Saturday, September 6, 2014

Changing Habits for the Good of All

A few weeks ago a fellow vendor at the farmers' market told me something that I found disturbing. He said that it takes 1.1 gallons of water to produce one almond. What?! This fact has been at the back of my mind ever since. Although I don't eat a lot of almonds, I do like nuts as a protein source and buy a mixed variety that contains almonds. 

This morning I found this article in my internet feed that reminded me of that fact. Not only does producing almonds take a lot of water, this article points out that California dominates the almond business, producing 82 percent of the world's almonds, a state that is in one of the worst droughts ever - I've even read that it's the worst in over 500 years. In addition, large numbers of honeybees are trucked into the state to pollinate the almonds. (This is because bees cannot live in a monoculture. Once the blossoms are gone, the bees no longer have anything to eat and must be moved elsewhere or die.) Being put on trucks and transported thousands of miles cannot be good for the bees, which are rapidly moving towards the endangered species list.  

So my question is, although almonds are very nutritious, it is ethical for us to continue eating almonds? My answer is no. Despite the health claims surrounding almonds, they are not essential to live and well being. We can get wonderful health benefits from eating food that does not tax the environment so severely and that is found closer to home. Finding an alternative is good for all (except the almond industry, of course).

No comments: