The Avocado Fruit, also known as 'Green Gold', is an infamous 'super food' being sought after by many globally. However, the environment in Mexico is facing dire consequences due to it.
Avocado: The magical green fruit loved by celebrities, doctors, influencers, athletes, etc. for all the health properties packed within the soft butter-like fruit. Loaded with healthy fats, dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals like Magnesium, Folate and Potassium, it seems like this fruit has been gifted to us, straight from the Gods.
A versatile fruit indeed, the pulp of this fruit when ripe is soft, creamy, bright green, has a slight after taste of butter and can be used anywhere, from salads to sauces. The good news is that as people globally become more conscious about their health, the consumption of avocados is rising but the bad news is that this fruit is not as environmentally friendly as we think. Avocado plantations are pushing Mexico’s environment onto the brink of severe destruction.
Avocado Farms require massive amounts of water to grow.
Mexico is the world’s top producer of avocados with the state of Michoacán being the leading producer of Avocados in Mexico. It’s estimated that annually, 11 billion pounds of avocados are consumed around the world. Michoacán produces 8 out of 10 of the Mexican variant of avocados and 5 out of 10 of the avocado variants globally. The state is heavily reliant on Avocado farming that it has farms equivalent to 196K football fields and is still growing. The economy produced from the ‘green gold’ is around $2.5 billion from sales annually and is a vital part of Mexico’s economy
Avocados require lots of water to grow. The amount of water consumed in Michoacán’s Avocado farms is equivalent to 3,800 Olympic sized swimming pools or 9.5 billion litres of water every day! But Mexico being such a tiny nation and surrounded by oceans on two of its sides, how does it manage to collect so much of salt-free water?
The answer is through underground water residing underneath the nation. An aquifer is a layer consisting of permeable rocks, rock fractures or unconsolidated materials which holds immense amounts of water underground. This layer can be accessed with ground wells, tube wells and water systems to pump out massive amounts of water. The aquifer layer, lies below the water table.
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Mexico is exploiting their underground water resources and is thus facing consequences like frequent earthquakes.
The amount at which Mexico has exploited their groundwater resources has led to caves being formed underground. Any structures with holes in it are bound to have disasters and this what experts feel too. The amount of caves created due to the massive pumping of amounts of water caused around 3000 minor earthquakes around the nation.
Apart from having a perforated underground layer, Mexico simultaneously faces another problem- Deforestation. Many regions of forests are being burned for setting up more avocado farms as their demand rises. This has led to several of Mexico’s wildlife to lose their homes and is thus pushing the endemic flora and fauna to battle survival problems like extinction.
This is doing nothing but provide momentum to the already wide-spread Climate Change. Apart from this, the ever-increasing demand for Mexican Avocados, especially from the US has caused Mexicans to pay a price for their needs. The Superbowl, which the US’ annual American Football Championship League, takes place on the first Sunday in February every year. This calls for traditional Superbowl snacks out of which Avocados are extensively used to prepare Guacamole. This day amazingly contributes to approximately 7 per cent of the annual Avocado consumption!
It’s disheartening to see that as the whole world enjoys the health benefits of Avocados, Mexico has to sit and pay a hefty price for it, which is not only against the actions of controlling the climate, but also an infringement on its citizens. The damage so far only considers the environmental impacts and not the additional crimes of murder and human exploitation caused by ‘Avocado Mafias’.
The solution to solve Mexico's climate crisis is by providing proof of how environmentally friendly their avocadoes are.
So how do they plan on saving the beautiful nation from the clutches of self-destruction? Environmentalists globally now demand a certificate from the avocado farms which state these avocados have been grown and harvested sustainably, without causing any damage to the environment.
They also plead to Mexico’s Government to bring a reformation in its laws and severely punish anyone who burns away forests, for the production of Avocados. This is one of the solutions, but how does one bring a major change on a personal level? Well, one can do that by knowing what they serve on their plate.
The sudden boom in Avocado consumption is being related to the rise of veganism as a way to battle Climate Change and save the environment. Being such a versatile and healthy fruit, it’s being promoted as a way to replace several non-environment friendly options. However, many consumers have no idea about the dark consequences caused by Avocado farming. This somewhere goes against most Vegans’ goal of saving the environment as this fruit is causing an opposite effect due to reckless cultivation. However, Vegans aren’t solely to be blamed as Avocados are consumed irrespective of one’s dietary preferences.
So if you are an avid consumer of avocados, how do you prevent the grim aftermath? It’s simple. You can reduce your consumption of avocados and switch to local options. The good news is that Avocados are not the only super food out there and there and there are much more plant-based friendly and environment-friendly options which will fulfil your nutritional requirements. If you’re lucky enough to reside in a suitable climate, then you can try and grow your own avocado tree which goes a very long way in preserving the environment.
However, if none of the options work and Mexico still cannot find a way to tackle this issue, it looks like the Guacamole and Avocado toast need to say goodbye from our plates. The global environment is intricately connected. An imbalance anywhere will cause a problem everywhere. Because today, it’s Mexico but tomorrow, it could be your nation.