Borderless Society a History Essay

Pages: 4 (1482 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: College Sophomore  ·  Topic: Agriculture

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] That's according to research done by Christopher L. Weber and H. Scott Matthews of Carnegie Mellon University, who argued in a 2007 study (Food-Miles and the Climate Impacts of Freight Transportation in American Food Consumption) that if you're trying to limit your food's carbon footprint, it is better to eat lower on the food chain than to eat local" (Boyd 2009). But even many varieties of fish are factory-farmed, thanks to increased demand for fish in a manner that requires abundant natural resources.

Regardless, buying locally may not be a viable solution to the dilemma of sustainability. "Economists have long recognized the welfare gains from specialization and trade. The case for specialization is perhaps nowhere stronger than in agriculture, where the costs of production depend on natural resource endowments, such as temperature, rainfall, and sunlight, as well as soil quality, pest infestations, and land costs. Different crops demand different conditions and vary in their resilience to shocks" (Sexton 2011). Eschewing a particular kind of fruit or vegetables from one's diet because it is not local does not mean that the local variety was produced in a less carbon-intensive manner because of transportation costs. "In order to maintain current output levels for 40 major field crops and vegetables, a locavore-like production system would require an additional 60 million acres of cropland, 2.7 million tons more fertilizer, and 50 million pounds more chemicals" (Sexton 2011).

Of course, there are some who might argue that if it cannot be produced sustainably and locally, then it should be left out of one's diet. These people advocate eating 'in season,' or confining the diet to products that be grown locally but non-intensively: tomatoes in the summer; strawberries in the spring; root vegetables in the fall. However, given the poor quality of many American's diets and the fact that so few Americans eat the required amounts of fruits and vegetables a day, this could be a recipe for disaster and even worse eating habits and overall health. Locavorism might be feasible in California -- but not in Minnesota.

People who pursue the 100-mile diet often enthuse about its psychological effects: "They want to reduce the use of fossil fuels by buying foods that aren't shipped cross-country or internationally. They're supporting and getting to know local farmers and businesses. The food is fresher, healthier and better tasting. At a time when food safety feels uncertain thanks to contaminated fish from China or bacteria-tainted veggies from out-of-state, people can connect with where their food comes from" (Stiffler 2007). However, according to Mark Bittman, the most positive action an eater can take to truly have an impact upon fossil fuels is to reduce meat consumption, regardless of the good feeling locavorism generates. "An estimated 30% of the earth's ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production... If Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20% it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan - a Camry, say - to the ultra-efficient Prius" (Bittman 2008).

Bittman argues that reducing meat intake is better for human health and better for the planet, a win-win scenario and far more effective than simply 'eating locally.' Bittman is not a vegan or vegetarian -- he advocates reduced meat consumption which will lessen the impact overall of the all-American meal of a rib-eye steak, baked potato with butter, string beans, wheat bread, and ice cream. Eat a smaller steak, less frequently, rather than trying to 'go local.'

References

Big dairy enters the era of big data. (2012). Businessweek. Retrieved:

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-10-18/big-dairy-enters-the-era-of-big-data

Bittman, Mark. (2008). Rethinking the meat guzzler. The New York Times. Retrieved:

http://archive.truthout.org/article/mark-bittman-rethinking-meat-guzzler-print

Boyd, Robyn. (200). Is buying local always better? MNN. Retrieved:

http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/is-buying-local-always-better-its-complicated

Farming as big business. (2012). U.S. Department of State. Retrieved:

http://economics.about.com/od/americanagriculture/a/farm_business.htm

Lin, Donald. (2012). Why are factory farmed animals given antibiotics and hormones?

About.com. Retrieved:

http://animalrights.about.com/od/animalsusedforfood/f/AntibioticsrGBH.htm

Pollan, Michael. (2002) Power steer. The New York Times Magazine,

Retrieved: http://michaelpollan.com/articles-archive/power-steer/

Pollan, Michael. (2002) The vegetable-industrial complex. The New York Times Magazine.

Retrieved: http://michaelpollan.com/articles-archive/the-vegetable-industrial-complex/

Sexton, Steve. (2011). The inefficiency of local food. Freakanomics. Retrieved:

http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/11/14/the-inefficiency-of-local-food/

Stiffler, Lisa. (2007). Say bye-bye to bananas and hello to local with the 100-mile diet. Seattle PI. Retrieved:

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Say-bye-bye-to-bananas-hello-local-with-100-1245661.php [END OF PREVIEW]

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Borderless Society a History.  (2012, October 25).  Retrieved December 15, 2018, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/borderless-society-history/8602856

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