Writer, Parker Zhang
If you’re all about saving the planet, maybe abstain from organic. Because you’re actively hurting it.
Now I know this is controversial. Organic is seen as pure, traditional and it brings a sense of common sense. When you buy organic, you feel that you are rebelling against synthetic fertilizers that poison our water sources. You feel that you’re eating more healthily.
But that’s a façade.
In fact, you would have to eat thousands of non-organic servings each day to feel adverse effects. There is little difference between the nutritional content of organic and not.
Farming practices used to cultivate organic products are extremely backward, they limit the overall production of food. When advanced fertilizers aren’t used, crop yields dwindle. An area that could once produce 400 bananas can now only produce 300. This of course leads to food scarcity, driving prices up.
While we can enjoy our $5 organic avocado toasts, those less well-off struggle to access necessities. The development of modern agricultural practices has led to more production, allowing for more mouths to be fed.
It is a sad truth. To sustain the human race, we must so at the expense of the environment. This encounters the ethical dilemma: Do we value human life at the expense of everything else?
We don’t give in to either side. When the cards are stacked against us, we flip the table (Frank Underwood Reference)
We should not purchase organic, but we can’t idly stand by while chemicals are flowing in our rivers.
1.Converting Organic fields to the average efficient farm can further increase crop yields.
By getting rid of organic farms, we can reduce our carbon footprint. Studies have found that organic farming produces 40 percent less than modern farming practices. Another harm that organic farming produces is the decreased biomass and soil erosion. As one farms an area more and more the production yield and quality declines. Because organic farmers are banned from using modern farming techniques, the soil continues to degrade. By converting the approximately 32.2 million hectares of backwater farmland, new living areas and more effective practices will flourish. It will be easier to sustain the global population and our carbon footprint will decrease. Consequently, food prices may drop and the cost of living may slightly be easier.
2.Supporting the research of new vegetable and fruit variants
Now that might sound scary. Changing the DNA of the food we eat? Isn’t that completely evil? It sounds like robots are creating what we are eating. But honestly, that isn’t the case.
Have you gone into a grocery store and gone to the apples? Chances are you walked past a GMO food product. There are so many apple variants. New ones are being created right now! Some to be more insect resistant. Sweeter. Crunchier. There are many more produce that follow the trend of genetically engineered apples.
While companies brand themselves as tamper-free. Completely pure. The only way we are going to sustain the 9 billion people expected to be on this earth, is through innovation. Consumable innovation.
Variants that allow for greater crop yields, without chemicals. Variants that don’t harm the ecosystem as much. Variants that can be planted more densely. Climate resistant variants.
The stamps that say “GMO-free”. Well, while they haven’t been genetically tampered with, they may have used chemical fertilizers. This game of constant labelling this healthy, not healthy, does not answer the important question – is this sustainable?
And no. These aren’t harmful. New variants undergo numerous food and drug safety test and verifications before they are allowed to be sold commercially. Check the FDA for their list of approved produce if you’re really scared.
3. Advocating for the widespread use of cleaner fertilizers
There’s not much you can do about this. As this isn’t a hot button election issue it won’t receive much attention. What you can do is when buying at a farmer’s market ask the seller what type of fertilizer they use, talk to them about some cleaner options you’ve heard about. When the time comes to purchase fertilizer for your lawn and home garden, check the labels. Research whether the ingredients in the soil and fertilizer have negative impacts on runoff water.
I know that trends of eating healthy and abiding by humanity-approved labels seem like you’re doing your part, but you’re not. While you have a placebo feeling of healthy eating, or maybe you feel good when buying organic -please don’t. The way to do your part is to not buy organic, rather buy ethical, and sustainable. Continue to buy Fairtrade, continue to frequent stores that sell ethically sourced produce. But that does not mean organic.