Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sustainable development by Violeta McKean

Development and Sustainability
Environmental Studies PHS 100
Warner Pacific College May 12, 2009
Development and Sustainability Environmental studies is a fascinating topic. I have learned so manythings on the last five weeks of school. I am happy that this subject is one of our required subjects, because if we start taking care of our planet, our children will have a better chance of enjoying all the natural wonders that God created for us.Our society needs to make many changes to confront future development and sustainability; from recycling, to changing the way we eat. In my household, my children and I are aware of the importance of recycling, but this alone is just not enough. Lately due to my high cholesterol levels, I decided to avoid all red meat and not eat dairy products as much as I did in the past. I have since switched to soy products, which a lot of people consider somewhat bland and unappetizing. I don't mind the taste, and as a matter of fact after doing some research on the benefits of not drinking cow's milk, I tend to like it even more.Soy products are thought to contain many nutrients that are beneficial in the reduction of many ailments ranging from heart disease, osteoporosis, menopause, and several other health issues, on top of that, it is also considered an excellent source of protein (Novic, 2000). Cow's milk on the other hand, has been linked to causing intestinal colic, intestinal irritation, intestinal bleeding, anemia, allergic reactions in infants and children, as well as infections such as salmonella, viral infections such as bovine leukemia or AIDS like virus, as well as concern for childhood diabetes. There is also a great risk of contamination of the milk by blood and white (pus) cells, as well as a variety of chemicals and insecticides (Kradjian, 2009).Even thought the research is still ongoing about the beneficial aspects of soy, at this point it seems to be a better choice to go with rather than cow's milk. Soy was not taken seriously until the 1920's when its nutrient value and inexpensive production became widely known. Today, three quarters of a century later, our country grows one-third of the total world supply, mostly for livestock feed and non-food commercial products. Only 2% of the soy production is destined for human consumption, in the form of tempeh, tofu, and so on (Kradjian, 2009).Scientists advice that in order to save our planet we have to make changes and one of those changes that are being suggested, is to eat less meat and fewer animal products in general (Bittman, 2009). Unfortunately, the demand for meat has multiplied in recent years. Americans eat about eight ounces of meat a day, roughly twice the global average. At about five percent of the world's population, we “process” (that is grow and kill) nearly 10 billion animals a year, more than fifteen percent of the world's total. This has created the need to build huge confined animal feeding operations. These assembly-line meat factories, consume enormous amounts of energy, pollute water supplies, generate significant greenhouse gases and require increasing amounts of corn, soy, and other grains. This has led to the destruction of vast swaths of the world's tropical rain forests to produce grain for animal feed (Bittman, 2008). Also, the agriculture in the United States—much of which serves the demand for meat—contributes nearly three-quarters of all the water-quality problems in the nation's rivers and streams, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (Bittman, 2008).The production of meat, uses so many resources; for example, according to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization, 30 percent of the earth's ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production. The NFAO, also estimates that livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world's greenhouse gases—more than transportation (Bittman, 2008).It amazes me how everything is connected in someway or another. For example, the environment and us. The foods that we eat and our earth. The choices we make and the effects on our planet. So I find it only fit to include how changing the way we live or simply the way we eat, will affect the way we develop as humans. My major is Human Development, and it is easy to see the connection to how children are developing in different parts of the world, due to the circumstances they are being raised in. For example, children who are being raise in Mexico's Yaqui Valley, are suffering neurological effects due to pesticide poisoning. This is just an example of a plethora that exist. In destroying our environment, we are not only destroying the place that we live in, but the chances that a child might develop to their full potential. This in turn pushes third world countries to create a vicious cycle that will continue until we decide to make changes and take the poor into consideration.According to Mark Bittman from The New York Times, with all the grain we grow to feed cows to produce meat, we could feed the people that are starving and suffering from malnutrition due to lack of food (Bitman, 2008).Obviously, there is a lot that needs to be done to save our world, for now though, I have switched to soy milk and stayed away from red meat, I also recycle and turn my lights off when not in use. All of these are just small changes to the way I live. Some of these changes might require a little more effort than others, but in the end every bit helps. I encourage everyone out there to try not eating meat for at least a couple of day and staying in the lower trophic levels which provide more nutrition anyway. One person making a change, does not make a huge impact, but if more of us take a stand for our planet, we will be able to see the difference and our children and grandchildren might thank us some day.
References: Bittman, M. (2009). Eating Right can Save the Planet. Retrieved on May 12, 2009 from: Bittman, M. (2008). Save the Environment: Eat less meat. The New York Times, Retrieved on May 12, 2009 from: Kradjian, R., MD (2009). How Our Food Choices can Help Save the Environment. The milk letter. Retrieved on May 12, 2009 from: Novick, J. (2000)/ Will Soy Save the World. Retrieved on May 12, 2009 from: Withgott, J., & Bennan, S. (2008). Environment: The Science Behind the Stories (3rd ed.). New York. Pearson Benjamin Cummings. ISBN: 13: 978-0-8053-9573-0

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