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Environmental Science Lab - Assignment Example

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I took mango juice from the canteen at tea break on the first day, and a piece of cake on the second day. I skipped lunch on the two days but enjoyed a cup of white tea at 4…
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Environmental Science Lab
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Food and environment In the last two days, I have taken breakfast at home, which included a glass of milk and some cereals. I took mango juice from the canteen at tea break on the first day, and a piece of cake on the second day. I skipped lunch on the two days but enjoyed a cup of white tea at 4 pm. Dinners were rather early and since I love red meat, I cooked it with rice and kept the left over in the fridge, which I consumed on the second day. The eating habits I have adopted have both positive and negative effects on the environment. First, eating animal products such as meat and milk increases carbon emissions in the environment. This is because of production of commercial livestock, and processing of the same, which consumes so many resources and emits carbon.
Secondly, the choice of natural foods, which are grown organically influences the environment positively, and is a good reflection on my health. This is because organic farming practices are designed to reduce pollution from chemicals like herbicides and pesticides, and ensure soil and water preservation. Eating habits, at times ignored may have grave results on the environment. Due to my busy schedule that demands that I spend a lot of time outside home, I balance between eating out and eating from home. However, I find that I mostly eat out during the weekdays when I have to be in town. During the evenings and weekends, I prefer eating at home. 
King Corn
King Corn Movie was a development from two new graduates from Yale University, who decided to trace the roots of the food they had known and used for many years. The movie challenges one to think through the consequences of U.S agricultural policies, our own eating habits and the intersection between the two.
1. Did anything in this film surprise you? Disturb you? Inspire you? 
I am disturbed by how a government can fund production of high fructose corn syrup, which risks the life of its residents.
2. What does it mean for the U.S. that the family farm is giving way to industrial or factory farming? What could reverse that trend? 
Initial bills and policies were meant to keep family farmers on the land without flooding the market with cheap crops. This has been reversed by introduction of rewards for all-output production. For farmers to achieve such output, they need to use heavy machinery on vast lands and huge usage of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, which discourages small farmers interested in any farming. This could be reversed by re-introduction of initial bills that valued quality other than quantity.
3. Ian points out that in his great grandfather’s day, 40-bushel-an-acre harvests were considered excellent. Today that same acre produces 180 bushels. The film suggests that this modern efficiency might be contributing to “overproduction” of food. Do you agree? Is it possible to produce too much? 
I agree that the modern efficiency is contributing to overproduction of foods because artificial chemicals and fertilizers have been used, which leads to such huge production. I do not think that it is possible to produce too much since there is a limit that the soils can be manipulated to produce.
Agriculture Policy
4. Americans now spend a smaller percentage of their income on food than ever before––less than 10% of their disposable income. What are the benefits and drawbacks of having cheap food available? Benefits: One of the benefits is that the rest of the disposable income is diverted to other important matters like industrialisation, infrastructure and other kinds of development.
Drawbacks: First, good nutrition is important for health. Poor feeding habits results in poor health and weakened immune system, which makes the body prone to all kinds of diseases. The U.S government spend so much money in treating terminal diseases caused by high consumption of fast foods. Secondly, a great destruction occurs to the environment in production of such foods. Thisis is due to great usage of fertilizers, and chemicals and over utilization of the soils.
5. Would you be willing to pay more for food that was grown or raised in more healthy ways for people and/or for the environment? Why or why not? 
6. Yes, because in this way, I will be protecting my body against diseases and protecting the environment.
Do you currently purchase foods that are locally produced or organic, even though they are more expensive than food produced using commercial farming methods? Why or why not? 
I normally purchase foods that are local or organically produced targeting the higher nutritional value in them. I also do this to avoid the chemicals present in conventionally grown foods.
Health Issues
1. Imagine that you are part of a public health task force. How would you respond to the following facts from the film: 
• 70% of the antibiotics used in the U.S. are consumed by livestock. 
• An average steak from a feedlot-raised cow contains as much as nine grams of saturated fat. A comparable steak from grass-fed cow might have 1.3 grams of saturated fat. 
I would raise an alarm of the risk of diseases awaiting the country because of consumption of such animal products even if not visible at the present.
2. The filmmakers suggest that current farm practices and policies are not producing healthy food for American consumers. If that is the case, who is responsible to change the system? Consider the responsibility of the following: consumers, farmers, policy makers or legislators, food companies, food retailers and health professionals. 
What might individuals in each of these groups do to ensure a healthy, adequate and dependable food supply? 
• Consumers: Only consume locally and organically produced foods. 
• Farmers: Love the environment and take care of it using proper farming techniques.
• Policy makers or legislators: Stop rewarding faulty farming mechanisms and reward the proper ones.
• Food companies: Devise ways of cleaning the fats and chemicals from livestock and plants produce but eventually start processing and preservation of locally and organically produced foods.
• Food retailers and health professionals: Retailers should advocate for the local foods and stock it in bulk, while health professionals should teach on the advantages of consumption of local foods. Read More
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