Each day we make choices about what we are going to eat. Sometimes those choices are made deliberately with care and thought, a special meal prepared for friends and family, but more often we unreflectively choose the food at the end of our forks.
AND THAT FOOD IS MAKING OUR WORLD SICK
Americans eat 31% more processed foods than fresh, whole foods. These processed foods, loaded with high levels of salt and sugar, not only harm our physical health but their production also brings the added environmental cost of excess packaging and processing. Even the fresh food we do eat is produced by an industrial agricultural system that relies heavily on petro-chemicals and deadly pesticides. This reliance on fossil fuels in fertilizers and pesticides ultimately strips the soil of its fertility and ability to hold carbon.
According to the USDA, Americans consumed 26.4 billion pounds of beef in 2010. We are eating meat at twice the global average and we are consuming over three times the amount of protein needed for our health, the majority of it from animal sources. Our insatiable appetite for meat is raising our risk for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. And the way we raise animals to feed that appetite is taking a huge toll on our environment with deforestation, increase emissions of climate-change gasses, and pollution from animal manure.
Over one billion people face food insecurity. Big agricultural companies and wealthy nations exacerbate the problem of hunger through land grabs, commodity speculation, and bad governmental policy. Our excessive use of fossil fuels affects the climate causing longer droughts and more severe flooding. Farm workers who bring us our food face exposure to unhealthy pesticides as well as abuse and harassment. It is the poor and most vulnerable who suffer the most.
The way we produce our food is making us sick; it is making our communities sick and it is making our world sick. We need to change.
We need to begin eating for a healthy world.
The Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice is launching Eating for a Healthy World to encourage people of faith and people of conscience and their congregations and groups to put their faith and beliefs into action by making healthy food choices that will reduce the effects of climate change, protect the environment, and provide access to healthy, sustainable food to everyone especially the poor and vulnerable. Learn more on our Eating for a Healthy World page.