Food & Drink

The chief environmental concerns about vegetable and fruit production and trade revolve around two issues. First, were chemical pesticides and fertilizers and unsustainable farming practices used to grow them? And second, how many miles did the produce travel from grower to grocer and how exactly did it get there?

As for beef, pork, and poultry, an immense amount of feed, water, energy, and resources are needed to raise the large quantities of livestock Americans eat. Over 66 percent of the grain produced in the US does not end up on the table, but rather as feed for livestock,[1] and half of the continental US, approximately 270 million acres, is used for livestock.[2]

The oceans' fish are under assault, too, with a full 75 percent of worldwide commercial fish stocks already considered fully exploited, overexploited, or depleted.[3]

 

Even the baby food that our littlest denizens gum down has an eco-effect. In the US alone, over 2 million tons—the weight of almost six Empire State Buildings—of baby food bottles and jars were discarded in 2005; only 15 percent were recycled.[4][5]

While dining out may give you a night off from cooking, your environmental impact could be working overtime. Restaurants consume more energy per square foot than any other US industry—over 2.5 times the average commercial building; use large amounts of water; and produce an average of 50,000 pounds of trash a piece per year.[6][7][8][9]

Since we can’t thrive on bread and water alone, it can pay off big time for Mother Earth if you have some green know how in your culinary back pocket. So grab a drink of water from the tap or pour yourself a glass of organic wine, settle in for a bit and get some specifics by clicking on any of the topics below:

Food & Drink