What Are The Benefits Of Organic Foods&Drinks To The Environment?
ORGANIC FOODS AND DRINKS
The benefits of Organic Production can be grouped under two main headings:
- Benefits to the Environment
- Benefits to Human Health.
There are several good reasons for choosing organic over conventional foods.
What are the Benefits to the Environment?
Organic farming and agriculture adhere to strict standards which prioritise soil health and animal welfare and ban artificial fertilisers and pesticides. These are the key reasons why many people choose to buy organic produce. Organic farming gives rise to positive effects on our environment like:
- Reducing the impact on the environment and improving sustainability through fertilising the soil using organic material like manure or compost and rotating crops multi-annually to keep the soil fertile.
- Limiting or banning the use of chemicals such as pesticides, food additives and antibiotics. Toxic (and/or persistent) pesticides are not allowed in organic produce nevertheless some organic producers prefer naturally derived ones. These pesticides must be approved by the Certification Body before use. Antibiotics can be used only when necessary.
- Avoiding genetic modification which could be harmful to the environment.
- Ensuring animal welfare by adhering to specific standards like sufficient roaming and living space and feeding them with non-GMO feed.
What are the Benefits to Human Health?
Not only are there benefits to the environment but there are also numerous benefits of consuming organic foods to human health. A study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and Friends of the Earth has shown the impacts and just how important it is for a human being’s health to feed on an organic diet. Pesticide levels in four families from across the US were tracked in the study for two weeks. The first week, the families ate their typical diets of non-organic food; the following week, they ate completely organic. Urine samples taken throughout the study were tested for pesticides and the chemicals pesticides break down into, called metabolites.
Fourteen different chemicals were tested in the study and every single member of every family had detectable levels. After switching to an organic diet, these levels dropped dramatically. Levels across all pesticides dropped by more than half on average. Detectable levels for the pesticide Malathion, a probable human carcinogen according to the World Health Organization, decreased by a dramatic 95%.
- Pollination is critical to the existence of three-quarters of the crops we eat, yet pollinator numbers are declining rapidly due to synthetic pesticides. Whilst there is a variety of factors affecting the decline in the population of bees, pesticides and habitat destruction are regarded as two of the most prominent causes.
- Nitrogen fertilisers and other pollutants from conventional farming can create ‘dead zones’ in oceans, rivers and waterways, depriving wildlife of oxygen. As organic methods prohibit these pollutants, choosing organic also inadvertently supports aquatic life.
- Organic agriculture helps fight climate change. Researchers say agricultural emissions could drop by up to 50% by 2050 if Europe’s farmland were all organic.
We should say stop to this huge negative impact of chemicals on our planet. We can survive without the presence of harmful materials as our ancestors once did in the past. It is within our hands to stop this negative spiralling trend by choosing to use and consume organic products.
- Dr Blain Murphy (2020), What Does Organic Really Mean?
- The Guardian, Opinion Pesticides, Fri 15 Feb 2019.
- Klein et al. (2007), Proc. Biol. Sci. 274, 303.
- Sanchez-Bayo and Wyckhuys (2019), Worldwide Decline of the Entomofauna: A review of its drivers.
- Cambardella, C.A., Delate, K. and Jaynes, D.B. (2015), Water Quality in Organic Systems, Sustainable Agriculture Research, 4(3), 60-69.
- Poux, X., Aubert P.M. (2019), Agroecology and Carbon Neutrality in Europe by 2050: What are the issues? IDDRI, Issue brief N.05/19.