4 Sustainable Eating Myths - Debunked
Shopping organic is always better
It’s an expensive swap to make - and while it may have some benefits such as reducing pesticides and fertilizers used to grow crops, organic food is not necessarily better for the environment. A meta-analysis in 2012 found that organic crop yields are 25 percent lower than conventional crops, meaning it takes about a quarter more land to produce the same amount of food (1). That land usage has a huge impact on the planet. That's not to say the organic aisle should be avoided altogether, but it’s not safe to assume it's the more sustainable option. For an organic cherry on top, there's no conclusive evidence they're the healthier option either!
Almonds are bad for the planet
People are starting to reconsider reaching for the almond milk over alternatives such as soy, coconut, or cow’s milk. This is because almonds require a large amount of water to produce (about 1 gallon per almond - yikes!) However, almonds can still be considered carbon-neutral because their trees store carbon instead of emitting it. And the trees' water consumption per gallon is much lower than the amount of water needed to produce beef and other livestock (2). So don’t go cutting out almonds completely - they're still a great source of protein and can be helpful for replacing more intensive proteins that are even worse for the planet.
Eating grass-fed beef helps fight climate change
If you’re grabbing the grass-fed or grass-finished beef at the supermarket and assuming you’re doing great things for the Earth, think again! The production of grass-fed beef actually tends to lead to greater greenhouse emissions, as the cows gain weight more slowly and thus put out methane gas longer (3).
We need industrial agriculture to feed the world
Due to the amount of money that has been poured into corporate farming, consumers are less aware that there are other options out there and do not realize current farming practices aren’t sustainable in the future (4). Why? Well, because industrial farming uses more "fossil fuels, water, and mined minerals– all stuff that will only get more expensive as it runs out. So down the line, the chemical path not only can’t work for farmers; it won’t be a choice at all. Corporate agriculture doesn’t reliably grow more food in the future – or even today.” (4) What we need is a large, system-wide change to the food industry to keep our planet from warming further.