Middle-Class Millennials Student Debt Trouble

Middle-Class Millennials Student Debt Trouble

18.9.2021 | 07:30

Sometimes, I mention to student that I have both professional and personal experiences when teaching about food insecurity. Although it may sound like hunger and food insecurity are one and the same, this is not true. Food insecurity is a technical term that refers to people who can’t afford the food they need or are unable to provide for their families.

Food security is, however, more of an ideal. It means being able access to culturally preferred foods in order to maintain a healthy diet and good health. Here’s my personal view on the grey area between food security or food insecurity, and how student loans debt blurs the lines between low-income and high-income families.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 38.3 millions Americans (11.8% of the population) experienced food insecurity in 2020. As many experts, I think these figures underestimate the severity of the problem. It can be difficult to spot. Middle-class millennials who have a lot of student loans may also struggle to access food. Even though I’m an assistant professor living in a household with two incomes, I don’t think I can afford the food my family needs.

My family is not food insecure, according to the official criteria. Enough food to eat and I have never visited a food pantry. My family’s cheap diet is rich in nutritional value. It includes beans, white potatoes sweet potatoes, carrots and tomatoes as well as milk, eggs, and milk. However, my family’s choices are limited and I feel that we may not be fully food secure.

Living A Budget Friend Lifestyle

For example, I understand the health benefits of eating fresher seafood. It is a good source of protein and high in vitamins and minerals. Tastes great! It can also be very expensive. My local grocery store in central Texas can sell fresh fish for as low as US$15 per pound. This is far more expensive than fresh chicken, pork, and beef. Canned and frozen fish last much longer and are cheaper. Except for a few occasions, I will buy large cans full of chunky tuna and frozen mussels and fish packages. Since price is always a factor, I stock up on vegetarian protein sources like beans, legumes, and tofu.

Fruit is another example. Because of the cost, I don’t buy as much fresh fruit as is recommended by dietary guidelines. Instead, I rely only on seasonal fresh fruits on sale and some dried fruits, like raisins. These are the trade-offs I make when it comes to what my family, consisting of four people, wants and needs.

I track the items I want to purchase based on our food preferences, nutritional value and cultural significance. They are not bought for special occasions or on sale. Although I am aware that my circumstances and compromises may not be the same as those of a family with four children and a low income, certain experiences such as stress and relative deprivation might be similar.

Economic Insecurity Student Of Food

Despite the complexity of the economics behind food insecurity, it is generally more expensive to buy nutritious food than less nutritious food. Low-income families can use a variety of strategies to save money on food in order to eat a healthy diet. They can shop for groceries on a budget, cook at home, prepare meals ahead of time, freeze leftovers, pack lunches for work, and avoid eating out.

My parents live with me and we pay rent to our savings account. One day we will be able to buy a house. About $900 per month covers groceries after paying for housing, utilities and transportation. According to the USDA, almost half of what we spend on food is similar to what happens in low income households. In 2019, households with the lowest, highest, and middle incomes spent approximately 36%, 20%, and 8% respectively on food. It is hard to believe how many Americans could be eligible for government assistance if student loan payments were considered.

Student Grey Area

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service measures insecurity by assessing nationally representative households. One of the questions it asks is.

These are your options:

  • There are enough choices of food that you/we want to eat
  • There are enough, but not all the food that I/we want.
  • Sometimes there is not enough food to go around.
  • Often, there is not enough food to go around.

If asked about food sufficiency, my answer would be without hesitation: We eat enough food, but not the food that I like for my family or myself. We, along with many others on relatively high incomes, don’t meet the criteria for food security. We also don’t have enough resources to be food secure.

College Debt

Millennials, like me, are double-burdened: Our income is not sufficient to receive many government benefits and our needs are very limited due to our student loan repayments. My family was the first to graduate from a four year college, and I was also the first to earn a master’s degree. My career path was not without cost. I now have $133,000 of student loan debt in my 30s. Most of it was accumulated as an undergraduate.

In my twenties, I worked hard to secure a number of fellowships and research jobs in order to complete my doctoral program. All of that hard work helped me realize my career goals and allowed me to stop borrowing so much to pay for my doctorate. It didn’t make it any easier to face the challenges of being an academic first-generation. I have used credit cards to pay for groceries in the past and borrowed money from relatives. While completing my doctorate in nutrition, it was awkward and painful to ask for food assistance.

Monthly Payments For Housing

Others millennial professionals also struggle to make ends meets. Monthly payments for housing and health, as well as transportation and premiums for health insurance, leave little for food. High child care costs are a common problem for parents like mine. It’s not surprising that students loan debt is affecting my generation’s well-being and health.

An average American who has student loan debt pays $393 per month. To keep up with my loans, I spend almost triple that amount. It’s equivalent to a mortgage payment and about one-third my income. When the COVID-19 relief on federal student loan payments expires, my college loan payments will rise in December. Although my husband’s student loan payments are less, it is still a bill we have to pay.

It can be frustrating to feel like the food I want for family is out of reach. However, I realize that we are very fortunate. I am able to cook, shop and prepare delicious meals for my family on a tight budget. Others in this same situation don’t have the resources they need.


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Health And Environmental Costs Of Food Production

Health And Environmental Costs Of Food Production

18.9.2021 | 06:35

Although industrially production food may seem cheap, it is very expensive. Recent estimates show that the hidden costs of our food. System range from US$12 trillion up to US$20 trillion per year. These staggering numbers include the devastating human rights and environmental. Impacts of food and the poor health that is caused by unhealthy eating habits. These costs are approximately twice the economic value of the global agricultural system.

It is difficult to feed eight billion people healthy and sustainable food by 2030. It is crucial to transform food systems that cause tens of trillions in environmental. And health damages, in order to realize human rights.

The planetary environment emergency is driven largely by industrial food production. Global greenhouse gas emissions are between 21 and 37 percent of global food systems. They also account for 70 to 75% of water consumption and 80 to 90% of pollution. Causing marine dead zones and eutrophication.

Aquaculture and agriculture are the main threats to 85 percent of species that are threatened with extinction. 30% of all infectious diseases that are transmitted to humans by wildlife or livestock is caused by deforestation. This includes soy, palm oil, and beef. Food loss and waste are two of the main causes of environmental problems. An estimated 30% of all food is never consumed.

Impacts Skyrocketing Production

The negative environmental effects of food systems are increasing due to rising wealth. Population growth, and the dominance of input intensive industrial agriculture. Synthetic fertilizer usage has risen by more than 800% since 1960. The number of meat products has increased by more than 500 percent. Globally, unhealthy diets are the leading cause of premature death.

There is enough food produce each year to provide sufficient nutrition for all. However, a lot of it is waste, fed to livestock or use to make non-food products like biofuels. Two billion people don’t have adequate access to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food. 700-800 million are suffering from hunger every day. More than 2 billion people are obese or overweight.

High-income and middle-income countries have high levels of animal protein, and an increasing number of nutrient-poor, ultra-processed foods. Obesity, diabetes, and other non-communicable illnesses are all caused by unhealthy diets. Industrial food systems have negative environmental effects and can lead to unhealthy diets. That interfere with many human rights including the right to food, water, life, and development.

Rights And Obligations Production

Governments should adopt a rights-based approach for all food-relate. Laws and policies in order to prevent adverse impacts on the environment and human rights. The rights-base approach should be centre on the right of food and the right for healthy environments. This approach would clarify the responsibilities of government and businesses, encourage ambitious actions. Prioritize progress for the most marginalized and vulnerable communities, and involve people in the design and implementation of solutions.

All food systems are not equal in their contribution to environmental degradation or human rights violations. There are many production methods and many diets. The type of food and the method of production will impact how much water. Pesticides and synthetic fertilizers are use, as well as other environmental impacts. Dairy and meat are the most environmentally-impactful food products. Agroecology, a holistic approach that integrates ecological principles and social equity to food systems, offers healthier and more sustainable practices.

Experts call for transformational changes in food systems to ensure just, sustainable and healthy outcomes. According to the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge. Science and Technology for Development, the world’s agricultural systems must change dramatically. If it is to be able to feed its growing population and combat climate change.

It Is Not An Option

There are many proven ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon sinks and alleviate water shortages. There are many benefits to many solutions, including the fact that pesticides can be reduce for soil, biodiversity, and human health.

The above changes are important, but not enough. To fulfill the right to food and to a healthy environment, it is necessary to reduce inequalities, promote healthy diets, cut food waste, and transform governance to make it more participative, preventive, and proactive.

Economic reforms are also essential. Food-relate subsidies worth over US$600 billion that threaten sustainability should be re-purpose. They should support smallholders (farms of less than 2 hectares), innovation, agroecology, and sustainable production practices.

A clear path to just and sustainable food systems is possible by prioritizing the rights of food and the health environment. It is not an option for government; it is an obligation.


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Food Production Generates Manmade Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Food Production Generates Manmade Greenhouse Gas Emissions

18.9.2021 | 05:51

It is a global problem to produce enough food for the growing population. It made more difficult by climate change, which is warming the Earth and making farming more difficult in many parts of the world. Climate change is directly related to food production. It’s therefore crucial to accurately measure greenhouse gas emissions from the food industry. A new study shows that 35% of global man-made greenhouse gases are generate by the food system.

This share broken down by the fact that 57% of emissions link to the food system. 29% of agricultural emissions are related to the production of plant-based food products for human consumption. The remaining 14% from agricultural products that not use for food or feed like rubber and cotton

Atmospheric Scientists Food

Atmospheric scientists study the impacts of human activities and agriculture on Earth’s climate. It is well-known that animal-based foods produce more greenhouse gases than plants-based foods. This is why switching to a plant-based diet can be a good option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change.

To quantify the impact of such a shift we needed better tools to estimate the emissions from individual plant and animal-based foods. We also needed more information about how emissions are calculate, and to cover all food-related sub-sectors such as land use changes and actions beyond the farm gate.

The current methods are based on limited data and simplified representations for many key factors such as farmland management emissions. They don’t consider different sub-sectors equally or calculate emissions for specific commodities.

We have created a comprehensive framework that integrates modeling and databases to fill these gaps. This framework allows us to calculate the average annual global greenhouse gas emissions from the production and consumption plant- and animal-based human foods. Our current study covers the period 2007-2013. These are some insights that it provides, using data representing an average of the years.

From Food Production, Greenhouse Gases

We looked at four main sub-sectors that are affect by emissions from animal and plant based food production. We calculated that the global food system emits approximately 17.3 billion tonnes (17.318 teragrams), of carbon dioxide annually.

29% of total greenhouse gas emissions from food production comes from land use change. This is when forests are cleare for ranches and farms. It reduces carbon storage in soils and trees. Farmland management activities such as plowing, which reduces soil carbon stores, and treating crops using nitrogen fertilizer, account for 38%. To power their harvesters and tractors, farmers also use a lot fossil fuel.

21% of greenhouse gases are generate by raising livestock. This includes methane released by livestock manure and methane emitted from grazing animals. The remaining 11% is derive from activities beyond farm gates such as mining, transporting pesticides and fertilizers, and energy use in foods processing.

What Foods Produce The Highest Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

This framework allows you to compare the effects of different food products on Earth’s climate. Beef is the most significant animal-base foods contributor to climate change. It is responsible for 25% of total food emission, followed by cow milk (8%) or pork (7%).

The largest contributor of plant-based foods is rice, which produces 12% of total greenhouse gas emissions. It is follow by sugarcane (2%), and wheat (5%) Rice is unique because it can grow in water. Many farmers flood their fields with water to kill weeds. This creates ideal conditions for methane-emitting bacteria.

This helps to explain why South and Southeast Asia have the greatest foods-production-related emissions by region, producing 23% of the global total. This is the only region where plant-based emission are greater than animal-based. South America, with 20% of the world’s largest emitters, has the highest emissions from animal-based foods. This is due to the dominance and importance of ranching.

China, India, and Indonesia are the countries with the highest global foods-relate greenhouse gases emissions. They contribute 7%, 44%, and 22% respectively. China (8%), Brazil (6%) and the United States (5%) are the countries that produce the most animal-based foods products. India (4%) is the second.

How Land Use Is Affect By Food Production

Our framework also shows how raising animal-based food takes six times more land than producing plant-based food. We estimate that human beings use 18 million square miles (4.6billion hectares) of the Earth’s land to produce food. This is 31% of Earth’s total land area. 30% of this is land that is used for crop production, while 70% is land that is used for grazing.

We estimate that 13% is used for plant-based food production by looking at the management of these areas. 77% of the remaining land is used for animal-based food production, including crops that grow animal feed or grazing lands. The 10% remaining is used to grow other products such as rubber, tobacco, and cotton.

The study employs a consistent framework to estimate greenhouse gas emissions from food production, consumption and distribution at all levels. This includes sub-sectors related to food, including those that are local, national, regional, and global. It will help policymakers identify which plant- or animal-based food commodities contribute most to climate change and which sub-sectors emit the highest levels of greenhouse gas emissions at different locations.

These results can be used by researchers, individuals, and governments to take action to reduce the emissions of high-emitting foodstuffs in different locations. According to the U.N., it is crucial that food production be more climate-friendly in order to reduce hunger in a warming planet.


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