Called one of the most polluting industries of our time, the Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that agriculture is responsible for 18% of our carbon footprint. Had the large portion of the fuel, fertilizers, and other agricultural inputs used in today’s industrial growing system been included in that calculation, that number would jump to 25-30% — quite impressive considering our nation is the number one contributor to pollution in the world.
Let’s take a little trip over to Industrial Agriculture’s house to see what else they are serving us for dinner:
-Polluted water, thanks to fertilizer and pesticide runoff. High levels of these chemicals were found in the drinking water provided to 2/3 of our nation’s population.
-Cancer. Farmers exposed to pesticides and herbicides develop lymphoma at much higher rates than other people, as do the children of parents who are exposed to chemicals.
-Parkinson’s Disease. Your risk for Parkinson’s doubles after 215 days of exposure to pesticides.
-Biopiracy. The agricultural giants are patenting genes in seeds, forcing farmers to pay royalties over seeds they’ve used for generations.
-Debt. Farmers are promised enormously higher yields if they buy expensive seeds from big agricorporations .
. . with, of course, the purchase of specific herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. Borrowing money to purchase the miracle seeds, when the promised outcome is unfulfilled small farmers are left with spiraling debt and no income. An estimated 125,000 farmers have taken their lives as a result, with 1,500 committing suicide in India this past April alone.
What, you’re not finding this appetizing? I can’t blame you. This
unfortunate reality just makes America’s Nutrition Expert sick! It’s obvious that we cannot continue to produce food in a way that is promoting pollution, disease, and the death of the very people we depend on to grow our food. It’s simply not a sustainable option.
Here’s what I want you to do:
1. Buy organic whenever possible and check out my previous post You avoid pesticides at the same time you are telling the agribusiness corporations you are not interested in what they’re selling. Money talks.
2. Buy local. Support your local farmers who are being run into the ground by industrial agriculture. Visit farmers’ markets and/or join a CSA which I blogged about last week.
3. Work to make your city a Transition Town.
4. Spread the word. Tell your family, friends, coworkers, and politicians. Raising awareness is key in creating change.
5. Watch the movie Food, Inc if it’s playing in a theater near you. If not, read the book.
Does any of this surprise you? Tell me what you are thinking. Thanks!