Damaging the Environment Through Our Diet
It is obvious that synthetic fertilizers and pesticides have a toxic result to our environment. The evidence all point from the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico to the chemicals traveling down the Mississippi River that flows into the Gulf. The “dead zone” is the size of New Jersey and get’s its nickname since no fish or animals can live in that part of the Gulf. Yet, what the majority of Americans desire for nutrients has also damaging effect on the environment.
The large apart of our farmlands are made up of mostly corn and soy. Not only does the federal government subsidizes these crops, but the demand for cheap calories in large amounts. The corn and soy become high fructose corn syrup and soybean oil, which is what is found in all processed foods. So what does this have as far as impact on the environment?
It is widely known that crop rotation is important for the soil. Crop rotation is varying the types of crops you plant in the same plot. You cannot just trade out any types of crops, it needs to be alternating the deep-rooted to the shallow-rooted plants. Trading out the type of plants grown changes the soil structure by making it much more fertile. When the same plant is used in the ground over and over again, it builds up pests and pathogens.
When the demand for soy and corn is large, crop rotation is overlooked resulting in the need for farmers to use more synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. In turn that adds more toxins to the soil, water table and destroys the environment further. Not only does the lack of crop rotation cause the soil to change, but it also inhibits the nutrition for the food that is grown.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has carefully recorded the nutritional quality of produce since the 1950’s. The results have been astonishing. There is a steady decline in the amount of nutrition found in regular produce. To receive the same amount of nutrition that was once available back in the 1950’s, it requires to eat double or triple the amount of food.
The culprit of this problem can be traced back to not only pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, but to the lack of crop rotation. Produce will continue to decline in nutrition and soil will slowly become completely infertile or incapable of growing plants. This pattern can be changed, but you must change first.
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