The effects of our individual food choices are farreaching. In order to understand this, we must first comprehend how we are connected to our world. Everything we do has a reaction.
We are part of a living community called Planet Earth. All life forms and elemental systems are interrelated. On a physical level, humans and the natural world are one inseparable reality. What we do to the Earth’s life support systems of air, water and soil has a direct effect on our lives and on all future generations. The chemicals that are administered to our foods and natural resources eventually become a part of us on a cellular level.
The production of animal food products is responsible for causing many of the planet’s most catastrophic environmental problems and depleting natural resources at an unprecedented rate. The animal and chemical agriculture industries are the primary polluters of our planet’s water and soil. They accelerate desertification, forest loss, global warming and the depletion of water, soil and ozone. Furthermore, the livestock industry is consuming most of America’s grain supply, which could be used to help solve world hunger problems.
Animal products such as meat, poultry, fish and dairy are also heavy contributors to most of the diseases afflicting Americans. Heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, osteoporosis, some forms of cancer, obesity, and other less lifethreatening diseases are influenced by excess consumption of animal foods. Treating these diseases is costing Americans hundreds of billions of dollars per year in health care and health insurance. Notwithstanding advice from experts, the United States government continues to spend billions of our tax dollars to subsidize these industries.
In contrast, a diet of organically grown plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds produced without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides enhances personal and environmental health. Plant foods contain vitamins, nutrients, protein, fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, essential fatty acids and many other beneficial compounds designed by nature to promote health and prevent disease.
Compared to animal foods, plant foods are less polluting to the environment and conserve natural resources. If plant foods were consumed more and animal foods less, hundreds of billions of dollars could be saved on health care costs. If the agriculture industry stopped feeding most of this country’s grain supply to animals and started feeding more to people, enough grains would be freed up to help feed the world’s hungry. Farmers could sell the extra grains to other countries and make an even greater profit. However, the more the U.S. government allows industry to alter foods with chemicals and biotechnology, the less other countries are willing to import them.
The animal and chemical agriculture industries, through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), supply enormous volumes of chemical/animalbased foods to children in schools. The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is the United States’ largest governmental feeding program. The manner in which our children view food, how their eating habits develop, their health and the condition of the land they will inherit are directly linked to the NSLP. For the most part, health and environmental information being taught in schools is not current.
We are not serving our children healthy foods in most of our schools. What type of society have we become? Let’s stop complaining about school lunches and do something about them.