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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Another Reason to Eat Organic – It is Essential for Managing Climate Change

Ever since I started eating organic food in 2001, people have asked me – why do you eat organic?

The most common answer that I give is that I don’t want to consume toxic pesticides or GMOs. That seems to resonate with people and they can easily understand it.

Over the last few years, however, my answer has evolved.

Of course, I mention the pesticides, but I also talk about how the chemicals used in conventional agriculture ruin our water supply (94% of our water now contains Atrazine) and sicken farm workers (residents in the farming community of Central Valley, CA are forced to drink bottled water because the tap water has become so contaminated from pesticides).

But now we have another reason to eat organic – because it is an essential tool in fighting climate change.

In an excellent report called Food & Climate: Connecting the Dots, Choosing the Way Forward just released by my friends at The Center for Food Safety, a convincing case is made that food production must be taken into account when confronting global warming.

A few key facts from the report that we need to know:

* In the aggregate, the global food system is responsible for 44-57% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

* Organic agriculture uses 30-50% less fossil fuel energy than industrial farms.

* Organic systems help build fertile soil while conventional farming destroys it. Healthy soil will be essential for achieving global food and water security and mitigating climate change.

How climate change has and is expected to impact our food supply:

* Already in 2014, California, which produces nearly half of the nation’s fruits and vegetables, is experiencing the worst drought in its 153 year history. Many farmers, particularly organic dairy farmers, face financial disaster.

* The 2014 New England shrimp season was cancelled due to low shrimp populations from warming waters and overfishing.

* In 2013, 20,000 cattle froze to death in an unseasonable October blizzard.

* Heavy rains destroyed 20% of the 2013 pecan harvest.

* Droughts and heat waves in 2012 in the U.S. alone affected approximately 80% of agricultural land, causing an estimated $30 billion in damages.

* In 2011, Vermont farmers were forced to destroy $2 million worth of vegetables contaminated by Hurricane Irene floodwaters.

* Alaska’s red king crab fishery could collapse within decades due to ocean acidity caused by carbon pollution.

* 50% of California’s grape-growing areas could become too hot by 2039.

The two main arguments that you always hear about the need for genetically-modified food to feed the world are….

Fallacy #1 — GMOs have much higher yields and are therefore essential, especially given that the world’s population will be 9.5 billion by 2050.

Fact: In its study Failure to Yield, the Union of Concerned Scientists reported that the biotech industry has been carrying out gene field trials to increase yields for 20 years without significant results.

Fallacy #2  — The root of the problem is that there is currently a shortage of food.

Fact: The world today produces more food per capita than ever before. In fact, enough food is produced to provide 4.3 pounds to every person and yet hunger is widespread. This is not a supply problem. This is a political problem.

I strongly encourage you to read Food & Climate: Connecting the Dots, Choosing the Way Forward because it will give you important knowledge (1) to educate others about the need to eat organic food and; (2) to pressure our politicians to embrace organic and agroecological farming systems as a way to deal with climate change.

To read this very important and comprehensive report (PDF), click HERE.

A message from E3Live

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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

5 Questions with Dr. Joel Kahn, Leading Cardiologist and Author of The Plant-Based Solution

Last April, I was in Denver attending the National Organic Standards Board meeting and went to dinner one night at True Food Kitchen.

Sitting at a community table, I struck up a conversation with a woman across from me and she proceeded to tell me that she had recently switched to a vegan diet.

“So, do you know Dr. Joel Kahn? The cardiologist from Detroit,” I asked.

Given that the plant-based world is a tight community and that Dr. Kahn is a social media star, I had a feeling that she might have known him.

“Do I know Dr. Kahn?” she responded with her face completely lit up. “He’s the reason I am a vegan today! Everything he talks about online and in his books convinced me to go plant-based!”

With the release of his excellent new book The Plant-Based Solution, Dr. Joel Kahn is looking to make a similar impact on many more people.

I recently caught up with my friend, and here is what he had to say.

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A message from Tradin Organic

Why Tradin Organic is Prioritizing Regenerative Organic Farming

At Tradin Organic, we believe that regenerative organic farming is key to growing healthy and nutritious food ingredients — for now and for future generations.

And in Sierra Leone, we have grown the world’s first Regenerative Organic Certified cacao.

Learn more.

Living Maxwell

Better Choices

My Water Habits and The Only Water Bottle I Use – A Glass One

As I have written about many times before, I am a water fanatic. I like clean, ultra-purified water and have a four-stage filter (with a .015 micron filter on filter #2) in my apartment.

When I go to work, there is a Poland Spring cooler but I refuse to drink from it. Why?

The water tastes very, very off and is not purified.

So, I bring my own bottles of water to work each day. This may sound crazy to some people but drinking high quality water is essential to staying healthy.

Given that I take so much effort to drink good water, the type of bottle that I use is also of great importance.

I used to drink from a BPA-free plastic bottle. The problem with that is that it is still plastic and is leaching other chemicals into the water.

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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

The 3 Most Important Foods to Eat Organic

For many people, switching to an all-organic diet is simply not practical or possible. And I completely understand this.

So, if a person can’t keep an entirely organic household, what organic foods should they buy?

My Top 3 Most Important Foods to Eat Organic

1) MILK If you have kids, organic milk should be the absolute number one priority for the entire household. Do whatever you need to do to make sure that the children are drinking organic milk.

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livingmaxwell: a guide to organic food & drink