With the population expected to surge to nine billion people by the year 2050, there is a need for every individual to strive to make sustainable food choices. The sustainability problem can be addressed through the three pillars of sustainability, that is, environment, economy and society.
First, to address the environmental sustainability, I believe that what I can do is to adopt a shift in my diet. I intend to lower my consumption of meat and dairy products and start eating more vegetables. Approximately 6% of global greenhouse gas emissions can be accounted to beef production. If meat consumption is reduced, then production will automatically be decreased which means that aside from reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the usage of land, energy and water will also be conserved. Michael Pollan, a food activist encourages eating grass-fed meat from small farms which is healthier, although more expensive, rather than meat from feed lots. Furthermore, it is a known fact that eating vegetables reduces health risks. Moreover, my choice for cooking oil will no longer be palm oil. I will be shifting to other cooking oils because I learned that palm plantations has a huge impact in the environment as it is linked to deforestation, habitat degradation and climate change.
The second step that I can do to make a sustainable food choice will impact the economy. I will start buying local produce, products that are grown and sold within my community. In this way, I am helping the local farmers instead of supporting the big multinational companies whose products are not organic. Furthermore, if everyone patronized locally-produced fruits and vegetables from their community, the economy will benefit through a reduction in the consumption of gasoline used to transport goods from farms to big supermarkets.
The third action which I plan to implement is to become more vigilant in the products that I buy. For instance, if I buy a bar of chocolate, I will make sure that the company that manufactured it does not tolerate child labor which is prevalent in the cocoa industry. According to a UNICEF study, almost half a million children work in cocoa farms in Ivory Coast, which produces 40% of the world’s cocoa supply. Also, since I am an avid coffee drinker, I will patronize coffee brands that are Rainforest Alliance Certified which “emphasizes sustainability in social, environmental, economic and ethical areas” such as McDonald’s and Nespresso. In this way, I will be doing a small contribution towards a sustainable society which is free from child labor and slavery.
Finally, I plan to become a volunteer in an organization which educates farmers and other community members on the benefits of organic farming. This will be good to society because organic farming helps build the soil and conserves water resources. Organic produce is good for the health because of a reduction in the exposure to chemicals. Healthy citizens make a healthy society.
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Pollan, Michael. 10 Questions with Michael Pollan Tim McGirk. 2016. Interview. 29 April 2016.
Say No To Palm Oil. "Palm oil ." 2016. saynotopalmoil.com. Web. 29 April 2016.