Healthy Body, Mind, and World: Part 4

Being ecologically friendly in Montreal, while having strict dietary restrictions, and living in a plastic, toxic, sugar, and gluten filled world.

This blog is what I chose to do for my Activism Project for my Environmental Earth Science Class. I chose to do a blog about healthy, eco-friendly food because eating healthy is very important to me and I think that being more eco-friendly should be important to everyone. This is our planet and if we keep polluting it the way we have been the effects of the pollution are just going to keep getting worse and worse, which is not good at all. In this blog I will show you how to make something healthy to eat or drink and how it impacts the environment positively. I will also let you know where you can purchase these healthy foods in Montreal.
Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup Ingredients:
Quinoa and Kamut Bread, Organic Cultured Butter, Organic Mild Cheddar Cheese, and Organic Creamy Tomato Soup.
The Quinoa and Kamut Bread can be purchased at the IGA located at 865 Rue Saint Catherine East. The Organic Cultured Butter, Organic Mild Cheddar Cheese, and the Organic Creamy Tomato Soup can be purchased at Couffin Bio Inc. located at 355 Sherbrook West, Montreal, Canada.
Put the amount of tomato soup that you want in a small pot and warm it between medium and low for heat, stirring it periodically. At the same time heat a frying pan on medium heat, when it is warm put a decent amount of butter in the bottom of the pan. Put the bread in the butter, and remove it when it is browned. Cut some slices of cheese and cover one of the browned sides of the bread with the cheese.  Then put the other browned side of the bread on top of the cheese. Put butter in the pan and then the cheese sandwich; remove it when it is browned. Put butter in the pan and brown the side that isn’t toasted, and put it on a plate. Also when the tomato soup is warmed to your liking remove it from the heat, and put it in a bowl.
Bon Appétit!
            Carnivorousness in humans is a part of how humans evolved. In the very beginning consumption of meatdepended on if you could find and kill an animal, but now the eating of meat by humans has risen dramatically. But this consumption has its downfalls. A number of undesirable agronomic, economic, nutritional, and environmental consequences come with the consumption of red meat and poultry. Reducing meat consumption and managing the production of the animal feeds and the feeding of animals can help reduce the consequences. Eating large amounts of conventionally grown meat results in environmental degradation because of energy losses, animal wastes, overuse of antibiotics, and greenhouse gas emissions.
            The animals and the environment are both benefitted by meat animals being raised in pastures and not in feedlots. A feed lot is a factory of sorts where animals are kept, fed, and kept relatively still so that the animals fatten up quickly and the meat is tender. When the animals are raised on the pasture they are able to eat the food they need, get the nutrition they need, and it is a much more relaxing experience for the animal. Cows are ruminants which means they are supposed to “chew their cud”, but we feed them corn on the feedlots that they are often raised on. This, upsets their stomach, and leads to more methane, which is a greenhouse gas. Humans also get much less fatty protein when they eat a meat that was raised in a pasture than when they eat an animal raised in a factory farm. Animals such as cows, chickens, turkeys, pigs, rabbits, and ducks are now being freed from their cages and raised in the pasture. This way of raising the animals is beneficial to the animals themselves, the people who consume them, and the environment in some obvious and some less obvious ways. When meat animals are raised on feedlots the manure from the animals is deposited on a small amount of land. Some of the manure gets taken away by the rain and pollutes the nearby ground water and land. The large amount of manure at the feedlots leaches phosphorus and nitrates into the soil and water. The phosphorus and nitrates can even create dead-zones in the bodies of water that it runs into. The dead zones are zones where certain types of marine life such as plankton become abundant with the addition of the phosphorus and nitrate. These eventually choke out all of the other organisms and plants. Eventually there is no more oxygen left in the area, creating the dead zone. When the manure is spread out in small quantities as it is when animals are raised in pastures the result is lush green grasses, which is beneficial to the grazing animals in the pasture. You also don’t get the amount greenhouse gasses when animals are raised in the pasture as when they are raised on feedlots.
            When humans eat meat they are also in a way eating what the animal ate, and contributing to the destruction that is caused by industrial agriculture. Fossil fuels, topsoil, and water are used at unsustainable rates in industrial agriculture. This contributes to the degradation of the environment much more than a vegetarian diet would. There is a huge loss of energy that occurs when the grains are going to feed the animals instead of going to feed the humans directly. Even more environmental and health concerns arise when the animals are being raised on factory farms. The extensive use of antibiotics for the animals on factory farms raises public health concerns. When antibiotics are used so frequently on animals, the microbes can become resistant to the antibiotics, making them more dangerous for humans.
            Greenhouse gasses result from the production of agriculture and livestock. About 22% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions come from the agriculture sector. About 80% of the agricultural sector’s total global greenhouse gas emissions come from the production of livestock. In the production of livestock the carbon dioxide is not the greenhouse gas that is held accountable for all of this it is mainly methane gas and nitrous oxide that cause this sector’s abundance of greenhouse gasses. Stopping this large emission of greenhouse gasses should fairly easy to do, we just have to get people to eat less meat.
            In recent years the global demand for meat has increased dramatically. The amount of meat that people around the world have been consuming has been influenced by the abundant supply of giant assembly line meat factories. These large assembly line meat factories have been causing a lot of damage to the environment. They use a lot of energy, they require large amounts of grains, they also create large amounts of greenhouse gasses, and they even pollute the water supply. The energy cost of eating meatis much higher than eating vegetables. Cattle raised on factory farms are fed grains which make they gain weight quickly but that they cannot digest properly, which leads to more methane. This grain made it possible for the factory farms to keep large amounts of confined cattle, and the use efficient mass slaughtering. The grains and close quarters make it necessary to use antibiotics routinely on the animals, and this makes it so that the antibiotics are not as effective when they are used on the humans. There is no simple way to resolve all of this damage that is being done, but there are a few ways the damage can be reduced. Returning animals to pasture is one way to help the environment, the people, and the animals. Better waste management is another way to help the environment. Technology is also beneficial, finding a way to turn the waste into something beneficial.
Unfortunately, the demand for meat is rising, and so is the amount of damage being caused.  In the developing world the demand for meat doubles every 20 years. Americans eat about 8 ounces of meat a day, which is about double what people around the world consume each day. America grows and kills about 10 billion animals a year, which is about 15% of the world’s total animal population and America only has about 5% of the world’s total human population. About one fifth of the worlds greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock production.
            Change needs to happen. The sustainability of farming needs to be looked at closely, and farming needs to become sustainable again. But in order for the farmers to change their ways they need incentive. New farm programs need to be established. People need to know that their every day choices do affect markets and global trends. People who make changes in their lifestyle can make a difference in the way this trend is moving.
People are quite attached to eating their meat, but if you start small with just one meat-free day a week, such as meat-less Mondays, and move up to more meat-free days as people lose their attachment. Remember how important it is to eat low on the food chain, it is important to know where your meat came from, and that you can make a difference. 
Written by Sonya Chiarella, Activism Project Blog 03.13.2013