- The Audubon Society reported that the Earth could feed 10 billion people who eat as citizens of India do, 5 billion who eat like Italians, but only 2.5 billion who eat like Americans.
- We’re using 33 times more pesticides than we were 50 years ago.
- The Consumers’ Union, which produces Consumer Reports, found that 77 percent of conventionally grown produce samples had pesticide residues.
- Seventy percent of the strawberries tested by the FDA in 1995 had chemical residues—of 30 different pesticides! The typical apple has had four different pesticides applied to it, and some have had as many as 10.
- Researchers at the University of Washington Department of Environmental Health took urine samples of 110 children to measure their exposure to pesticides, and only one child had no measurable level of pesticide metabolites. The difference: That child’s parents bought exclusively organic produce and used absolutely no pesticides at home.
- Even though use of the riskiest pesticides is waning, they still account for more than 40 percent of those used in U.S. agriculture according to the U.S. General Accounting Office.
- Chemical pesticide use continues to rise – reaching 940 million pounds in 2000 – even as the area of treated cropland decreases.
Food Transportation & Energy Use
- In the United States, food travels an average of 1,300 miles to reach you.
- 25% of all trucks on California highways are transporting food.
- We use so much machinery, pesticides, irrigation, processing, and transportation that for every calorie that comes to the table, 10 calories or energy have been expended.
- In 1950, world meat production per capita was about 38 pounds per person. In 1998, it was 80 pounds, more than doubling in the past half century.
- In 1900, 10 percent of the World’s grain went to animals. By the late 1990s that figure was 45 percent and in the United States it was 60 percent.
- More than a third of all raw materials and fossil fuels consumed in the United States are used in animal production.
- 64% of U.S. agricultural land goes to grow livestock feed, and half of U.S. water goes to livestock.
- 60-70% of world’s fish catch goes to feed livestock.
- It takes 7-8 pounds of grain to produce one pound of live weight in a cow in a feedlot – and only half of that is edible.
- Compared to pasta, beef creates 20 times the amount of land-use alteration, 17 times the water pollution from waste, 5 times the toxic water pollution from chemicals, and 3 times the greenhouse gas emissions.
- A pound of wheat can be grown with 60 pounds of water, whereas a pound of meat requires 2,500 to 6,000 pounds.
- Food animals produce 13 times the amount of waste produced by humans.
- 70% of antibiotics made in the U.S. go to livestock because the animals are so crowded they’re vulnerable to disease and infection.
- Producing a single hamburger patty uses enough fuel to drive twenty miles.
- You’d save more water by not eating a single pound of California beef than you would by not showering for an entire year (John Robbins – The Food Revolution)
- According to fitness and health advocate Harvey Diamond, if Americans reduced their meat consumption by 10 percent (less than one meatless day per week), we could feed 60 million people on the saved grain, and would also save annually: 1.5 trillion gallons of water, 500 billion gallons of manure which would not be produced, 2.3 billion gallons of fossil fuels, 12 million tons of grain, 700 million tons of soil, 128 million acres of land we could use for something else, 25 million acres of trees, and 600 million animals saved from slaughter.
- There are 20 billion head of livestock taking up space on Earth, more than triple the number of people.
- 6 billion farm animals are killed for meat in the U.S. annually. 16 million animals are killed every day.
- Each dairy cow produces up to 22 tons of waste a year.
- 1600 dairies in California’s Central Valley produce more waste than a city of 21 million.
- Biological diversity is being lost around the planet at an alarming rate and our food choices have been shrinking for decades.
- Example: at the turn of the century, Americans grew 7,000 named apple varieties; only 10 percent of those are available today. Since 1900, 6,000 apple varieties and 2,300 pear varieties have become extinct.
- Three quarters of the world’s food now comes from seven crops – wheat, rice, corn, potato, barley, cassava, and sorghum.
- In this country, 90 percent of our eggs come from White Leghorn chickens, 70 percent of dairy cows are Holsteins, and 96 percent of peas are from two varieties.