Virtually all of the processes in the modern food system are now dependent upon this finite resource, which is nearing its depletion phase.
- Machine Parts; construction and maintenance
Moreover, at a time when we should be making massive cuts in the emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in order to reduce the threat posed by climate change, the food system is lengthening its supply chains and increasing emissions to the point where it is a significant contributor to global warming.
The organic sector could be leading the development of a sustainable food system. Direct environmental and ecological impacts of agriculture ‘on the farm’ are certainly reduced in organic systems. However, global trade and distribution of organic products fritter away those benefits and undermine its leadership role.
The systems that produce the world’s food supply are heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Vast amounts of oil and gas are used as raw materials and energy in the manufacture of fertilizers and pesticides, and as cheap and readily available energy at all stages of food production: from planting, irrigation, feeding and harvesting, through to processing, distribution and packaging. In addition, fossil fuels are essential in the construction and the repair of equipment and infrastructure needed to facilitate this industry, including farm machinery, processing facilities, storage, ships, trucks and roads. The industrial food supply system is one of the biggest consumers of fossil fuels and one of the greatest producers of greenhouse gases.
What can we do?
- Eat locally sourced food whenever possible
- Grow your own food! If there are no community gardens in your area, start one!
- Eat less commercially manufactured foodstuffs
- Eat less fast food.