Fad foods cause major environmental harm

Robin Boch, Associate Views Editor

This is an opinion article and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

Though eating avocado toast or adding quinoa to your salad might help you feel both satisfied and healthy, the production of these foods has negative consequences for the environment. By purchasing these products, people are unknowingly contributing to major issues such as pollution and deforestation worldwide. No matter how superior these foods appear, people should limit their consumption to reduce the negative effects production has on the environment.

Greek yogurt is lower in carbohydrates than regular yogurt, but this is not without a cost. The whey acid that is left from milk after the production of Greek yogurt is incredibly acidic, and the only way to dispose of this waste is to dump it in our waterways. After just one acid dump by the Minerva Cheese Factory in 2008, over 5,400 fish died. Many more bodies of water experienced contamination under similar circumstances.

Currently, there is such a great demand for avocados that their production is directly resulting in deforestation in central Mexico. Farmers illegally cut down entire forests to ensure that there is space to farm what is known as “green gold.” This is especially problematic in the Mexican state of Michoacan, where the monarch butterflies migrate in the winter. If the demand for avocados does not go down soon, farmers will continue to destroy not only our forests, but also any hope for the future of monarch butterflies.

Quinoa was once a staple food for people in Bolivia, the country where most of the farming of this grain takes place. Since 2006, however, increased demand has tripled its price. It is now cheaper for Bolivians to eat imported food than to eat the quinoa that they have been reliant on for so long. Additionally, quinoa farmers are experiencing more problems with pests and soil erosion because of the crop’s rapid expansion.

California is still experiencing a severe drought, and this issue is intensified by the increased farming of almonds for the production of almond milk. Almond milk has recently had a higher demand than soy milk, yet it takes a gallon of water to produce a single almond, and about 80 percent of almonds are grown in California. Almond milk is just one product of almonds, but its production is still substantially hurting efforts to end the drought.

These foods, as well as many others, are popular for being both delicious and good for our bodies. In reality, they are slowly ruining our environment. People should scale back how much Greek yogurt, avocados, quinoa and almond milk they consume soon before the effects of these products causes significant damage.

Robin is a freshman at Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached at [email protected]