how much poison can your heart handle before giving out? How about your children? Can their nerves and immune system fight of the requirements of keeping American farms profitable? These are questions I never hope to answer. In the modern era of Instagram, super-sonic airplanes, and machine learning – it’s incredible to me that more than 10,000 PhDs go to work every day trying to make sure they don’t give you too much poison in your daily diet.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs tells us that before anyone can reach their full potential, their lower needs must first be met. The great works of our time and the generations before us would never have been possible had those people been unable to secure the basic needs of food, water, and shelter needed sustain their existence. This is why I find it fundamental to talk about food and water before we can have any conversation about getting people to live a live to their full potential (a personal favorite topic of mine).
More than 130 million people will be born this year (read more). In the developed countries, each of those people will need three to five pounds of food per day over their entire lifetime (read more). If these people live to the projected 90+ years scientists are expecting (read more), we will need 22.1 trillion pounds of food just for 2017 babies. To put that in perspective, the estimated weight of all the buildings in Manhattan is 236 billion pounds (read more). Yes, you are reading that correctly. At current population growth rates and average food consumption rates, just to feed kids born over the next four days will require the world to produce amount of food equal (by weight) to all the buildings in Manhattan (New York City).
“to feed kids born over the next four days will require the world to produce an amount of food equal (by weight) to all the buildings in Manhattan”
Pesticides are terrifying because we as humans are biologically unable think of food as optional. This is not a luxury good we can do without. The average human can only survive a few weeks without food (read more). Most of us will never go more than a day. When I try to talk to people about pesticides “poisoning our food,” I’m usually met with some mix of shock and complete dismissal. It’s as if people psychologically can’t or won’t accept that many of the foods we eat are covered in a trace amount of poison that is affecting our bodies in ways that scientists still do not fully understand.
- The World Health organization estimates at least 220,000 deaths per year from pesticides.
- Pesticide exposure can cause a range of neurological health effects such as memory loss, loss of coordination, reduced speed of response to stimuli, reduced visual ability, altered or uncontrollable mood and general behavior, and reduced motor skills.
- Other health effects include asthma, allergies, and hypersensitivity, and pesticide exposure is also linked with cancer, hormone disruption, and problems with reproduction and fetal development.
- According to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, 9 of the 12 most dangerous and persistent organic chemicals are organochlorine pesticides
*If you are interested in this topic an want to learn more. Here is a group I found very useful in my own research, The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
How to we grow enough food to feed the human race without using them?
We grow food indoors – vertically. This brilliant idea, backed by some of the best and brightest this world has to offer, proposes that you can grow food indoors, in volume – safe from bugs, weather, and all the other things that would threaten our supply to clean, sustainable food. Companies like AeroFarms are engineering out pests by controlling crop cycles, humidity, and maintaining cleanrooms.
In addition to eliminating pesticides, they are reducing water consumption, reducing the carbon footprint, and providing resiliency to environmental events like the seasonal flooding in California (read more). Some are calling this type of food “post organic” because traditional growing material is not even needed anymore.
The best part is, from what I’ve seen, these business models are finally starting to break even. Just like we are seeing with solar energy – now the clean choice is also finally also the affordable one. If you’re interested in helping me solve this problem, I’d recommend you grab a Click n’ Grow starter-kit, or if you are feeling really inspired, a Tower Garden, so we can get started creating the world that should be. For those business minded, keep an eye on AeroFarms and be sure to reach out to Agritecture Consulting as they help lead us to the world of tomorrow.
See you on the other side.