The “Coconut Famine” is a thing of the future
Coconuts have recently been converted into commodities, where its products are used daily without many noticing its devastating effects on the soil due to monocultural agriculture.
Recently I have notice more and more the presence of coconut products on shelves at the small grocery store where I spend my afternoons working. As it is not my favorite place to be, nevertheless I happily greet the customers that do swing by. Lotions, oils, waters, and even shampoos all made from coconut have splurged in like there is no tomorrow. Unfortunately from time to time items are missed handled, dropped, spilled and thrown away before they reach the customer’s hands. Customers want the “best deal at the best price,” even if that means sucking out every last nutrient out of the soil.
Coconuts are amazing, and that is why many people have gone insane for its products. Its multi-use and effectiveness are great, but the costs associated to the planet leave it far from being a sustainable choice for our daily consumption.
Considering that coconuts are native to southeast Asia and with demand increasing, it is no surprise that transportation costs’ to the environment are quickly adding up. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase and with many people relying on fruits such as coconuts, these fruits require immense care and transportation. Packaging also serves to create a longer shelf live, as coconuts products may not last long without it. Not only is transportation a cost, but the fancy packaging that comes with it which appeals to customers also creates more trash on top of the trash we already have.
Monoculture is the key issue in today’s world and is greatly ignored by cooperations and capitalists who measure success by the means of production. Monoculture meaning “the tilling of land for a single crop,” in other words, its purpose is to maximize output and minimize cost. Cost can be defined as many things but in this instance cost measure the amount of money needed in order to achieve the greatest profit. The problem with monocultures is that it produces everything we consume. The future of our food is at stake due to the monoculture agriculture without many people realizing it. One may ask if growing a single crop in their home is considered monoculture or how many times does one need to grow the same crop to be classified as monoculture. The word is used more often than necessary and is less used by those who practice monoculture agriculture. In “Monocultures of the Mind”, Vandana Shiva examines a battle between Biodiveristy and Monoculture in which both are unable to work together. Forest goods are transformed into commodities ultimately adding to the problem of monoculture.
The tropical forests, when modelled on the factory and used as a timber mine, become a non-renewable resource. Tropical peoples also become a dispensable and historical waste. ln place of cultural and biological pluralism, the factory produces non-sustainable monocultures in nature and society.
Coconuts are not alone in the world of monoculture agriculture. In 1846 The Irish Famine was caused due to the lack of variation of potatoes which led to the starvation of Ireland’s population. Potatoes became the key source of food for the poor, slaves, and servants but when the disease was introduced all crops were immediately affected. The production of coconuts like potatoes in 1846 have the ability to suffer from pesticides that can harm farms and plots filled with coconuts. While harming a few acres of coconuts may not seem like a major loss or a step toward starvation, it is a enormous loss for the soil in which is has drained nutrients from.
It is important as Shiva also points out, that without alteration of crops, yes the yields are higher, but the return of nutrients to the soil is less. The control of capitalist have empowered many companies to continue selling, “growing,” and marketing their products and very few regulations have been placed in order to prevent that. The food industries to continue to control agriculture to meet their needs and budget. Seeds, transportation, fertilizers are all in the hands of cooperations who continue to abuse the power granted to them.What is left to do when walking in the “produce area” is nothing but perfect modified fruits and vegetables.
Monocultures are real but are given very little to no attention. It goes further than coconuts, further than potatoes and nature offers a variety of supplements, resources and food for everyday use. Coconuts like other products offer great conventional ways to cook, live, and consume but at a cost to our planet. It is time people take charge all around the world and hop onto the train to conserve the few resources that are left for us to utilize.