Pollution: it’s an issue we know is impacting our planet. While humans have developed amazing technologies to discover and explore even more of our planet, so much technology has led to the pollution of it. In particular the agriculture industry is a major contributor to pollution, and the chemicals used in conventional farming, such as Monsanto’s Round Up and their ‘miracle chemical’ glyphosate, are gaining attention in how it affects both the earth and humans (there was a fantastic report by Four Corners on Monday night on Monsanto- you can watch it here).
This week a startling report on the impacts of pollution was released by the United Nations scientific panel, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (try saying that three times- IPCC is a little easier). The highlighted changes in climate have caused extreme weather conditions such as drought, impacting industries dependant on predictable weather patterns such as farming.
An estimated 30% of polluting greenhouse gases are attributed to the agriculture industry, much of this from agricultural chemicals including glyphosate. The chemicals used in conventional farming have proven to be dangerous not only to the environment but also to farmers and consumers. More people now have food allergies than 30 years ago, and a report in 2013 linked the symptoms of gluten intolerance with the effects of glyphosate on the human body. The same report also noted the increased risk of sugar cane workers to kidney diseases. Four Corners reported a certain cancer found only in farmers is referred to as ‘farmers lymphoma’. I know what you’re thinking- if we can see just how dangerous chemicals are, why are they still being used so widely?!
Environmental Benefits of Certified Organic Farming
In their report, the IPCC stated pollution emissions must be reduced, and quickly. The IPCC believe the most important changes which need to be made are in energy, land and ecosystems, urban infrastructure and industry. Conventional farming practices include the use of fertilisers and pesticides which cause a reduction of soil fertility, and the food produced with chemicals not only are covered in these chemicals, but also absorb them. Yep, this freaks us out too!
To reduce the pollution created by agriculture, changes need to be made to sustainable consumer diets, reduced food waste (currently supermarkets in Australia throw away 30% of the produce they order!) and responsible sourcing of food. Care for the earth including soil revitalisation and reforestation were also recommended. These are all changes which are made possible through small-scale organic farming, and more people are choosing to go organic to reduce pollution, including our Munch Crunchers!
What Consumers Can Do
It’s great that the organic lifestyle is growing, but what concerns us is the growing number of businesses which claim to be organic but do not provide transparency on how their suppliers maintain organic status. As we have previously written, Certified Organic growers are governed by a third-party body, which in turn abides by international standards of organic farming. Certification means that these organic farmers have been audited by these bodies and are up to standard. Without a certification, consumers can’t be sure that a brand claiming to be organic has truly upheld the standards of organic farming, and are unable to know exactly what is being used in growing their food.
Businesses must be accountable to their consumers and make it clear what their products contains and how it is grown, especially if it is branded ‘organic’. To help consumers when shopping organic, we have a simple checklist:
What are their certifications?
Consumers should ask, is the brand certified? Do they supply information on their policies and procedures? Do they undertake any form of auditing, who is their governing body, and do they make this information accessible to the public?
What is their sustainability policy?
Truly organic practices ensure the health of all concerned- people, land and animals. Ask how the brand ensures their policies and procedures nurture and sustain their community.
How is the brand minimising their impacts on pollution?
Brands need to be aware of the way their practices are contributing to pollution. This includes chemical pollution and plastic waste, and this information should also be made available to consumers.
Pollution has had a drastic impact on the health of our earth, and on our health as humans. Especially concerning is the use of chemicals in agriculture, which has an effect on the land, people, and animals. Businesses which claim they are organic must provide appropriate information on how they maintain their organic status. Consumers have a right to know that when they choose organic, they are buying from a brand which reduces pollution and ensures the health of the whole community. Munch Crunch Organics is proud to be certified by Australian Certified Organic. This means all our produce is completely chemical free, our policies and procedures align with the highest standards of sustainaility, and we operate with a minimal environmental footprint (read more about how we do it here). When you receive a box from Munch Crunch Organics, you can be sure you are receiving the best for you and the planet.