Are we killing the environment or is it killing us? When we look at what we eat and how we grow it, we find extensive evidence for damage both to our food (from pollution and soil depletion) and to our environment (from the toxicity of growing foods industrially).
How does our diet impact our environment?
Americans demand cheap food, so American agricultural policy for the past 30 years has focused on providing large amounts of inexpensive calories. Two of the cheapest sources of calories are corn and soy, which the federal government has long subsidized and which make up a large percentage of our caloric intake today (often in the form of high fructose corn syrup or soybean oil). Corn is also a large part of the diet of the animals we eat.
Corn and soy are prized because they can be efficiently grown on vast farms. But growing just one crop consistently (a monoculture) depletes the soil and forces farmers to use greater amounts of pesticides and fertilizers.
The effects of pesticides and fertilizers on natural wildlife and our water supply is well-documented. Currently, the "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico, where no fish or other animals can live, has grown to 8,543 square miles, the size of New Jersey. This is due to chemicals in the Mississippi River, particularly fertilizers, as it flows into the Gulf.