INCOMING FOOD ENERGY - The average rate of energy capture by photosynthesis globally is approximately 130 terawatts, which is about three times the current power consumption of human civilization. Plants usually convert light into chemical energy with a photosynthetic efficiency of 3Ė6%. It is estimated that between 50% and 85% of the world's oxygen is produced via phytoplankton photosynthesis. Photosynthetic organisms also convert around 100Ė115 thousand million metric tonnes of carbon into biomass per year.

All life on earth begins with the conversion of sunlight into chemical energy as carbohydrates, such as sugars. This process is called photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the first stage of any food chain be it on land or in the sea.


At every successive stage of any food chain, potential energy for life is lost as one animal absorbs the other. By the time animal protein reaches our tables as meat or fish the theoretical 130 terawatts (trillion watts) we started with for all life on earth is significantly reduced.


Like it or not we are all part of a food chain. Our food footprint is lowered by eating food that originates further down the food chain. It is argued that vegetarians eat more sustainably than habitual omnivores, as do vegans and pescetarians.




Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. A follower of the diet or the philosophy is known as a vegan. Distinctions may be made between several categories of veganism. Dietary vegans (or strict vegetarians) refrain from consuming animal products, not only meat but also eggs, dairy products and other animal-derived substances. The term ethical vegan is often applied to those who not only follow a vegan diet but extend the philosophy into other areas of their lives, and oppose the use of animals for any purpose. Another term is environmental veganism, which refers to the avoidance of animal products on the premise that the industrial farming of animals is environmentally damaging and unsustainable.

Some reviews have shown that some people who eat vegan diets have less chronic disease, including heart disease, than people who do not follow a restrictive diet. They are regarded as appropriate for all stages of life including during infancy and pregnancy by the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the British Dietetic Association. The German Society for Nutrition does not recommend vegan diets for children or adolescents, or during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Vegan diets tend to be higher in dietary fiber, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and phytochemicals; and lower in dietary energy, saturated fat, cholesterol, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12. Unbalanced vegan diets may lead to nutritional deficiencies that nullify any beneficial effects and may cause serious health issues. Some of these deficiencies can only be prevented through the choice of fortified foods or the regular intake of dietary supplements. Vitamin B12 supplementation is especially important because its deficiency causes blood disorders and potentially irreversible neurological damage.

Donald Watson coined the term vegan in 1944 when he co-founded the Vegan Society in England. At first he used it to mean "non-dairy vegetarian", but from 1951 the Society defined it as "the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals". Interest in veganism increased in the 2010s, especially in the latter half. More vegan stores opened and vegan options became increasingly available in supermarkets and restaurants in many countries.


Any degree of reduction of animal produce in your diet is sure to make you healthier, while at the same time helping to feed those around the world who are not so fortunate in being able to choose what they eat. In health terms alone it pays to think about ways of reducing your food footprint.





A food chain is a linear network of links in a food web starting from producer or Primary organisms (such as grass or trees on land, and phytoplankton in the sea, which use the radiation from the sun to make their food) and ending at apex or Predator species (like grizzly bears or killer whales), detritivores (like earthworms or woodlice), or decomposer species (such as fungi or bacteria) that reduce Predator and Primary organisms to earth to give us a (sustainable) life cycle.


A food chain also shows how the organisms are related with each other by the food they eat. Each level of a food chain represents a different trophic level. A food chain differs from a food web, because the complex network of different animals' feeding relations are aggregated and the chain only follows a direct, linear pathway of one animal at a time.




VEGANZ - A food cabinet in Berlin that stocks mock meats. Most people would consider changing their diet if they could enjoy a meat taste at a realistic price.





If producer organisms are able to ingest toxins or plastics or microplastics laden with carcinogenic toxins, when they are eaten by the next predator up the line, those contaminants are stored in their bodies for the next predator in the chain, until finally the top of the food consumption pyramid is poisoned by the accumulation. Vegans and vegetarians are thus less likely to be contaminated by accumulated toxins than omnivores.


Being at the top of the food chain and the major consumer of all flora and fauna on the planet, man is likely to suffer the most from contamination of his primary food sources. Ironically, man is the most dirty animal on the planet, fouling his patch with chemicals and plastic and dumping them in our rivers and oceans where these pollutants enter the food chain to come back and haunt the human race.


Such practices are not United Nations sustainable and not compatible with a circular economy.







Humpback wales are dying from plastic pollution


TOP OF THE WORLD - Large filter feeders like this humpback whale are at the top of their food chain and so entirely reliant on the chain to be free of cancerous toxins or plastic for a healthy life. It's important to remember that when an organism eats itís prey, it only gets a fraction of the energy that the prey has. This is why as we go up the food pyramid, the number of organisms decrease. This is because there isnít enough energy to sustain too many lives. Vegans are helping to keep animals that cannot change eating habits alive and well.






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