Sierra Club, the main and oldest enviromental organization of United States, published a list, taken from TreeHugger, which describes the 5 worst foods that ecologists should not consume.
Even if lots of people may think that this are well-known things, it is always useful not taking anything for granted and do a bit of recap, to increase the awareness in the consumers. Let’s see which are the foods shown in this list.
From an environmental point of view, it’s very important to buy and consume organic coffee and, possibly, produced by the Fair Trade. But why are we talking about organic coffee? Because coffee, in nature, grows in the shade. However, many farmers cultivate it in the sun, using a big amount of pesticides, weed killers, fungicides and fertilizers. Also, this kind of intensive cultivations steal ground to the rainforests, destroying the habitat of birds. There are several brands, with bio certificate, which produce coffee without using any chemical, fully respecting the environment. The fight against the pests is made through the use of other insects; the fertility of the ground is mantained and enhanced by organic fertilizers and proper agronomic practices.
Meat from factory farming
Forests are cleared to make room for the cultivation of GMO corn and soy, used to feed cows. We saw this when we talked about the dossier published by WWF, which describes how the immense increase of soy production in the last 50 years (GMO soy, used especially as animal feed) is destroying the preservation of forests. This sort of crops not only causes deforestation, but also the contamination of water courses, due to the massive use of pesticides. Not to mention, the waste generated in cow farms. According to Mary O’Brien, Utah Forests Program director, even if the animals are feed with vegetables, the farms “deplete the native biodiversity, deviate the water courses and strip off the ground”. Plus, the meat must be stored until it is consumed, and this requires a big amount of energy.
We often talked about palm oil. This kind of oil can be found almost everywhere. It is, above all, used to prepare cookies, crackers, soups. A recent report, published by Greenpeace, showed how palm oil is one of the major causes of deforestation. Let’s just think about the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia, raped and destroyed by bulldozers to make room for this kind of crops. Christi Wilhelmi, author of Gardening for Geeks, says “Eight million acres of forest have already been clared and burned down and the orangutan is endangered”. What can we do? We should avoid prepared food and always read the labels.
Red tuna is one of the most common choices, especially in restaurants which serve sushi. But the problem is that the number of the specimen of this fish in the sea is quickly decreasing. Also, mercury dissolved in water contaminates the marine food chain and comesin contact even with the human being, which assimilates it above all consuming large size fishes, such as swordfish and, of course, tuna.
Genetically modified corn
Douglas Fox, teacher of sustainable agricolture at Unity College, says: “The GMO corn destroys habitats, depletes the ground, breaks the cycles of nutrients, poisons air and water, contaminates the native varieties of corn and so on”. Not only, it is one of the main causes of bees extinction. The public opinion is starting to sensitize more and more on this problem.
Yet, as we have seen in recent days, despite the opposition of almost all member countries of the European Union, it seems that a new kind of genetically modified corn will be introduced soon in our continent: the Pioneer 1507, which is accused to represent an actual risk for butterflies and moths.