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Found 9 results

  1. In the last decade or so, much of the business world has made a massive shift to a triple bottom line. This means that companies don’t simply view their profits as evidence of success, but also look at the well-being of their employees and the impact their business has on the environment. Businesses as diverse as Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company to DHL shipping have all successfully made the shift to a triple bottom line model. Here are 3 ways the food industry can also make the shift to help protect the environment. Less Waste While food is theoretically biodegradable, the truth is that excess food waste generally ends up in landfills where it actually accounts for 25% of all methane gas emissions. In addition to the methane that food waste creates, food production also accounts for 25% of all freshwater consumption in the US. That’s not including all the fuel that is used to produce and transport the food and the other resources that growing food eats up. When food is wasted, it also wastes all the resources spent to produce it in the first place. Less Meat Almost one-third of the earth’s surface is used to raise animals for meat production, not to mention nearly 1/3 of the world’s fresh water sources. One of the critical dietary components that meat provides is protein. The importance of protein is the amino acids that it contains and not all sources of protein contain the same amino acids. While plant sources like the powders you can see at sanosphere.com can provide the same nutrients and proteins as meat, it is important to ensure that any plant-based diet actually contains all the necessary nutrients. One way to help boost the protein content of almost any dish is through the use of vegan protein powder. Revive Forgotten Foods While plant sources have the potential to offer all of the same protein sources as meat, that doesn’t mean that the most prevalent crops we are producing do. 75% of the world’s food supply is currently supplied by just twelve crops and five animal species. Conversely, there are an estimated 940 different cultivated plant species available on the planet. In order for humans to actually get all the nutrients we need from plant sources, we will need to start farming and cultivating foods with more robust nutritional profiles. The truth is that food production is a business and like all businesses, demand drives production. In order for the food industry to change, consumers have to change. When people begin to actually demand responsible use of resources and buy from ethically motivated businesses like a plant based protein company, the industry will change accordingly.
  2. When it comes to buying organic foods, there is a lot of controversy about whether or not it is a worthy consideration. Organic food is produced without the use of synthetic additives to include antibiotics, growth hormones, pesticide or fertilizers or any other artificial means. Organic farmers utilize environmentally conservative practices in regard to soil, water and overall food production procedures. For a product to be labeled ‘USDA Organic’, it must undergo a stringent certification process to be labeled as such, including farming practices and handling of food before it can be sold to consumers. Meat Meats, including beef and poultry products are often from animals that have been treated with growth hormones and antibiotics. These animals also usually have been fed grain treated with pesticides. When feasible, choose grass-fed, organic meat to ensure its quality. Dairy The milk produced by cows is affected by the hormones and antibiotics they are given, so choose organic milk, cheese and other dairy products when possible. Other products derived from dairy, including protein powders, should be derived from organic milk from grass-fed cows to ensure purist quality, like that of WonderWhey protein from DoVitamins. Eggs Choosing organic eggs ensures that the chickens they came from were not given harmful antibiotics nor were they fed grains that were treated with pesticides. Eggs labeled free-range or cage free ensures the chickens were raised under humane conditions supporting their health. Produce Fruits and vegetables are generally grown using commercial fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides. Some produce has a higher content of pesticides and buying organic or planting organic if you are a gardener is a good idea. According to the Environmental Working Group, an agency that regularly tests pesticide levels in produce, some of the fruits and vegetables at the top of the list for having the highest levels of pesticides in 2015 include apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, asparagus, avocado, cabbage, cantaloupe and cauliflower. Grains Grains are also heavily treated with chemicals to ensure that farmers will yield a crop. Grains are being genetically modified as well, so buying organic wheat, oats and other common grains ensures they are GMO-free, an environmentally healthy choice. With the price point of organic foods often being higher than that of conventionally manufactured foods, it can be difficult for consumers to know which foods they should consider buying organic. Choosing organics when feasible is one important way of reducing the toxic load for our bodies to support overall bodily health and the health of our environment.
  3. Authors of a recent climate change analysis, published in the monthly scientific journal Nature Climate Change, says that while the world struggles to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, we have given too little attention to other harmful greenhouse gases – more specifically, greenhouse gases associated with livestock. “Because the Earth’s climate may be near a tipping point to major climate change, multiple approaches are needed for mitigation,” said William Ripple, a professor in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University and co-author of the analysis. “We clearly need to reduce the burning of fossil fuels to cut CO2 emissions. But that addresses only part of the problem. We also need to reduce non-CO2 greenhouse gases to lessen the likelihood of us crossing this climatic threshold.” While acknowledging the dangers of CO2, the authors say that much more should be done to reduce releases of methane and nitrous oxide, two non-CO2 greenhouse gases that trap more heat than CO2 does. Methane is the second most abundant greenhouse gas and recent studies have shown that methane releases could be much higher than previously thought. Methane release comes from a variety of sources, but it’s estimated that ruminants form the largest single human-related source of methane. The authors write that the most effective way to combat climate change is therefore to reduce the world’s populations of ruminant livestock, which are mostly associated with cattle and the production of beef. Research has shown that greenhouse gas emissions from cattle and sheep productions are 19 to 48 times higher (per food produced) than the equivalent production of non-meat foods such as beans, grains, or soy products. So although CO2 is the most abundant greenhouse gas, the world could see a much faster reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the near-term through a substantial reduction in the number of ruminants globally. Individuals can do this by adopting a more vegetarian diet which cuts down on meat and dairy products. “Reducing demand for ruminant products could help to achieve substantial greenhouse gas reductions in the near-term,” said co-author Helmut Haberl of the Institute of Social Ecology in Austria, “but implementation of demand changes represent a considerable political challenge.”
  4. Former Vice President, climate activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore has switched to a vegan diet due to environmental concerns. A Forbes article mentioned that Gore, who they claimed was a “newly turned vegan”, was considering an investment in a San Francisco startup that works to replace eggs with a plant-based formula. The Washington Post caught up on this, investigated further and found “an individual familiar with Gore's decision” who told the paper that Gore had taken up a vegan diet several months ago. Gore, whom in 2007 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize alongside the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for their efforts to inform the public about the dangers of climate change, have received a lot of criticism over the years for living in a big mansion and consuming meat. In 2009, during an interview on ABC, Gore said: “I'm not a vegetarian, but I have cut back sharply on the meat that I eat. […] And it's absolutely correct that the growing meat intensity of diets across the world is one of the issues connected to this global crisis -- not only because of the [carbon dioxide] involved, but also because of the water consumed in the process.” Rajendra Pachauri, chairperson of the IPCC, have stressed the importance of cutting back on meat. “Among options for mitigating climate change, changing diets is something one should consider,” Pachauri have said. The meat industry is responsible for about one fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than the world's transport sector pollutes. Livestock farming also use a lot of land, about 70% of the world's total agriculture landis dedicated today to livestock production - that's around 25% of the planet's total land area. It’s not surprising that Gore has switched to a vegan diet due to environmental concerns. The environmental costs and damages done by the meat industry to our climate are obvious. But it’s surprising that he did not do this to bigger fanfare and publicity. Photo credit: Center for American Progress Action Fund (cc)
  5. The world's first fully lab-grown hamburger was served at a press conference in London earlier this afternoon. The hamburger, which has grown from tiny bits of beef muscle tissue in a laboratory, is hoped to be able to increase food security, create better livestock conditions, decrease greenhouse gas emissions from the meat industry and reduce the environmental impact of livestock farming. The human population is soon expected to reach nine billion people and, despite the environmental impact, we are eating more and more meat. By 2050 the meat production is expected to increase with 50%. But the current meat production, despite its already inhumane and industrial-like methods, will be unable to meet future demands. The meat industry is already responsible for about one fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than the world's transport sector pollutes. Livestock farming also use a lot of land, about 70% of the world's total agriculture land is already dedicated to livestock production - that's around 25% of the planet's total land area. Mark Post, who is the scientist behind the world's first lab-grown hamburger, hopes that his "cultured meat" will someday become one of the major solutions to the environmental and food crisis. "Cows are very inefficient, they require 100g of vegetable protein to produce only 15g of edible animal protein," Post told the Guardian. "So we need to feed the cows a lot so that we can feed ourselves. We lose a lot of food that way. [With cultured meat] we can make it more efficient because we have all the variables under control. We don't need to kill the cow and it doesn't [produce] any methane." This all sounds very promising. But Post's work is still in its early stages and there are still a lot of hurdles to overcome. The hamburger which was served today was a fairly simple creation – while being full of protein it lacked blood and fat which regular beef contains. But Post and his team also need to figure out how to scale up the process so that large-scale production can take place. They also need to figure out how the costs involved in the production can be reduced. Although the first taster of the lab-grown hamburger described it as having "quite some flavor", the total cost of the project, which resulted in today's hamburger, has been £250,000. Post hopes that commercial production of cultured meat could begin within 10 to 20 years. "Twenty years from now if you have a choice in the supermarket between two products that are identical and they taste and feel the same and have the same price - and one is made in an environmentally friendly way with much less resources and provides food security for the population and doesn't have any animal welfare connotations to it - the choice will be relatively easy," Post said. "People will start to prefer this type of product and then it will gradually transform meat production." Green Blog wrote about lab-grown and in vitro meat for the first time in 2008. Back then in vitro meat was a fairly new area and there was still a lot of research required and several obstacles that needed to be solved. Post hopes that today's event will show the skeptics that in vitro meat is possible and that it could actually help make the meat industry more ethical and environmentally friendly. Now the question is, would you eat it?
  6. Half the world's pigs - more than 470 million of them - live in China, but even that may not be enough to satisfy the growing Chinese appetite for meat. While meat consumption in the United States has fallen more than 5 percent since peaking in 2007, Chinese meat consumption has leapt 18 percent, from 64 million to 78 million (metric) tons - twice as much as in the United States. Pork is by far China's favorite protein, which helps to explain the late-May announced acquisition of U.S. meat giant Smithfield Foods Inc., the world's leading pork producer, by the Chinese company Shuanghui International, owner of China's largest meat processor. China already buys more than 60 percent of the world's soybean exports to feed to its own livestock and has been a net importer of pork for the last five years. Now the move for Chinese companies is to purchase both foreign agricultural land and food-producing companies outright. People in China ate 53 million tons of pork in 2012 - six times as much as in the United States. On a per person basis, consumption in China first eclipsed that in the United States in 1997, and it has never looked back. Now the average Chinese eats 86 pounds (39 kilograms) of pig meat each year, compared with 59 pounds in the United States. As demand rises, pork is starting to shift from household- or farm-scale production into larger factory-like operations. Overcrowding in these facilities has been blamed for pollution and the spread of disease, as well as for the recent dumping of thousands of dead pigs into a river flowing into Shanghai. Chinese chicken production and processing have also consolidated, as sadly seen in the recent fire at a large poultry plant in northeastern China that reportedly killed at least 120 people. China's chicken intake just recently caught up with that in the United States, with 13 million tons eaten in each country. It took China just 25 years to make the consumption leap achieved by the United States over a half-century. Chicken is America's meat of choice, and U.S. individual diets are four times heavier with poultry than Chinese diets are. However, as fast-food restaurants in China multiply, chicken consumption is rising. If the Chinese ate as much chicken per person as Americans do, their flocks would need to quadruple - as would the grain and soybeans used in the feed rations. As for beef, grazing land limitations and higher costs have made this meat far less popular in China than in the United States, with 5.6 million tons consumed in 2012, or 9 pounds per person. The average American, in stark contrast, ate 82 pounds of beef that year. Total beef consumption in both countries appears to have peaked. The Chinese eat nearly as much mutton and goat (close to 7 pounds per person annually) as they do beef, while those meats barely register in U.S. diets. New steakhouses are trying to lure affluent Chinese toward red meat, but they are unlikely to reach the masses. If the Chinese ate as much beef as Americans do today, they would need 50 million tons of it, 90 percent of current world consumption. With the average income in China poised to reach U.S. levels as early as 2035, heavier beef consumption theoretically could become economically feasible. Ecologically, though, it may never be possible. Grasslands are unable to sustain herds much larger than the existing ones, as evidenced by the vast dust bowl forming in northern China, largely from overgrazing by sheep and goats. Thus, getting more beef would mean intensive use of feedlots. But cattle take more grain and soybean meal per pound than all other livestock and poultry. In recent years China has imported some grain, though imports still make up a small share of its total supply. China's soy production, however, has barely budged since 1995, while soy use (mostly for feed rations) has shot up fivefold. Imports have made up the difference. (See data.) Hogs put on about twice as much weight as cattle per pound of feed, and chickens grow even faster. Smithfield Foods in the United States has become remarkably "efficient" at fattening hogs en masse; such expertise is a big attraction for China. Yet even though the United States has a better reputation on food safety than China, U.S. factory farms have their problems as well in terms of the contamination of meat and the massive quantities of waste generated by large groups of animals. The widespread use of antibiotics in U.S. industrial meat production has been linked to growing bacterial resistance to antibiotic treatment. And one feed additive still used in the United States to help pigs gain lean weight - ractopamine - has been banned in China because of feared negative health effects. According to reporting by Reuters, Smithfield began limiting the use of ractopamine on some, but not all, of its animals last year, with an eye on the Chinese market. Given the existing land degradation and pollution that are making it harder for China to produce more - and safer - food, it is not difficult to see why foreign acquisition of both land and food producers is becoming increasingly attractive. Yet just as the American diet has been shown to be a dangerous export - accompanied by spreading obesity, heart disease, and other so-called diseases of affluence - ramping up American-style factory meat production is not without risk. By Janet Larsen. For more information, see "Meat Consumption in China Now Double That in the United States," by Janet Larsen, and the latest book from Earth Policy Institute, Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity, by Lester R. Brown.
  7. Kathy Freston, a "self-help author and personal growth and spirituality counselor", has posted an interesting article over at the Huffington Post about the consequences of eating meat. Or in this case if we didn't: If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would save: 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months; 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year; 70 million gallons of gas--enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare; 3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware; 33 tons of antibiotics. If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would prevent: Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France; 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages; 4.5 million tons of animal excrement; Almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant. The meat industry is a big burden for our climate as it is responsible for about one fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions, in the world. That means they currently pollutes more than the whole transport sector. The cattle release CO2, methane and other greenhouse gases. They also use a lot of land areas, around 25% of the earths total land area. And about one third of all farm areas are used to grow food for the cattle. And by year 2050 the meat production is expected to increase with 50%. So just like Rajendra Pachauri, who currently chairs the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since 2002 and who recently won the Nobel Peace Price along with Al Gore, said "that among options for mitigating climate change, changing diets is something one should consider."
  8. Green Quote of the Week: Rajendra Pachauri

    Rajendra Pachauri, who currently chairs the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since 2002 and who recently won the Nobel Peace Price along with Al Gore, said at a speech in London on Monday evening that "meat production puts more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than transport" and that "changing diets is something one should consider". "The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated that direct emissions from meat production account for about 18% of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions," he told BBC News. "So I want to highlight the fact that among options for mitigating climate change, changing diets is something one should consider." You can read more about this over at BBC News.
  9. We all know that the meat industry is a dangerous threat to our climate and overall a questionable industry. The cattle release CO2, methane and other greenhouse gases. They also use a lot of land areas, around 25% of the earths total land area. And about one third of all farm areas are used to grow food for the cattle. According to studies the meat industry is responsible for about one fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions, in the world. That means they currently pollutes more than the whole transport sector. And by year 2050 the meat production is expected to increase with 50%. And then I haven't even mentioned the rather obvious animal suffering. But maybe, if some "environmentally concerned scientists" get their way, the meat you'll eat in the future will be produced inside a lab. Scientists from the In Vitro Meat Consortium are currently trying to produce meat from muscle tissue for human consumption. This laboratory-grown meat, or in vitro meat, should not be confused with "imitation meat", which often is produced from soy or gluten. The in vitro meat will be actual animal flesh, but flesh that never has been part of a living animal. The in vitro meat would, according to the In Vitro Meat Consortium, be healthier and contain fewer diseases. It would also reduce animal suffering and have positive effect on the environment. But some people are concerned that the in vitro meat will be of lesser quality and contain unresolved health risks than ordinary meat. Others worries that the in vitro meat will be different in appearance, taste, smell and even texture and thus reduce its appeal for consumers. Either way the in vitro meat is far from the market today. More research needs to be done and there are currently several obstacles that need to be solved first: Proliferation of muscle cells: Although it is not very difficult to make stem cells divide, for meat production it is necessary that they divide at a quick pace. This requirement has some overlap with the medical branch of tissue engineering. Culture medium: Proliferating cells need a food source to grow and develop. The growth medium should be a well-balanced mixture of ingredients and growth factors. Depending on the motives of the researchers, the growth medium has additional requirements. Commercial: The growth medium should be cheap to produce. Environmental: The production of the growth medium shouldn't have a negative impact on the environment. This means that the production should be energetically favorable. Additionally, the ingredients should come from completely renewable sources. Minerals from mined sources are in this case not possible, as are synthetically produced nutrients which use non-renewable sources. Animal welfare: The growth medium should be devoid of animal sources, although they may initially be more useful than other sources. Space travel: The growth medium should be almost completely created from the waste products in the space ship, if it is to be used in space travel. Bioreactors: Nutrients and oxygen need to be delivered close to each growing cell, on the scale of millimeters. In animals this job is handled by blood vessels. A bioreactor should emulate this function in an efficient manner. The usual approach is the creation of a sponge-like matrix in which the cells can grow, and perfusing it with the growth medium. Although more research needs to be done there is progress in this area, especially in Europe. M. A. Benjaminson from Touro College performed the first, actual, research about in vitro meat. Benjaminson managed to grow muscle tissue from a goldfish in a laboratory setting. And in 2004 researchers from Europe formed the non-profit organization New Harvest. According to them laboratory-grown meat in a processed form, like sausages and hamburgers, "may become commercially available within several years". In April 2005 the Dutch government granted a two million euro subsidy for a laboratory-grown meat project by Henk Haagsman at the University of Amsterdam. At a workshop held at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences on June 15, 2007 the In Vitro Meat Consortium was established with the goal "to facilitate the establishment of a large-scale process industry for the production of muscle tissue for human consumption through concerted R&D efforts and attraction of funding to fuel these efforts."