Environmental and Social Impact of Natural Diet
Updated: Sep 20, 2021
Every organism on the planet requires nutrition for its growth and sustenance. Only photosynthetic organisms are capable of creating food - for themselves as well as for other organisms - using inorganic materials and sunlight.
Adequate nutrition is a basic need as well as a fundamental human right. Food allows us to sustain our life and maintain good health. To be sustainable, the process of growing and consuming food should not affect other organisms and the environment negatively.
While every organism is programmed to obtain nutrition from its natural diet, humans have evolved from being dependent upon hunting and gathering to growing food through agriculture. Today most of the world has access to food and a large portion of the human population, especially in the developed world, has a choice of a variety of foods to satisfy its nutritional needs.
If we had no tools, the only food available to us would be fruits, leaves, flowers, roots, seeds, and any creatures we could catch with our bare hands. These would need to be consumed raw as we would have no tools to cook. As we evolved and inhabited different places on the planet, we needed to develop tools and survive seasons when fresh food would not be readily available. As our population grew we needed to and learned to grow our own food through agriculture.
The process of growing, transporting, and cooking food involves energy use, which releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The carbon footprint (harmful impact of carbon dioxide emissions related to the production and consumption) of a vegetarian diet is about half that of a meat-based diet. Natural diet has an even smaller footprint.
Natural, plant-based diet has a beneficial impact on the environment and climate. Large fruit trees provide shade and habitat for birds. Trees also help conserve groundwater.
When demand for fresh fruits goes up, farmers are incentivized to plant fruit trees, which typically provide long-term income for relatively low maintenance. Thus, a natural diet also helps the farmer.
All in all, natural diet is beneficial for both ecology and economy. Let us all resolve to switch to a mostly natural diet at the earliest!