To Go Green or Not to Go Green? Essay
Very few people know the real definition of organic food, and most just call it “natural”. However, farmer J.I. Rodale describes it as: A system whereby a fertile soil is maintained by applying nature’s own law of replenishing it- that is, the addition and preservation of humus, the use of organic matter instead of chemical fertilizers and of course the making of a compost pile.(Schultz 35) In short, the difference between organic and non-organic food is drastic; the lack of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and the upraising of animals greatly affects our environment, society, and health.
According to author John Wargo, an additional five to six billion pounds of insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides and other biocides are added to the world’s environment each year, with roughly one quarter of the amount released or sold in the United States (Lipson 3). Clearly, the overuse of pesticides and other biochemicals in non-organic food, such as in large-scale farms and corporations, is damaging our environment in many ways. One example is soil erosion. The use of theses chemicals damages, depletes and eliminates the healthy sol on this Earth as well as eroding it.
The Soil Conservation Service estimates that more than three billion tons of topsoil is eroded form US croplands each year (Lipson 17). Since soil is the main piece of organic farming, the use of pesticides is one hundred percent eliminated to ensure healthy and useable soil that will last and keep their foods purely organic and natural. Along with soil erosion, the use of biochemicals in conventional farming and agriculture deprives the soil of its natural pesticides and elements. With lack of its natural nutrients, soil becomes solely useable for one type of agriculture in contrast to the biodiversity of organic farming. Because organic farming is so biodiverse, farmers are able to harvest way more products than a single-crop manufacturing farm (Schultz 40).
Another standing affect of the chemicals used in conventional farming is that it hams our water. The chemicals places in soil becomes a part of the runoff in water, thus harming other areas of soil and when it comes in contact with other water, it hurts and kills animals of the habitat, such as fish. Organic farming doesn’t affect or harm the environment in any of these ways; therefore it is more beneficial to the environment in contrast to the harmful corporate farms.
Not only does organic farming save our environment (Go green!), it also saves lives because it eliminates all the health risks that non-organic products impose on our bodies. According to Wargo, Today nearly 325 active pesticide ingredients are permitted for the use on675 different basic forms of food, and residues of these compounds are allowed by law to persist at the dinner table. Nearly one-third of these “ food-use” pesticides are suspected of playing some role in causing cancer in laboratory animals, another one0thuird may disrupt the humans nervous system, and still other are suspected of interfering with the endocrine system.(Lipson 36)
Organic farming doesn’t use all the pesticides that conventional farming does, so these health risks would not apply. It is proven by the EPA that sixty percent of herbicides, ninety percent of fungicides, thirty percent of insecticides are carcinogenic (Lipson 18). Organic farming provides a trial of evidence, though, on each product telling how the farm is run, the livestock is raised and how each crop is cultivated. There are requirements for farms that their products must meet, such as being one hundred percent free of pesticides and genetically modifies ingredients. Livestock must also be fed purely organic feed to meet the criteria necessary to receive the “organic label” (Lipson 48). Michael Pollan , interviewed in the documentary ‘Food Inc.’, stated that seventy-eight percent of processed food in the supermarket has some genetically modified ingredient (Food Inc.).
Protecting consumers of the health risks of chemicals and GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms) is just as important as protecting the farmers who are exposed to these chemicals on their farms. A National Cancer Institute study shows that farmers exposed to herbicides had six times a greater risk of contracting cancer (Lipson 19). Also from Food Inc., farmer Eric Schlosser said, “There’s antibiotics that’s put into the food and of course that passes through the chicken. The bacteria builds up a resistance, so antibiotics aren’t working anymore. I have become allergic to all antibiotics and can’t use ‘em.” (Food Inc.) Organic farming, too, is mainly important for our children. All children should eat purely organic because non-organics cause birth defects, nerve damage, genetic mutations, and expose our children four times more than teens or adults to the cancer in the pesticides and chemicals of non-organic products (Lipson 17). Staff reporter Quina Miller of the Dominican Star says:
Although some might say that buying “organic” or all-natural products is a waste of money, I believe that it’s much better to pay a little extra now, than to spend extra money on fixing the health problems that unnatural chemicals and synthetics cause our bodies to have later.
If the world ate organic products, we’d be saving our children and lowering the risk of contracting cancer and diseases from what we eat. If we could save our lives by eating healthy food, then why not?
The final important reason for farming and eating organically is because of the benefits that organic products provide to our society. Large-scale farms, such as dairy corporations, are running small farms off the land and putting small, subsistence farmers, yearning to make money, out of business. Yes, their farms may be bought out by the corporations, however, with farming technology, its not like they are getting put to work, anyways. It is estimated that the United States has lost more than six hundred and fifty thousand small farms, independently owned and family farms, in the past decade. For these farmers, the local uprising demand for organic food may be their only hope for staying in business (Lipson 19). The Organic Gardening magazine states that in 2008, the United Nations found that farmers who switched from chemical to organic systems enjoyed double the yield in many instances (Organic Gardening).
As well as supporting our small farms, organic farming helps our society’s economy. Although it is slightly more expensive, organic products do not tax consumers on pesticides, waste disposal, testing, cleanup, environmental damage, and preserving cost that non-organics secretly tag along. In contrast, organic farming is simple with no Dahl 5
extra costs necessary. Another economic advantage of organic products is that, because its grown locally, there are no transportation costs. This is called “close to the source”, which excludes intermediary corporations, shipping and packaging costs. Organic farming, clearly, would save our economy a lot of extra costs and would help keep our small family farms in business, working to supply the worldwide demand to go green!
In 2001, the organic food industry in the US had an estimated value around nine billion dollars. By 2008, the organic food sales had increased to twenty-two point nine billion, three point five percent of total food sales (Gale 5). These increases prove the increasing knowledge and demand of organic products. Not only do organic foods greatly prevent health issues in us humans as well as animals, but this simple farming can help boost our damaged economy and help protect and preserve our environment.
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