How what we choose to eat affects our planet

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  1. Glenis Rix profile image96
    Glenis Rixposted 2 years ago

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  2. MizBejabbers profile image89
    MizBejabbersposted 2 years ago

    I've seen this report before and it is alarming. I think that science needs to find new ways to feed our population. I'm not sure the world was ever meant to contain as many people as it does. I think the reason for our natural catastrophes may be Mother Nature's way of limiting her pain from the damage we humans are doing. When earth's population was made up of nomadic tribal societies without technology, the earth wasn't in so much danger.
    But in the meantime, what are we going to do? I'm sure that many people would tell us to cut down on meat in our diets or eliminate it entirely because of the carbon footprint, but many people, like me, have medical problems that prevent a vegetarian diet. How could that possibly be, you say. Well, allergies to chlorophyl (found in most green plants) and celiac, to name a couple of factors. I also have an allergy to dairy products (not lactose intolerance) that does prevent me from claiming my share from the dairy cattle, but then that increases the need for more nuts, nut "milk" that I and others like me use for substitutes.
    One of the fattest ladies I've known was a vegetarian, but many vegetarians are thin, even "skinny".  And medical science has found that a strict vegan diet is not entirely healthy either. So what is a body to do? Humans are programmed, either mentally or genetically, to enjoy good tasting food. If science were to develop a food (like the biblical manna) or a pill that would supply all our nutritional needs without leaving a large carbon footprint, it is doubtful that people would go for it. (And think of all the jobs that would be eliminated like restaurants and the food industry in general.) Also without food to travel through the body, what would happen to our developed digestive systems? How many generations would it take for our systems to mutate into not needing the bulky food that we now require?
    Feeding humans on the planet without further harm to the planet or the humans themselves does present a real dilemma. It may take generations to solve the problem...that is, if we have that much time left.

    1. lobobrandon profile image91
      lobobrandonposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      Considering near 50% of the food produced is wasted, there's a lot that can be done in educating people and making supermarkets sell fruit that is not shaped "perfectly".

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with cattle and the carbon footprint they leave because that is all within the carbon cycle. The problem is due to fossil fuels and because of the sheer amount that's already spewed up in the air, any excess that we put in, even though meat consumption is causing damage.

      But the problem with the agriculture of today is not the carbon footprint due to agriculture itself, it's due to the reduction of natural habitats. Single crop agriculture and fertilizers are the worst things to have happened for civilization. The Earth can easily feed the population we have today, there's no issue there.

      The thing with mixed agriculture is that fertilizer companies do not get sales and harvesting is not as easy as it is today. You can't just drive through with a machine as it's a mix of crops. Robots designed to harvest or men harvesting like in the past would be required.

      Reducing your meat consumption does help. If you cannot, don't. Those who can, should. There have been many societies that have thrived on vegetarian diets in central India and they have not had issues. They weren't skinny or delicate. Don't look at the country today, look into history books.

      It's not just meat. Meat is fine depending on where it comes from. Look at the Avocados coming from SA. Those are literally destroying the countries they come from, taking away all the water from the land, drying up rivers and more. Eat your meat, but don't buy SA avocados, you are doing a better job at protecting the environment. Going vegan is not the solution, knowing where your food comes from is.

      1. Nathanville profile image93
        Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

        ‘Lobobrandon’ makes a lot of valid points; I concur with what he says.

        Climate Change, Renewable Energies, Food Production etc. are all related topics that I’ve taken a keen interest in for a good many years now e.g. keeping a keen eye on such developments to help the environment.  I am a vegetarian, but that’s nothing to do with climate change.  I’ve always been a vegetarian since childhood (a personal choice for other reasons); but I would never be a vegan, because as you say, a vegan diet is an unhealthy diet.

        The reports I’ve seen aren’t suggesting everyone becomes vegetarian, their aim has been more of ‘raising awareness’ to the problem of climate change and the positive impact it would have for the planet if people (on average) reduced their meat consumption to a third (on a best endeavour) e.g. it has to be a personal choice (for whatever reason), but every effort makes a difference.

        The main problem with climate change is the burning of ‘fossil fuels’, but as we haven’t done enough, quickly enough, to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels then other means of reducing carbon emission (and other greenhouse gasses), and carbon capture, have to be included in the fight to save our planet for human habitation.  And reducing meat consumption is just one of many alternatives available to us to help save the planet; all of which does their bit to help.

        In his opening paragraph, Lobobrandon is perfectly correct about the amount of food waste caused by supermarkets and people at home.  Back in 2015 the BBC ran a documentary series on this issue, “Hugh's War on Waste”; and in 2017 Australia (inspired by the BBC documentary) did a similar documentary series.

        The BBC documentary featured the ‘Stop the Rot’ campaign group, supported by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and environmentalist George Monbiot.  At that time 40% of farmers’ crops were being rejected by supermarkets because they were not the right shape or colour; the supermarkets themselves regularly threw away 30% of their food stock because it was passed its ‘sell by date’, and householders in the UK were throwing away (and probably still do) on average 6kg of food waste per week (30% of their food shopping).

        I don’t know if you saw the BBC documentary, but it did have a positive impact.  Following the documentary the UK’s leading supermarkets banded together to reduce food waste by 20,000 tonnes per year; Tesco is now donating 700,000 meals to charities per year, Sainsburys is now running one of its supermarkets on electricity generated solely from food waste, and a lot of supermarkets are now selling ‘wonky vegetables’ as an alternate range. 

        Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on why we should embrace wonky food:  https://youtu.be/umXGdmOvEW0

        For our part, apart from potatoes, we grow all our own vegetables ‘organic’ in our back garden; and we have very little food waste because we use most of it to make a scrap potato pie once a week.

        As regards modern ‘environmentally friendly’ farming techniques, there is a lot of research and development world-wide; Israel is one country leading the way in research, and there are numerous large-scale projects in Africa.  There’s even a wide range of R&D (Research and Development) across Europe, including Britain.  For example, the video below shows one such project in England which has been successfully running for over 15 years:-

        Organic EcoFarm in England:  https://youtu.be/o6sSN62mGe8

        1. Glenis Rix profile image96
          Glenis Rixposted 2 years agoin reply to this

          What we have done, and continue to do, to our beautiful planet may not affect me too much, as I have to, reluctantly, admit that I am, suddenly and surprisingly, elderly. But I worry about the legacy that my young grandchildren, and all children, will inherit as a consequence of our folly.

          It’s  good to see that awareness is being raised of how each of us can make a difference, however small that difference might be. ‘The longest journey starts with the first small step’. Changing the habits of a lifetime is difficult but it is possible to make small adjustments. I now rarely eat red meat, but more beans and pulses and I try to avoid buying fruit that has had a long journey to get to the supermarket shelves.

          It amazes me that people waste food, given the cost of it here in the U.K.  I can say, hand on heart, that in my house virtually nothing is wasted. Perhaps that’s due to growing up in the years of post-war austerity.

          I am also more conscious of the amount of packaging that is non bio-degradable. I recently realised that teabags can’t be degraded and now buy loose leaf tea.

          I’m far more conscious of the environmental impact of my petrol driven car and gas central heating and try to reduce usage.

          Some people scoff at those of us who are trying to lead more environmentally aware lives but I believe that the environment is the biggest issue that we are faced with (bigger even than Brexit

          1. Nathanville profile image93
            Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

            Although I am from the ‘baby boomer’ generation (post-war to the 1960s), I am a little too young to have experienced the post-war austerity first-hand.  Although, from the age of 5 to the age of 10 my family did live in poverty, in a slum (condemned by the Local Council); and for two-weeks we survived on nothing other than nettle soup.  As an experiment I did try the nettle soup recipe a few years ago, and although I quite enjoyed it, my wife wasn’t so keen on it:-

            Stinging Nettle Soup - 18th Century Cooking:  https://youtu.be/KbTn_IjmUFc

            Also, during that time my brother and I used to go blackberry picking (wild blackberries) every August; and to this day I still forage for blackberries from the wild each August; which we then use to make blackberry pies:-

            Wild Blackberry Pie: https://youtu.be/PF3rWfepzQA

            So I do know real austerity first-hand, which has had a profound effect on my attitudes, including being very frugal in many ways e.g. I don’t like wasting food, and very keen on recycling and upcycling wood and other materials at home (rather than buying new) when doing DIY projects.   

            Yes I did see the research being done by Cambridge University; very impressive.

            As regards China, yes they do contribute far more harmful gas emissions into the atmosphere than any other country in the world; but that is due to the fact that they have such a large population (almost 1.4 billion people), and due to the fact that they are still a developing country e.g. moving from an agricultural based economy to an industrial based economy; and burning coal just like Britain and the rest of the develop world did in the 19th century to make the transformation.

            However, China is very much aware of the problem, especially considering the pollution it causes (smog); and as such China is actually doing more to switch from fossil fuels to Renewable Energy than anywhere else in the world; producing more Renewable Energy than the rest of the world put together e.g. over the past decade wind turbine installations has increased by more than 25% per year.  Consequently, China now produces less carbon emissions per head of population than the USA; the average carbon emissions per person per year being:-

            •    Worldwide average = 5 tonnes
            •    EU = 6.8 tonnes
            •    China = 7.2 tonnes
            •    USA = 16.5 tonnes

            Also, China is one of the 10 countries who are aiming to ban fossil-fuel vehicles in the near future e.g. moving towards electric vehicles only.  China plans to ban fossil-fuel cars by 2040 (the same as the UK and France); Scotland’s target is 2032, and most of the other countries are aiming for 2030, except Norway who’s target is 2025.

            The UK is installing on average one new wind turbine per day, but that’s dwarfed by the progress China is making:-

            •    Why China has become the world leader in renewable energy:  https://youtu.be/ZSRg-hMYi9Q

            •    GREEN ENERGY IN CHINA:  https://youtu.be/uVNc7Uns6Nc


            I don’t know whether all our combined efforts to curb carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) will be enough to avert a major environmental disaster; but it would be irresponsible not to try.

            Arthur (aka Nathanville)

            1. lobobrandon profile image91
              lobobrandonposted 2 years agoin reply to this

              Just want to point out that the Earth does not care about per capita emissions. The USA is the biggest contributor to lifetime emissions from deep within the earth at 27% followed by China at 11% of global emissions. Today, China does produce more, yes. So when I see people from the US say that China is the problem I do get mad at them because they can't seem to comprehend a span of 5 years, let alone their lifetime or 200 years (industrial revolution) or more (carbon cycle); yet they think their voice and opinion matters.

          2. Nathanville profile image93
            Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

            This News Item just released today:-

            Climate change 'may curb growth in UK flying':  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-48233548

            1. Castlepaloma profile image76
              Castlepalomaposted 2 years agoin reply to this

              Do pilots need to see for take off and landings.

              In China I asked a man, when will the sun come out?. He said, right now,  the Sun is out.

              1. Glenis Rix profile image96
                Glenis Rixposted 2 years agoin reply to this

                And it rains every day - somewhere. Usually, I am starting to feel, in England

                1. Castlepaloma profile image76
                  Castlepalomaposted 2 years agoin reply to this

                  I live in Vancouver for many years. You don't tan, you rust.

  3. Castlepaloma profile image76
    Castlepalomaposted 2 years ago

    Great to see some people being aware of the most basic ABCs of life, our food and water.

    Humans and Big Ag Livestock Now Account for 96 Percent of Mammal Biomass on Earth. It is simply to see most of our disease come from meat. It is the vitamin D in meat we need vitally for our balance diets. The are many alternatives ways to produce vitamin D. One way I get my Ds,  is growing mushrooms than sunny them.

    Other way is you can make your own supply of vitamin D-enriched mushrooms. You can sun dry or UV-zap store-bought or homegrown shiitake, maitake, button, and many other mushroom species. ... Without adequate vitamin D levels, your immune system is impaired.

    1. lobobrandon profile image91
      lobobrandonposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      I thought Vitamin B12 is what you need from meats, especially red meat. An essential component for the building of RBCs? Not an expert only had a major in Biology in my 11th and 12th. Never really looked into vitamins in detail.

      1. Nathanville profile image93
        Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

        Yes you are right lobobrandon, meat is a rich source of B12; although being a vegetarian I get my source of vitamin B12 from milk, cheese and eggs.

        I too did biology (human biology) at college; as one of my qualifications.

        This link gives the full details on B12; although you have to scroll down to the bottom of the page for the information:-  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins- … vitamin-b/

        1. Castlepaloma profile image76
          Castlepalomaposted 2 years agoin reply to this

          I would be careful of milk, cheese and eggs. Many nutritious homophobic doctor labels as bad foods.  Eggs are questionable, yet process milk and cheese for sure. We had this milk discusion before..

          1. Glenis Rix profile image96
            Glenis Rixposted 2 years agoin reply to this

            And milk and some cheeses are the product of cows, so also have an environmental impact. But there are limits to what we will forego. I have not yet found a palatable substitute for cows milk.

            1. Castlepaloma profile image76
              Castlepalomaposted 2 years agoin reply to this

              I love these milk alternatives so much, I forget about cow's milk altogether!

              Also Mix vegetables up in a blender because I can't chew a carrot hundred times over and hardly finish my salad plate.

              Milk alternatives, it seems there are more options than ever. From soy to rice to nut milks almond milk, coconut milk , soya, and rice milk. Many folks are choosing nondairy milks to accommodate allergies or vegan lifestyles, or to aid with specific health problems

              1. Nathanville profile image93
                Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

                Yep:  If for health reasons e.g. lactose intolerant, or if you’re a vegan, then milk alternatives are fine.  Our next-door neighbours are vegan, so when I’m nipping next door to see them their milk alternatives are the only choice I get in my coffee; which is ok, but not quite to my taste.

            2. Nathanville profile image93
              Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

              Yep, I agree. 

              I’m not aware of any sensible substitute to dairy products for vegetarians; but on the plus side the ‘advice’ from the experts isn’t that we cut everything out that contributes to the greenhouse gases, but just to strive to moderate our life style as far as is sensible, as part of a process of balancing carbon emissions e.g. trying to become as ‘carbon neutral’ as realistically possible; a term frequently banded around these days.

              A crude (and therefore not very accurate) example of carbon neutral (off setting greenhouse gases you release into the atmosphere with mechanisms to ‘carbon capture’) would be if you rear dairy cattle in one field then plant trees in the next field (to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere) to compensate for the methane released by the cows digestive system.

              In reality, good Governments, and Industry, using expert advice, based on complex mathematical matrixes have a complex set of mechanisms to calculate how ‘carbon neutral’ can be achieved for any given Government Policy or Industrial Project etc.

          2. Nathanville profile image93
            Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

            There is nothing wrong with milk, cheese and eggs, as long as it’s eaten in moderation as part of a good healthy well balanced diet; they are a very nutritious food source.  No food is healthy if you over indulge in it e.g. too much red meat in your diet is bad for you, but in moderation is quite healthy. 

            Every food contains natural toxins, even carrots which contains Falcarinol (aka carotatoxin or panaxynol), which at low levels is quite harmless to humans, but if consumed in very large quantities can build up in the body to cause harm.

            Beside, milk in the UK is not processed in the same way as it is in other countries; although UK milk is pasteurised, it is more natural than milk sold in other countries, and in my opinion a lot healthier; and it certainly tastes a lot better than French milk.

            A key to a good healthy diet is All Things in Moderation.

            1. Castlepaloma profile image76
              Castlepalomaposted 2 years agoin reply to this

              When livestock takes up 60% mammal biomass weight on the earth. The worst dangerous part is rarely talked about. It is manure waste that destories the ground and river systems. Also cheese kills more people than tobacco.

              The worst plant is suger. The people who havest the suger cane eat the cane and fibers. Allowing them live alot longer than their bosses who take it refined. Much of all food destoyers is in the food process. That is why I am a diehard urban farmer who knows from seed to havest,  it is all 100% organic.

              1. Nathanville profile image93
                Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

                As I said previously Castlepaloma, All Things in Moderation is essential for a good healthy balanced diet; and that includes cheese.  Cheese, like butter, is high in fat; but you do need some fat in your diet, and cheese is also high in other nutrients essential to a healthy diet e.g. protein.

                Yes there is too much refined sugar in processed foods, along with too much fats and salt; that’s why ‘Pressure Groups’ (The Public) for many years in the UK have been campaigning to get food producers to make packaged food healthier, and lobbying the British Government for more informative labelling, and for a sugar tax on soft drinks.

                Pressure Groups (the Public) have had many successes over the years, such as:-

                •    Unlike the USA, all Ingredients have to be listed on the label in descending order of percentages (with percentages and quantiles being quoted).  Unlike the USA, this has led to food manufactures in the UK to move away from using artificial colouring, artificial flavourings, and artificial preservatives; through public demand.

                •    More recently, the introduction of the Traffic Lights system on food labelling, to help shoppers easily identify at a glance which foods are high in fats, sugar and salt:-


                Hybrid Food labelling traffic light system (Introduced in 2013): https://youtu.be/6_keqH3ZByY


                •    Last April, after resisting pubic demand for over 5 years, the Conservative Government finally introduced the Sugar Tax on soft drinks; with the result that most food producers have since reduced the amount of sugar in soft drinks to avoid paying the tax.

                I, for my part, grow all my own vegetables (except potatoes) organically in my back garden, sufficient to feed the whole family 12 months of the year; and I also grow a range of soft fruits (which gives us a glut of fruits through the summer an into the autumn.  The soft fruits I grow (organically) include blackcurrants, raspberries, strawberries, wineberries, blueberries, pears, apples, cherries, plums and peaches; and then in August I also pick blackberries from the wild.

                Unlike the USA who are too reliant on large scale agriculture dependent on chemical fertilisers and pesticides; an ever increasing number of British and European farmers are converting to biodiversity, sustainable, organic farming; and such farms, including dairy farms don’t pollute the ground water and river systems with manure waste; at least in Europe e.g. due to the stiff Regulations across Europe and in Britain that has to be met in order to be certified organic.

                In quickly ‘fact checking’ on the web, I was horrified to see that a farm in the USA can be certified ‘Organic’ within less than three months; and that the certification can be done by a private none profit organisation.

                In Europe, any farmer wishing to go Organic faces at least three years of running at a loss because his land will not be certified ‘Organic’ until the soil tests (done by Government Officials) show that the land is clean from all chemicals e.g. it takes about three years for the pesticides and fertilisers to leach from the land.

                Here’s one Dairy Farm in England who has taken the big step to go organic: https://youtu.be/GRdHCWTEG70

                1. Castlepaloma profile image76
                  Castlepalomaposted 2 years agoin reply to this

                  I say too,  everything in moderation even in my whole life.

                  Sounds great, I know European do it much better than we do. They look healthier as the result and only have little amounts of obesity.

                  When your a grower it is an honourable deed or profession. It makes me feel God like over these plants, or closest to, if love is my God.

                  My rule of thumb. When shopping, have no more than 3 ingredients in the food.

                  1. Nathanville profile image93
                    Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

                    I’m sure there are some American farmers trying to butt-the-trend, and I wish them luck; but they are few and far between, and it does seem an uphill struggle!

                    Hedgerows (The English Countryside)
                    One defining feature of the English (and European) countryside is the Hedgerow. 

                    Unlike American farming, with wide open fields, which are prone to soil erosion, and lack biodiversity; the iconic part of British (and European) farming dating back over a 1,000 years (although becoming more prominent in the 17th century due to the ‘Enclosure Acts’) is the hedgerow.

                    The hedgerows are the hedges dividing fields into small areas, and separating each field; and their importance to biodiversity, wildlife preservation, and the environment is immeasurable.  Not only do hedgerows provide habitat for wildlife including bees and birds, but they also prevent soil erosion and act a natural carbon capture sink.

                    The scale of the hedgerows across the English countryside is impressive, a total of 500,000 miles of hedgerows in Britain; enough to stretch around the world 20 times over.

                    Even where British farms themselves are not organic, because of the hedgerows, they can and do still work with nature; as shown in this short video below:-

                    Biodiversity - Making It Work on a Modern English Farm https://youtu.be/DsVdPpgBcJs

                    The Role of the British Hedgerow:-

                    •    https://www.countryfile.com/countryfile … -hedgerow/

                    •    The British Hedgerow in spring: https://youtu.be/EIsmaKbAFvA

    2. Nathanville profile image93
      Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      During the summer I get all the vitamin D I need from sunlight; and then during the winter months, being a vegetarian, I rely mainly on eggs and fortified foods for Vitamin D.

      These links may be of interest:-

      •    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins- … vitamin-d/
      •    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mushroom#Vitamin_D

      1. Castlepaloma profile image76
        Castlepalomaposted 2 years agoin reply to this

        Also Mushrooms contain many important B group vitamins: riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin and folate. ... Generate healthy blood (folate, riboflavin)

        1. Nathanville profile image93
          Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

          Mushrooms may only contain 1% of your ‘Recommended’ Daily Requirement of Vitamin D (unless if treated with UV light, as you suggested, which does then increases the vitamin D levels). 

          But, although there are better sources of vitamin D than mushrooms, as you quite rightly point out mushrooms are rich in a number of B vitamins.  In fact the percentage of the ‘Recommended’ percentage of Daily Requirements of vitamin B in mushrooms is as follows (per 100g portion):-

          •    B2 = 42%
          •    B5 = 30%
          •    B3 = 25%
          •    B1 = 9%
          •    B6 = 8%
          •    B9 = 6%

      2. Glenis Rix profile image96
        Glenis Rixposted 2 years agoin reply to this

        The Department of Health advises that all young children and senior citizens take a Vitamin D supplement. It’s particularly important in the winter months. The skin synthesises sunlight and converts it to Vitamin D. Unfortunately many of us do not get the necessary twenty minutes exposure each day and the problem is compounded by the fact that sensible people now apply a high SPF cream to protect against skin damage.

        1. Nathanville profile image93
          Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

          Yep, sensible advice.

          As a keen gardener (I grow all our own veg) I get plenty of sunshine during the summer months; and although I am white skinned I am one of those people who don’t burn in the sun, so I am rather guilty of skipping on the sun cream.

          1. Castlepaloma profile image76
            Castlepalomaposted 2 years agoin reply to this

            You can imagine how much sunlight I get building sandcastle and snow playgrounds for a living for over four decades. The way the sun is today, I make sure of sunscreen after 2 hours.

 
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