When it comes to climate change, one of the biggest threats is deforestation of our environment. Consequently the next two foods on our list are top “problem foods.”
Sugar: According to the WWF, sugar is among the crops most harmful food additives to the planet. It replaces natural habitats rich in animal, plant and insect life. Sugar plantations destroy the most biodiverse environments in the world. Intensive use of water and pesticides, the cultivation of sugarcane also causes erosion. Some soils have been known to lose as much as 40% of its organic carbon content, carbon which is now in the atmosphere and contributing to global warming. Let’s not forget about the health issues such as obesity and diabetes. A lower sugar intake would benefit us all.
Chocolate: This hurts! The cacao tree only grows in certain areas around equatorial forests and it requires a lot of water (2,400 liters of water to make 100 g of chocolate) as well. Resulting in cacao plantations putting a lot of strain on natural ecosystems. In recent years an increase in demand for chocolate has caused prices have rocketed. This has resulted in more and more small-scale producers adopting to planting cacao, abandoning their traditional crops and, above all, destroying the equatorial forests in doing so. And deforestation in these areas like Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Indonesia affects local biodiversity too.
The solution? Avoid industrial chocolate manufacturers and turn to real chocolate craftsmen, manage their bean purchasing closely.