Friday, June 3, 2016

Consumption Junction I: Environment

There's no escaping the fact that the human species has an incredible impact on the world.  With more than seven billion individuals and growing. In the long-term humanity should target reducing human population sensibly, as our sheer numbers underlie pretty much every challenge facing Earth. Nevertheless and in the meantime, it is decidedly important that we as individuals, as communities and as global culture encourage human behaviors that minimize human impact on the landscape and environment.  This is not only for our benefit, but also for the benefit of living individuals of all species, and the beauty of Earth itself.

You are what you eat! Chew mindfully.
No surprise, the human industrial consumer culture is in full swing.  Wealth is measured in dollars and euros and leisure time. Understandably, developed nations and developing nations alike want consumer goods to generate this wealth so that many can live the good life.  As savvy individuals, we can guide this consumer economy down a less destructive path.  Our many life choices are critical: whether choosing to drive a hybrid car, live in a tiny home, or travel locally, each decision add to powerful positive effect on the environment. Far too often individuals purchase things because it is their "right" to buy anything they  want,without considering the "responsibility" that goes into choosing to consume that item.

The choice of food we eat is the archetype example, if only because we do it so frequently while thriving on the act of eating both sensually and nutritionally. The average American eats a meal three times a day 365 days a year.  Add in a couple daily snacks, and we are talking upwards of 1500 times a year we decide what food will cross our lips. If we want to make a large positive impact on environmental impact, the hands down best choice is a plant-based food lifestyle.

The environment benefits immensely when more of us eat more grains, vegetables, and fruits, primarily because the food is much more efficient to produce. Producing animal products and by-products (particularly meat, milk and eggs) are significantly more damaging to the environment, simply because the trillions of food animals raised, caught and killed annually need more space to inefficiently consume large amounts of plants.  A small percentage of an equivalent amount of plants would feed human civilization fully.   But because of our inherited human culture, particularly profit mindedness, resource investment in animal products continues, creating substantially more deforestation, pesticide and fertilizer use and sewage runoff, not to mention significantly greater greenhouse gas production than plant food production alone would.

Even when it comes to capturing wild animals for food, especially sea creatures, the natural balance of ecosystems is greatly disturbed.  Maybe there was an era thousands of years ago when primitive human predation could be absorbed by natural replenishing cycles, but with billions of humans choosing to remove trillions of creatures from wild oceans and lands, nature cannot keep up.  The sensible choice is to reduce these highly inefficient food sources for the good of the planet.

Of course there are other factors involved which should contribute to our mindful consumption behaviors other than environment.  The humaneness, personal health and aesthetic joyfulness of consuming will each will be discussed in subsequent articles.  Yet, based on environmental impact alone, if we want to keep Earth's environment healthy, we can all make a difference.

Take the time to consider how your choices impact the environment. The Earth, of which you and everyone you know and do not know, are a part, will thank you!


2 comments:

  1. The position and climate of environment changing day bu day. The post of your are useful one and related to the environment. It is good to see like this post. great post and very well posted.

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