diet is concerned. Firstly, you should avoid wasting food. Research findings claim that huge amount of food goes to waste, in supermarkets, during transport, in kitchens at the farms and at the processing plants. People throw food away without thinking of the future or others who do not have. Also, you should try to grow your food so as to sustain your needs. If you do not have a large garden, create a small compound garden and plant some few crops such as kales and beans and manage it. Such small tasks will aid in alleviating costs and healing the planet.
As from discussions made, it is easy to understand that healing the nation is a matter that can get handled at the personal level before taking it as a world’s issue. If everyone takes part in ensuring that he/she adheres to the discussions, then he/she will have made a very great contribution in the planet earth. People should keep in mind that the planet gets healed from the personal level before proceeding to the people as a whole.
Lappé, A. (2010). Diet for a hot planet: The climate crisis at the end of your fork and what you can do about it. New York: Bloomsbury USA. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1608191303
Riebel, L., & Jacobsen, K. (2011). The green footprint: Food choices for healthy people and a healthy planet. Lafayette, Calif: Print and Pixel. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1463767099
Robbins, J., & Robbins, O. (2013). Voices of the food revolution: You can heal your body and your world–with food!. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1573246247
Virtue, D., & Ross, J. (2009). The art of raw living food: Heal yourself and the planet with eco-delicious cuisine. Carlsbad, Calif: Hay House Inc. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1401926258