MNN Galleries

12 foods that are bad for the planet

By: Laura Moss on April 25, 2011, 12:40 p.m.
tablespoon of sugar

Photo: Mel B./Flickr

4 of 14


More than 145 millions tons of sugar are produced in 121 countries each year, according to the World Wildlife Fund, and production on such a scale takes its toll on the Earth. Sugar may be responsible for more biodiversity loss than any other crop, according to a 2004 WWF “Sugar and the Environment” report, due to its habitat destruction, its intensive use of water and pesticides, and the polluted wastewater discharged during the production process.

Thousands of acres of the Florida Everglades have been compromised after years of sugar cane farming — subtropical forests became lifeless marshland after excessive fertilizer runoff and irrigation drainage. Waters around the Great Barrier Reef are also suffering due to the large quantities of pesticides and sediment from sugar farms.