Monday, July 11, 2011
why eat organic?
Yes, it's better for your health. Eating locally and organically, however, also reduces stress on ocean populations of such adorable birds as the Black Skimmer, which I had the privilege of watching on Anna Maria Island yesterday.
How do chemicals applied in Iowa affect birds on Anna Maria Island? Agricultural chemistry makes its way from the bread basket of America, washing from the farms and production centers across the midwest to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Chemistry washes off the land, into the waterways, flowing toward the ocean, collecting in the Gulf and creating a large dead zone. Additionally, local chemistry applied to lawns and gardens in the form of weed killers, bug sprays, fertilizers, boat maintenance and water features, have a much shorter route to travel, washing out from Tampa Bay and environs.
Shorebirds such as the Black Skimmer are sensitive to chemical changes in the environment. They depend on a healthy saltwater population of smaller organisms, especially during nesting season. If their food becomes distressed by agricultural chemistry, and populations of the small ocean animals they eat diminishes, the bird populations will also suffer. Why should that matter?
They're part of the circle -- that continuation of birth and renewal that propels this planet into the future. If their part of the arc is removed, the circle gets lumpy and things don't roll along so smoothly. Nature has connected things effectively and efficiently with minimal waste, and she will accommodate for the changes man makes in her plan. She will continue to do so long after my time, and probably long after oil companies, hedge funds, insurance companies and multinational conglomerates have reaped their last dividends. Her accommodation has some difficult times ahead for humans, however, and we may not like what she's got in store for us if we continue to disregard her distress signals.
Your choice to eat organically, locally, and intelligently has far reaching effects. As a recent transplant from Idaho and Colorado, I am happy to see a growing demand for locavore foods here in the Tampa Bay area and look forward to connecting with those who work to make a difference. The benefits are huge.