Addicted to consumption – Is the producer guilty of ravaging the earth? – Food log

Dutch farmers make more milk than the Dutch consume themselves. Comes in the form of milk, yogurt, powder and cheese two-thirds of production across borders. Also broilers, pigs, eggs, potatoes and sugar go abroad in comparable volumes. The accusation that we farmers for export is true. And that indeed costs nature that we converted many centuries ago into fertile soil. For a number of product groups that we consume in the Netherlands, we can therefore manage with fewer animals and production. This reduces local emissions and pressure on nature.

We are addicted to consumption. Is that the manufacturer’s fault? It’s me whoever you mean by that – the farmer, BMW, Ikea or the digital shopping center Amazon

The Netherlands has 1.81 million hectares of agricultural land (in 1980 this was still 2.02 million), 56% of all land in our country. We use 0.8 million hectares of this for our own consumption. In addition, we use 2.5 million hectares of foreign farmland on which beef, grain, wine, coffee, tea, bananas, oranges and other fruits are produced. We eat half of that import ourselves; we export the others again, largely to the European hinterland. Without realizing it, we eat about 2 million hectares for our own food. With our own 1.8 million we actually fall short in the Netherlands.

With those words I don’t want to be just another farmer who claims that we are actually food importers. I’m trying to get the numbers together and move on. Besides eating and drinking, we drive and fly around the world, buy clothes, heat our houses, use electricity, wood and other raw materials. You can relate all those consumer pleasures to CO2-emissions that you can compensate via hectares of forest as is usual when calculating your ecological footprint.

The Dutch appear to need the most hectares of forest for their energy consumption (gas and electricity), government spending, housing, clothing and traffic and transport ( figure 3.5). These four groups, in the order of their impact, each cause more than 2 tons of CO2-equivalents per Dutch resident. Only after those four comes food with only 13% of the emissions.
The total footprint of a Dutch person comes to 4,9 hectare. Globally, however, only 1.63 hectares are available per person. So, as consumers, we leave it wide open.

The idea has taken hold that shrinking agriculture will help the Netherlands solve its contribution to the global climate problem. But if the consumption addiction continues, nothing will change for the better.

Which brings me to 3 questions. Are farmers polluters because they make and export food but can’t even feed the Dutch consumer? Or should we as a society ask ourselves why we withdraw so much land from nature because of our extensive consumption pattern in all areas? We are addicted to consumption. Is that the manufacturer’s fault? To me it’s whoever you mean by that – the farmer, BMW, Ikea or the digital shopping center Amazon.

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Addicted to consumption – Is the producer guilty of ravaging the earth? – Food log

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