Is Your Love for Coconut Hurting the Environment?

Dave Pflieger Coconuts Environment

The process of food cultivation and delivery altogether ranks as one of the leading causes of greenhouse gas emissions. Today, the craze over coconuts and all that they offer (milk, oils, water, meat) puts a great burden on the environment. From the cultivation, per se, to the transportation and commodification of coconuts a series of hazardous processes challenges the resilience of the planet.

As coconut is increasingly desired, farmers are forced to partake in monocultural farming, or restricting plots of land to growing one solitary crop. As part of this exploit, they use unnatural fertilizers to expedite growth and cut the number of diverse plant species that are indigenous to the biosphere in order to make room for the desired species. This reduces the flourishing diversity of an area, and reduces it to a perfunctory, monotonous farm.

Coconuts are well liked for their versatility. The oils are featured in cosmetics, the water is a favored source of hydration and replenishment, the meat is a tasty snack, and the milk is a culinary favorite and supports alternative diets for which animal products are not eaten. That being said, the wide use is responsible for its impact on the environment. The fruit often comes from foreign regions—tropical American and Asian areas—and its import requires a great deal of transportation. The Food and Agriculture Organization reported that Indonesia and the Philippines are leading producers of coconut (followed by India, Sri Lanka, and Brazil) whereas China, Malaysia, and the United States are among the leading importers.

One thing One Green Planet suggests is buying organic and fair trade certified products. Both ensure that the land was not exposed to unnatural chemical fertilizers or pesticides. The Fair Trade organization sees to it that fruits are grown safely, and that farmers are properly compensated for their labor. It’s a small step, but it’s one that needs to be taken in an age where so much risks environmental harm.