Hi y’all, welcome to a new ‘what I’ve been reading!’ So much good information out on the internet these days…
First up, National Geographic (my love) has an awesome article on The Evolution of Diet. It talks about scientists trying to analyze what the last hunter-gatherer societies on the planet are eating, in order to reconstruct how our diets evolved – and how we could go back to more sustainable eating.
Through the article, as we trace back our ancestors’ diets from hunter-gatherers to the first agriculturalists, some stereotypes – and today’s food fads – are turned on their heads. Take the Paleo diet, for example.
“There’s been a consistent story about hunting defining us and that meat made us human,” says Amanda Henry, a paleobiologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. “Frankly, I think that misses half of the story. They want meat, sure. But what they actually live on is plant foods.”
What’s more, she found starch granules from plants on fossil teeth and stone tools, which suggests humans may have been eating grains, as well as tubers, for at least 100,000 years—long enough to have evolved the ability to tolerate them.
Interesting, right? Furthermore, case studies including cool pics and videos of the diets of several traditional societies – in Greenland, Bolivia, Tanzania, Greece, Afghanistan and Malaysia are interspersed in the article, making it a visual as well as an intellectual pleasure.
Then, continuing the talk about meat, this article on California’s drought draws up some stark facts to consider:
Most people shower every day an average of about seven minutes of hot water with the showerhead flowing out about two gallons of water a minute. The Water Education Foundation calculates that every pound of California beef requires about 2,464 gallons of water to produce. You would save more water just by replacing a pound of beef with plant foods than you would by not showering for six months!
Think about that when you turn off the tap when putting on soap, eh? The article is a good overview in general of what is called ‘hidden water footprints’ – the embodied water you cannot see, but that was definitely used.
This topic is also taken up by the WWF Germany’s new report on The Imported Risk – highlighting the fact that as a major import nation, Germany is reliant on the supplying countries’ water security as well. In particular, it addresses German businesses that are importing intermediate inputs from low-income countries or have subsidiary factories in water-scarce countries. Consider these words by Eberhard Brandes, WWF Germany’s CEO:
Consider any of the 21st century’s major global challenges – climate change, population pressures, political upheaval, food security … a common undercurrent is water. No longer a concern limited to the poor and powerless – water has emerged as an issue that has resonance in boardrooms, corner offices, and the halls of power around the globe.
We have to understand and acknowledge the provision of water for human purposes as a service of nature – provided by ecosystems around the world. Without significant reduction of our footprint, impacts will be severe. These negative repercussions are already hitting the economies and the way we produce, process, and transport our commodities in a globalised market. Due to its strong dependency on the international trade of goods, Germany bears a special responsibility. Therefore, wise and sustainable water solutions have to be on the agenda of every single corporation. For the sake of our planet – and out of economic self-interest of any business.
Wise words! This infographic also gives an overview of the water dependency of some German import products which originate in particularly water-insecure environments, and their associated market values (not to state the obvious, but clockwise it says tomatoes from Spain, clothes from Bangladesh, roses and cut flowers from Kenya and raw materials, metals and ores from South Africa):
What do you think about these links? Informative? Thought-provoking?