Almond milk, although positioned as an eco-friendly alternative to cow's milk, gets a lot of flak for being bad for the environment. Almond trees are notorious water guzzlers—bad news for drought-stricken California, the source of most of these thirsty seeds (often falsely labeled as tree nuts for the sake of allergic labeling). What's more, they're often treated with pesticides thatthreaten honeybee health。
2018年，杏仁牛奶的全球市场规模估计超过50亿美元。据国际市场情报机构Mintel称，杏仁牛奶占美国非乳脂市场份额的64％，而大豆和椰奶分别占13％和12％。While it's still touted as a more sustainable choice than dairy milk, the beloved beverage's footprint is becoming increasingly detrimental to the perpetually parched state of California.
The Water Footprint of Almonds
One of the most harmful and well-known perils of almond farming is the copious amounts of water it requires. Just one seed needs a reported 1.1 gallons to reach milk-level maturity, and nearly 2,000 gallons are needed to grow a pound.Because almond milk is mostly water, there are only a few servings of almonds in each glass.
核桃，榛子和开心果等受欢迎的农作物饮酒（有时甚至更多），但杏仁行业也受到了更多的批评，因为杏仁需求较高。2019年，杏仁作物为美国经济的现金高是开心果的三倍，是核桃的四倍，是榛子的72倍。Peanut consumption, on the other hand, far outweighs almond consumption in the U.S.—2.26 pounds per capita versus 7.6 pounds per capita—but peanuts need less water to grow, about 4.7 gallons per ounce (with an ounce containing about 35 shelled peanuts).
To put almonds' water consumption further into perspective, one orange requires 13 gallons of water, a cup of coffee 35 gallons, one potato 100 gallons, a glass of dairy milk 48 gallons, and a half cup of tofu 61 gallons. One quarter-pound hamburger alone is the equivalent of 460 gallons of H2O.
Still, almond milk requires more water than any of the otherdairy alternatives。
Almonds and the California Drought
加利福尼亚不仅是地球上最大的杏仁出口商，而且还是美国60亿美元杏仁行业的唯一来源。The trees that produce these seeds cover more than 1.5 million acres of the Central Valley.While there isn't firm data that points to the almond industry as a culprit inCalifornia's prolonged drought, the consequences of farmers' growing thirst for groundwater are apparent. The Central Valley, the state's agricultural hub, has been gradually sinking (up to 28 feet in total) since the 1920s because water from millennia-old underground aquifers is being pumped faster than it can be recharged.
Impact of Pesticide Use
A myriad of harmful chemicals is sprayed on almond orchards throughout the year to prevent invasions from ants, mites, leafrollers, and the voracious peach twig borer—a major almond tree enemy.喷洒了另一批囊肿以管理杂草和疾病。
According to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, almond orchards were treated with more pesticides than any other local crop in 2017.该地区喷洒了超过3400万磅的“活性成分”，比四年前增加了15％。同年,杏仁acreage treated with insecticides had increased by 5%, treated with herbicides increased by 6%, and treated with fungicides increased by 12%.
One of the top five insecticides used, methoxyfenozide, is toxic to bees.加利福尼亚大学的综合害虫管理指南说，不允许其他两个人，叶芬林和阿乳蛋白，因为它们的蜜蜂毒性而“漂移到开花的植物”。
Because almond trees are particularly susceptible to bloom and foliar diseases, they are often sprayed when they are in bloom.这种常见的做法对蜜蜂极为有害，蜜蜂有160万个殖民地，每个殖民地都会在每个花朵季节转移到中部加利福尼亚。The U.S. Department of Agriculture considers these essential workers livestock because of their key role in pollinating 75% of all food crops. But millions of them die every year from pesticide exposure, diseases, and habitat loss.
Honeybee colonies—particularly those of the Western honeybee—have been on the decline since 2006, but commercial beekeepers reported a record loss during the winter of 2018-2019.Fifty billion bees, more than a third of the U.S.'s commercial colonies, died.Large-scale industrial agriculture and pesticide exposure were blamed for the massive die-off. To pollinate almond orchards, honeybees must wake from their winter dormancy up to two months earlier than they would wake naturally, which puts added stress on the increasingly fragile invertebrates.
Pollution From Fertilizer
加利福尼亚中部剩下的地下水不仅受到杏仁果园灌溉的提取，而且威胁化肥污染, which can spike drinking water with hazardous nitrate throughout the entire state. Unlike other crops, the deciduous almond tree needs an abundance of nitrogen to renew and invigorate fruiting wood.这种化学元素与生产直接相关，在果园环境中，树木通常通过肥料接收。vwin徳赢
使用富含氮的肥料的使用可以用有毒化合物污染土壤和地下水，如果大量食用，可以降低血管并降低血压。High levels of nitrate in drinking water (i.e., over the Environmental Protection Agency's standard of 10 milligrams per liter) are especially dangerous for infants and pregnant women.It can also poison livestock and wildlife because it has no noticeable taste or smell.
To make matters worse, almond trees drop their leaves annually, and all the nitrogen stored in that organic material can be leached into soil and groundwater—especially if it's hit with a sudden shower.
Overall, the production of almond milk emits less greenhouse gas (.3 pounds per glass) than the production ofoat milk(。(4磅),大豆牛奶。44磅),牛奶和米饭(。53), taking into account farming, transportation, packing, and processing.It generates about four times fewer emissions than dairy milk.
The good news is that almond trees can store carbon dioxide as they grow. The bad news is that almonds sold in the U.S. are generally grown in California, whereas other crops, such as dairy and oats, have a wider distribution and can be sourced more locally.
Blue Diamond's Almond Breeze is the leading almond milk brand in the U.S., generating $80 million more in sales than the second largest, Danone (producer of Silk).Blue Diamond uses HP Hood, a nationaldairycompany based in Massachusetts, to manufacture its almond milk, and while the company does operate a factory just for shelf-stable fluids in California, past incidents of cow's milk contamination in refrigerated Vanilla Almond Breeze suggest some of Blue Diamond's popular almond-based beverages are manufactured in its New England facilities, alongside dairy products. That would mean the seeds travel 3,000 miles from the Central Valley to the opposite end of the country—a distance that would cost the average car about 2,350 pounds of CO2 emissions, based on EPA estimates—then across the countryagainfor distribution.
In addition to the emissions generated from transporting almonds to the milk processing facility and to retailers around the country, those generated from hauling 1.6 million honeybee colonies on tractor-trailers should also be considered. The state employs 60% of all the managed honeybee hives in the country just for almond pollinating each winter.现在，将传粉媒介借给这种有利可图的作物，占养蜂人的平均收入的一半。
The bees travel from coast to coast, pollinating whatever is in season: Washington's cherry orchards in spring, Florida oranges and Michigan blueberries in the summer, and about 90 other crops.Then, they overwinter in the warmest parts of the country—Texas, Florida, or California—and embark on their human-assisted migration of crop pollination again by Valentine's Day. While the process is essential to modern-day food production, it's been criticized for putting immense stress on the bees, which would normally spend the winter resting if they were in nature.
It also has a tremendous effect on the environment, as the transportation sector is now the top domestic greenhouse gas emitter.Ironically, farming practices associated with renewable biofuel crops that could reduce the impact of transporting managed bee colonies could actually pose a health risk to the bees.
Tips for Reducing Your Milk Footprint
Americans are drinking 20% less dairy milk today than they were in 2010.While the shift to plant-based alternatives bodes well for the environment, drinking milk, in general, is impactful—especially if the milk you're drinking comes from a cow. Here are some tips for being an eco-friendlier milk consumer.
- Purchase non-GMO and USDA-certified organic almonds and almond milk whenever possible to reduce the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers.
- 寻找B Corp认证，以确保产品符合可持续性和透明度的最高标准。
- Purchase milk that is packaged in可持续采购和可回收材料。Note that Tetra Paks can be recycled, but not typically via your average curbside service.
- Consider buying shelf-stable milk to conserve energy from refrigeration.
- Make your own almond milk from organic almonds (bonus points for buying them in bulk to evade plastic waste) when possible.
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