Food System – Climate Change

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Our environment is changing. When we consider the state of our environment and the various negative impacts that have taken place over time, particularly those caused by human consumption and fossil fuel emissions. However, changing how one product is produced or farmed can have more of an impact than people realize. Various grains are extremely versatile and used in different systems other than simply for consumption.

The most eye-opening topic of this week was the versatility of corn, not only as part of the food system but its use in other products as well. Different types of corn are grown for different uses. Corn is processed and used in both food and non-food products, meaning various systems (agriculture, energy, transport, etc) rely on corn. Corn is used to make oils, additives, preservatives, and starches as a continuation of the food system. It is also used as animal feed, and the byproduct of animal waste is used in fertilizers to grow more corn. The use of corn in ethanol contributes to various different systems such as paints, solvents, and lacquers for personal and commercial use. Most importantly, corn being used in the creation of ethanol fuel contributes to various other systems. Ethanol is a majority of what is in the gasoline we use to power our personal vehicles, as well as commercial for shipping, travel, and transport. It’s also used as a major energy source.

However useful corn and other staple food resources are to the food system among other uses, the way our food system functions is devastating to the environment. Our current agricultural practices harm the earth around us and is incredibly wasteful. Factory farming uses a huge portion of our Earth’s water, and a lot of it is wasted due to inefficient use. The use of various pesticides and additives to encourage crop growth pollute the soil and water. I have added this infographic I made to show the various ways our food system harms the environment!

References for Infographic:

  • “11 Facts About Factory Farms and the Environment.” | Volunteer for Social Change,
  • Chemnitz, Christine, and Shefali Sharma. “2 Ways to Fix Factory Farming.” World Economic Forum, 21 Aug. 2014,
    “Facts and Figures: Leadership and Political Participation.” UN Women, UN Women, July 2017,
  • “Farming: Pollution.” WWF Global, WWF,
    “Farms Waste Much of World’s Water.” Wired, 4 June 2017,
  • “A Major Source of Air Pollution: Farms.” Earth Institute, Columbia University, 16 May 2016,
  • “Meat and the Environment.” Animals Are Not Ours, PETA,
  • Monbiot, George. “I Was Wrong about Veganism. Let Them Eat Meat (but Farm It Right) | George Monbiot.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 6 Sept. 2010,
  • Monbiot, George. “I Was Wrong about Veganism. Let Them Eat Meat (but Farm It Right) | George Monbiot.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 6 Sept. 2010,
  • Walsh, Bryan. “The Triple Whopper Environmental Impact of Global Meat Production.” Time, Time, 16 Dec. 2013,

Image References for Infographic

  • “Factory Animal Farming.” The Case Against Factory Farming, Quillette, 17 Aug. 2017,
  • “Industrial Agriculture.” Union of Concerned Scientists, Union of Concerned Scientists,
  • Moffitt, Derek. “Managing Energy & Lowering Costs with Irrigation.” Water Series: Pt 7 ~ Managing Energy & Lowering Costs with Irrigation ~ Tips from Derek Moffitt, Farmer & Rain Bird Sales Mgr, FarmReach, 20 Mar. 2014,
  • Victor, Thong. “Mother Earth.” Medium,, 18 Jan. 2016,

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