Eat With Your Head

There’s too much land for just one crop
August 4, 2008, 10:29 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Soy is an animal-friendly substitute that is arguably better for the environment than meat, too. But it comes at a price:

“We used to fight the loggers, but the loggers, they eat the Amazon in small bites,” he says. “The soy is eating the Amazon in big bites.”

Rainforest, meet soy.
Soy, unfortunately, is not an automatic do-gooder food. Though a partnership between the Nature Conservancy and McDonald’s attempts to slow the deforestation, the fact remains that large swaths of the Amazon are being destroyed to grow soy. That means all the crops thriving in one of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet are disappearing, too.

We have a similar problem with corn in the US. I highly recommend Michael Pollan’s Omnnivore’s Dilemna for an informed look at our transformation into what he calls “corn people.” We consume corn syrup until it makes us sick. And unfortunately, because high-fructose corn syrup is so pervasive (and so heavily subsidized) it’s probably harder to boycott than nearly anything else. Meanwhile, the demand for corn means less land devoted to other crops.

Since what we grow reflects what we want to eat, we have to diversify our diet if we want to ensure diverse crops. This does not mean we should all start eating kiwis and avocadoes at 99 cents each, or restrict ourselves to only foods that are certified organic in Europe. But it can be finding a subsitute for the products in your grocery that list “high-fructose corn syrup” as its second ingredient, after “water.”


2 Comments so far
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I did not realize soy was causing such damage to the Amazon! Can you suggest any other protein substitutes for vegetarians?

Comment by Grishma

Hmmm..maybe wheat gluten of the mock duck variety? I think the problem is most laws are designed to maximize the economy, and we need to push for laws that protect the environment, too.

Comment by eatwithyourhead

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