Agriculture has gained significant importance in human society. With the continuous growth of the population, the impact of agriculture on human societies is increasing day by day. Even though the use of modern technologies has enhanced the yield to feed the huge population. But it also has severe consequences on the environment.
As the footprint of the food system is large on the environment. If we take only the American consumption patterns, we can better estimate the correlation between food and the environment.
Deforestation is another problem that has a direct link with the environment. Hence the excessive use of wood for fire and other usage is a major carbon and deforestation issue. It speeds up the release of greenhouse gases into the environment. It also affects the carbon storage in the atmosphere and contributes to instability in climate systems.
Learning to reduce farming focus
There are a lot of options available today for all of us to reduce our footprint in the food system by reducing our daily consumption. But some people are naturally environmentally-friendly and want to be good neighbors to their ecosystem. For others, supporting smaller farms/ranches and eating sustainably grown food is the way to go.
I myself have been environmentally friendly and vegetarian for many years. In 2015, in the midst of preparing for my 50th birthday, I knew that I couldn’t continue on this road of being purely vegetarian. There was too much meat on my plate at too many times (which, by the way, also contributes to those hefty carbon footprints). If I wasn’t going to eat more sustainably. I wanted to base my diet around meatless meals and reduce my meat consumption. I began shopping and reading labels regarding food and eating choices. Because I can avoid consuming animal products and commit to swapping out animal products in any diet that I tried.
Following my nutrition journey, I felt that I had reduced more than a little meat from my diet. By reading the labels carefully in the shops and supermarkets, I was able to get knowledge about the quantity of meat we consume in our everyday life.
Take first initiative
We should always try to be conscious of what we put on our plates. Because of my commitment to eating better, I started looking closer at those labels that I was concerned with: “No-Kill” and “2 Step” programs.
“No-Kill” programs are programs that focus solely on reducing kill (animals used for meat or byproducts) and do not differentiate between those species used for food vs. those used for clothing, land reclamation/utilization, and repair.
As you make your grocery lists, aim to further reduce your consumption of animal byproducts. And then try to move toward farming activities that do not require taking live animals or byproducts. Farming practices like residue and use of pesticides and genetic engineering are two of the more famous issues that can influence Earth’s next generation.
Carbon footprint technology and livestock
Currently, carbon footprint technology is not effective at removing livestock waste and it is often buried in difficult-to-access pastures and ranches. Removing animals from agricultural land is an expensive and challenging task. So we believe if carbon footprint technology existed in the past, engineers could have figured out a more effective system and protection available to the communities that graze those pastures.
Real anthropological research on contemporary populations confirms the negative effects of grazing animals on the land and natural systems. Studies confirm the detrimental impacts of grazing in several ecologically and economically vital ecosystems.
Studies also confirm the negative impacts of consuming red meat. Particularly beef, with the implication that milk and other plant-based foods are better choices. Approximately 32.5 billion land animals are there which we slaughter annually for food. Many of these animals are reared on grain-fed with corn- and soy-based animal proteins. The impact of consuming beef in a diet high in red meat and animal milk on the environment is well documented. Beef is the third most-produced product which we consume globally.
Commercial farming and its effects
Commercial farming has a strong influence on our society. The use of modern technology has made it possible to get excessive production. The skyrocketing growth of the world population needs more food, and modern agriculture is the only option to meet this growing demand.
But on the other hand, excessive use of chemicals and fertilizers has an adverse impact on our environment. In order to handle this situation, we need to adopt some viable strategy. Moving forward, we need to promote policies that protect and restore land that sustains our livelihood and educate consumers on where their food comes from. It is the utmost responsibility of the authorities to launch public awareness campaigns. Where experts can make people aware of their diet patterns and upcoming environmental challenges.
Cattle rearing impacts on environment
The trend of commercial cattle rearing grew up with the advent of modern technology. Technology has facilitated the farmers to expand their businesses. This trend resulted in another challenge for the environment. Agriculture relies on large cattle operations to feed tens of millions of hungry people every year. Over the years our footprint has grown substantially due to the increased use of pesticides and herbicides which causes significant damage to the environment.
So as a vegetarian for the past many years, I have realized that it is not easy being a vegetarian with respect to eating animals. Animals raised for meat and milk are being raised on grain that is fed with corn, soybeans, or other grains. And all these grain crops are fertilized with nitrogen-based fertilizer. So it is a cycle that rotates accordingly.
The bottom line
Food and water are among the basic needs of all human beings. From ancient times, agriculture has remained a central focus of humans. In hunter and gatherer societies, tribes used to trade with commodities. This type of trade used to be known as the barter system where commodities were exchanged with each other.
Now the trends of the modern world have changed. The population is continuously growing and the use of advanced technology ensures food security for us. But at the same time, we are paying the price in the form of rapid environmental changes. The need of the time is that we should focus on more eco-friendly and sustainable agriculture.
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