An organic lifestyle is an increasingly important option for those with an ethical conscience. By growing your food organically, and buying organic food and products (such as shampoo and conditioner) you will help reduce the impact you have on the environment, improve animal welfare and preserve precious ecosystems as a result.
Crops that are grown organically work with nature to produce a good crop. The soil is fed with organic matter, such a well-rotted manure or homemade compost to provide the plants with the nutrients they need to grow. Wildflowers are grown nearby to encourage natural predators to eat the pests, which feed on the crops. The resulting ecosystem lets nature do all the hard work; providing the checks and balances that keep pest numbers under control, while providing food for wildlife and a decent crop.
Commercially grown fruit and vegetables are subject to unnatural growing conditions, where they are fed and sprayed with chemical fertilisers to produce maximum yields. Over time, the chemical fertilisers destroy the soil’s humus content, reducing its fertility. The chemicals also leach into local rivers and cause havoc for the wildlife that live in them. The chemicals also get into the water table that provides us with water. What’s more, fruit and vegetables forced to grow faster and bigger than they would naturally taste inferior to organically grown crops. They also contain fewer nutrients.
Commercially grown crops are also sprayed with chemical pesticides to kill pests that feed on the crops. In doing so, the pesticides kill all insects, including bees and ladybirds. The pesticides can leave residues on flowers growing nearby, which prevent bees and butterflies from being able to gather food and nectar from them.
What’s more, wildlife that depends on insects as a staple food source are affected by non-organic growing methods. The fewer the insects there are to eat, the fewer birds and bats there are. Bats are already endangered – by simply eating organic bread and pasta, you are helping ensure there is more food around for them.
Organic meat is reared to much higher standards than non-organic meat. The animals live in smaller groups, giving them more space. They are fed with organic food and let out to pasture more often. Because the animals are healthier and happier as a result of the better living standards, they are less susceptible to infection. As a result, they are not given antibiotics to prevent them from getting ill.
Industrially raised animals are often fed with the by-products of the meat industry, even vegetarians, such as cows. They are kept in cramped conditions, often never feeling the earth beneath their feet or seeing the sky. This stresses them, making them more susceptible to infection and more likely to be aggressive to each other. Many animals and birds reared in such conditions are not able to live as they evolved to; for example ducks are rarely provided with water to splash about in.
By growing as much as you can and buying organic fruit and vegetables, pasta, milk, meat and fish, you are helping to support the planet’s natural ecosystems. You are also ensuring a higher standard of living for animals reared as livestock, and helping provide more food for wildlife. What’s more, organic food tastes better, and is better for you.