You may already know a bit about the health benefits of organic living, especially eating organic produce instead of typical pesticide and hormone-laden, genetically modified (GM) supermarket fare. But did you know that organic living also benefits the environment?
Organic fruits and vegetables, along with products made from organic materials, impact the environment far less than conventional, mass produced food and other goods. Most organic products must be farmed in some way, so agriculture is a large part of organic living. Making sure that what you buy has been produced in an organic way means that you are making a conscious effort to lessen your negative impact on the environment and increase your positive influence both environmentally and economically. Check and see if there are companies that deliver organic produce (especially fruits and vegetables) in your local area.
Here are some of the ecological advantages of organic living:
Industrialized farming and monocrop agriculture result in less natural biodiversity and crops that are genetically weaker than their organic counterparts. Genetically weaker crops are more vulnerable to being wiped out by disease and pests, therefore farmers compensate for this risk by using lots of chemical pesticides. These pesticides, along with industrial fertilizers, pollute groundwater, rivers and oceans. Mono-crop farming is also entirely profit-driven, meaning that it is more dependent on mass production, large-scale global markets and international trade. All this means more machinery, fuel, water and energy for growing, processing and transportation. This results in far more greenhouse gasses than traditional polyculture, which evolved in order to meet the entire nutritional needs of local populations. Traditional societies practiced organic living long before the advent of mega-farms, industrialized agriculture and mono crop farming.
The U.S. based Organic Farming Research Foundation conducted a comprehensive study on the advantages of organic living in terms of agriculture entitled, “Organic Farming for Health and Prosperity“. The report includes some environmental advantages of organic farming, such as how it benefits soil and water; how it aids bird and bee populations and how it slows climate change. Furthermore, the large-scale farming of non-organic grains, fruits and vegetables may not even be more profitable or productive than organic farming. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) conducted a study of farmers in Ethiopia in which those using natural (organic) fertilizers actually experienced yields 40% higher than those using chemical fertilizers.
As a consumer you have the power to support organic farmers over the large corporate food industry. Your purchases result in less harm to the environment and help support a more local, ecologically conscientious branch of agriculture. Buying organic food from local suppliers saves on transport for shipping, requires less processing and packaging, and encourages the growth of eco-friendly businesses. In many places it’s possible to get fresh, delicious organic fruits and vegetables delivered right to your door. Try out a bit of organic living and find out whether there are any suppliers of organic fruit and veg where you live!
Author – Graham A Land – Creative writer and environmental journalist. Enjoys writing about environmental, political, social and cultural issues. Other posts on this website – The Benefits of Organic Food For The Environment