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Is Our Food Overheating Our Planet?
I recently received this book as a contest prize from Good Reads First Reads. I've always been concerned with the issue of climate change. However, I wasn't aware that food production contributed as much to it as it does. Its common sense, actually, but most of us don't think about it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The author brings into focus the fact that industrialized food production makes a significant contribution to the greenhouse gases currently causing the problem of climate change; from the actual growth of genetically modified feed, to the production of chemical fertilizers and pesticides through the raising of crops and livestock all the way to the store and eventually to your table.
Until I read this book, I did not know that only growing one crop in a field over and over using chemical fertilizers and pesticides caused the soil to erode and release carbon into the atmosphere. Ms. Lappe points out that by using sustainable farming methods (natural fertilizers as well as planting a variety of crops) would reduce carbon emissions and help to restore the topsoil.
I was also unaware that a huge amount of methane was being produced by livestock and their waste. Most of this is caused by feeding them food other than grass. Their waste is drained into "cesspits" that do not allow it to break down properly, so more methane is released. By allowing them to feed naturally and by recycling their waste as fertilizer, methane and carbon emissions could be reduced. Also, reducing the number of livestock being raised could reduce it further.
One of the things discussed is to "buy local". I've always been a proponent of that. When you buy locally, you help to reduce emissions from transport vehicles. Why buy fruits and vegetables raised across the country when you can buy the same thing raised nearer your community?
Speaking to a number of experts and travelling to various places around the world, Ms. Lappe discovered that more people are returning to the time-tested methods of farming. They are thumbing their noses at the big agribusiness companies like Monsanto and Archer Daniels Midland. Using sustainable methods, these people have brought land back to life and are producing more than enough food for their communities.
I have to say that this book was an eye-opener for me. I learned that industrialized food production is energy intensive (from creation of the fertilizers to the lighting of the barns to the creation of packaging) and is heavily dependent on fossil fuels. I also learned that there are ways to slow down and reduce the greenhouse gases from food production.
And, now, after reading this book, I may never look at (or eat) a Pop Tart the same way again.
Posted February 13, 2011
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