Forbidden fruit: 6 non-obvious products that negatively affect nature

Forbidden fruit: 6 non-obvious products that negatively affect nature

Reading time: 12-15 minutes According to the statistical portal, OUr World in Data, about half of the lands suitable for the life (free from ice and deserts) is used for agricultural needs.

More than a quarter (26%) of the global emissions of greenhouse gases and 70% of the fresh water intake account for the production of food products.

What we eat seriously affects nature and climate, and at all stages of the life cycle.

World resources are spent not only on growing food, but also on its processing, transportation, sale, storage.

Even after disposal, food continues to interact with the environment, releasing landfill gas during the decomposition.

The meat, especially red, is a record holder for greenhouse gas emissions.

However, plant cultures also “sin” the negative impact on the nature and life of man.

Most often they talk about the detrimental effects of such oilseeds such as palm, rapeseed, soy and sunflower on the tropical forests.

But there are other products that leave a negative trace on the planet.

Avocado Central and South America are the main regions of the production of avocados, and the largest exporter is Mexico.

In addition to a high carbon trace during transportation from the southern latitudes to the northern, resource -cost for storage and packaging, Avocado has several more “dark” sides.

High demand turned avocado into monoculture – farms have grown the same variety on the same land for years.

From an economic and production point of view, this approach is beneficial, but in the long term – unstable.

Monocultural plantations deplete the soil – it remains less nutrients in it.

At the same time, the plants themselves become susceptible to diseases, which forces the use of pesticides and fertilizers, which, in turn, pollute the Earth, water, and also negatively affect the biodiversity of the regions and the health of the population.

Avocado fruits hanging on a tree (photo: pexels) Another problem is dexterity.

Under the plantations you need many lands – farmers “select” them from the forest, and they make it bypolse routes.

In Mexico and other countries, avocados are often planted under the canopy of the forest.

Then farmers begin to gradually cut down nearby trees so that the fruit gets more sunlight.

As a result: the loss of “green lungs”, biodiversity and another spoon in a barrel of global climate change, because forests play the role of a carbon “net” on the planet.

To grow these fruits, a lot of moisture is also required.

In 2018, 6.

96 cubic meters were spent on the world production of avocados.

km of water, which is equivalent to approximately 2.

82 million Olympic pools.

According to some studies, the fruit is included in the TOP-5 agricultural crops that cause “water stress” in the regions of growth.

And there is also a version according to which large -scale mining of the resource from the aquifer causes earthquakes in Michoacan – the leading Mexican state for the cultivation of avocados.

Fruit exporters are not the richest on the planet, their economy depends on the crop and development of agriculture, and a significant part of the population works in this industry.

However, almost the entire collected volume goes to export.

At the same time, “water stress” is already observed in Mexico, Chile and Peru – a lack of quality water for drinking and household needs.

Since the avocado is poorly affected by a moisture deficit, to collect a good crop, especially arid regions have to be spent several times more fresh resources on cultivation.

It turns out that the water, “sewn up” into the production of avocados (virtual water), “flows” along with fruits from deprived countries into regions richer with water – the USA, Canada, Europe and Japan.

Thus, instead of the expected super-profits, producing countries can get a “broken trough”, since in the long run the “water stress” will lead to environmental degradation and the deterioration of social conditions.

Lack of water seriously affects the health of the population – this can force local residents to migrate to other places.

Green economy Great resettlement of the future: who are climatic migrants Sugar Sugar reed and beets are also grown as a monoculture.

In modern agriculture, this practice is widespread, which means that the problems in different parts of the planet on such plantations are approximately the same.

Natural biodiversity is replaced by exhausted agricultural vehicles.

In Papua-New Guinea from 1979 to 1996, the soil of the regions of growing sugarcane lost about 40% of organic carbon, which influenced their fertility.

Also, the lands, cultivated for landing of different crops, are subject to rapid development of erosion – the destruction of the surface layer.

To maintain the crop and destroy pests, plantations are sprayed with pesticides.

Sprayed substances also kill inappropriate groups of insects, plants and wild animals.

And toxic drains from the fields pollute rivers, seas, oceans and groundwater.

Moreover, pesticides affect the health of agricultural workers and people living next to plantations.

However, many pests rapidly develops resistance to poisons, so people are forced to constantly develop more powerful chemicals.

An indicative example: on Gayana sugar plantations, the fight against Aenelamia Flavilatra from the Cicata family using insecticides was unsuccessful.

But after the cessation of the use of poisons, the “predators” eating these insects again appeared.

Since the soils in the fields are deprived of microorganisms and nutrients, the plants also have to be fertilized-mainly nitrogen-phosphorus fertilizers.

Once in water bodies, these substances cause oxygen deficiency and flowering of harmful algae.

The excessive use of such fertilizers has already negatively affected the ecosystems of many lakes and seas around the world.

A striking example of this is the Everglads water-fingering in Florida, where hundreds of species of unique flora and fauna live, including enduring representatives.

Schaeh -saturated with phosphorus from sugarcane fields violate the balance in the Everglads ecosystem, causing a rapid growth of reeds, which displaces the indigenous inhabitants.

Rodnik farm in Colombia (photo: Pexels) Another problem is a violation of natural water flows.

The transfer of rivers to the irrigation of sugar cultures jeopardizes the water supply of residential areas located below.

Moreover, changes in hydrology significantly affect ecosystems.

In Spanish Andalusia, the cultivation of sugar beets led to a decrease in the water level in the Guadalquivir River, which was due to which the National Park of Donyan and its rare inhabitants suffered.

Wastewater, solid waste, emissions of smoke gases, soot, asmiac ash and other substances – all this is formed in factories processing reeds and beets to the final product.

In Denmark, water pollution with toxic drains caused the appearance of bacterial pathogens and ulcerative syndrome in local cod.

And at the other end of the world, in Gorahkhpur (Nepal), an incorrectly cleaned drain from two “sugar” enterprises made the local water artery unsuitable for drinking, bathing and even irrigation.

At the same time, sugar is growing every year, because now reeds and beets are used not only for food purposes, but also for the manufacture of biofuel and bioplastics.

Green economy Bi -fuel from sugar beets: how to make money on a cyclic economy Almond The favorable effects of certain products on the body are increasingly talking.

Therefore, the demand for beneficial avocados, almonds and other crops is growing at a high pace, which leads to the creation of the already mentioned monoculture and the emergence of all arising consequences.

The almond trees are moisture -loving.

And everything would be fine, but only 80% of the almond is grown in California, which is already seriously suffering from drought.

A recent study showed that the cultivation of 1 kg of almonds requires 10,240 liters of water – this means that about 12 liters are poured into one nut weighing 1.

2 g.

The area of California almonds in 2020 was about 647 thousand hectares, which is 5.

3% more than a year earlier – and every year there are more landings.

Almonds are the main export culture for state farms, but high costs of watering resources only contribute to the development of droughts in from an without that “hot” region.

In May 2021, in most California districts, a state of emergency was announced due to extremely dry weather and lack of water.

Climate change only enhances this problem: the last two decades were exclusively warm, one of the hottest periods in the history of the state came in 2012-16.

Photo: Pexels During drought, agriculture largely depends on groundwater, especially in the central valley of California.

However, the irrigation consumption is so great that the reserves that have been accumulated for millennia do not have time to make up for and are on the verge of exhaustion.

In addition, active pumping of groundwater contributes to the subsidence of the Earth-in the “almond” Valley of San Hoakin in some places the soil dropped by about 9 m during the 20th century.

Squeezing threatens infrastructure: bridges, roads and irrigation channels.

The stamping of water from surface sources affects biodiversity.

In 2014, royal salmon was injured from drought.

The fish began to get sick and die-the water was too warm, the level in the clamat River is low-everything went to the “sugar” farmers to San Hoakin.

Also, a big blow falls on bees.

To pollinate all California almond trees, more than 2 million hives are required – they are provided by commercial beekeepers.

But letting the bees go to pollination of the almond is like sending them to a war with pesticides.

According to the study of the University of Maryland, in 2019, commercial beekeepers in the United States lost 44% of their colonies.

Green economy Small, but important: how bees save humanity from hunger Cashew A nut that also loves to “drink” is necessary to spend about 14 thousand liters of water on the production of 1 kg of cashew.

But the main problem lies in its “burning” peel.

The fact is that unprocessed nut contains oily toxin urushiol and anacardic acid.

These toxic substances lead to the appearance of itchy tubercles, spots, ulcers and burns on the skin.

Therefore, cashews are never sold in a shell in raw form.

More than half of the world production of Cashew is concentrated in India, Vietnam and Cat-D’Ivoire.

Here people often work in adverse conditions.

In India, the number of employees reaches 500 thousand on Cashey processing farms.

As a rule, these are women.

Salary-about € 3 per day, but pay only for “kilograms”, so many workers intentionally refuse gloves that at least somehow protect the skin, but slow down the peeling process of nuts.

You do not have to count on stable earnings, as well as a pension, paid leave and a normalized working day.

Coffee Initially, coffee grew inside tropical forests – along with other trees and shrubs.

This method of production is called “shadow” – in this case, you do not need to cut down forests under plantations and ruin natural ecosystems.

Fallen foliage serves as fertilizer, and birds eat insect pests, so “shadow” coffee does not require pesticides and a special “top dressing”.

However, with an increase in demand, farmers began to grow coffee trees in an “open” way – under direct sunlight.

This allows you to get more crop for less time and not compete with other plants for light.

This method is especially common in Brazil, Costa Rica and Kenya.

“Open” coffee monoculture destroys unique tropical forests and destroys soils, so farmers are forced to use pesticides and fertilizers.

“Shadow” coffee, although it is considered more tasty, does not bring enough profit to employees.

With this method of growing, berries are not formed as much as with “open”, but you have to collect them manually.

At the same time, 80% coffee is grown by small farmers.

The unstable prices of the global market greatly complicate the lives of 125 million people who are relying on this industry as a source of income.

On average, farmers receive about 10% of the final retail price for coffee, but there were periods when the earnings did not exceed 1-6% of the final cost of the product.

Agricultural workers are only part of a large chain.

And the farther from the “tree”, the more profitable – the processing stations, importers and roasters get much more benefit.

Green economy Can global warming leave us without beloved morning coffee Another problem is production waste.

Water after processing coffee berries is often discharged into the rivers without any cleaning.

During fermentation, the berries lower the pH of water and make it acidic.

In addition, there are different organic pollutants (tannins, phenolic compounds and alkaloids) in the drains, which deprive the flora and fauna of the necessary oxygen and sunlight, causing the euttrification of water systems.

Rice The main food of half of humanity.

Revenues of 150 million households depend on it.

But at the same time, rice acts on the climate stronger than all plant crops.

Constantly flooded fields function as water-brewed land and produce about 12% of the total volume of anthropogenic emissions of methane.

And it is the “rice” methane that is half of all the emissions of greenhouse gases released during crop production.

Another way of growing – periodic flooding – was proposed as an “antimetan” measure, but it has its drawbacks.

Namely, an increase in nitrogen oxide emissions – greenhouse gas, which lasts in the atmosphere much longer than methane and CO2, and affects climate warming much stronger.

One study showed that nitrogen oxide emissions during periodic flooding of rice fields are equivalent to annual emission from 200 coal power plants.

In some countries, farmers growing rice receive only 4% of the final grain price.

This only rooted poverty – for example, in Nepal, the earnings of “rice” workers are so small that it is only 13% of the subsistence minimum.

Mostly small farms are engaged in growing rice in Asia-their income is $ 2-6 per day and depends on price fluctuations on the world market.

It is especially difficult for women working in the Asian rice sector: they receive a lower salary (in Pakistan, half as much than men) and often suffer from discrimination.

The production of food has a huge effect on the climate of the planet, negatively affects the biodiversity and significantly pollutes the environment.

However, it is difficult to abandon these products – and it is not necessary, because they are good for health.

Knowing the nuances of production and understanding how many resources were spent on manufacturing, it is necessary to approach consumption more responsibly.

For example, choose products with eco -marks such as RainForest Alliance and Fairtrade, which guarantee the preservation of forest ecosystems and decent wages to agricultural workers.

And also – to prevent the formation of food waste, so that the avocado who arrived from afar do not go to live their age on Russian landfills.

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