Given this essay has to be at least 250 words, I figured I'd submit a recent, yet interesting assignment. I needed to identify a fruit or vegetable you selected and relate the second law of thermodynamics to the changes in energy observed. The explain the following.
How did the amount of energy gained compare to the amount of energy lost as heat at the second through fourth trophic levels? Considering the amount of energy required to produce animal-based foods and goods, should humans change their habits so they consume products closer to the bottom of the food chain because it is more efficient?
The pomegranate fruit has 234 calories per serving. At the second through fourth trophic levels the amount of energy gained when consumed was significantly smaller the amount energy lost when consumed. At each of these levels, ninety percent of total energy is lost at consumption and can, at most, only be ten percent efficient. Considering the amount of energy required to produce animal-based foods and goods, I think consuming products closer to the bottom of the food chain may not only be a more efficient benefit to the environment, but a beneficial alternative for human health. I enjoy eating meat, so I am not in favor of eliminating it from my diet completely; however, I do think moderation is key. At this rate, it appears the over consumption of humans is contributing to the depletion of the earth’s resources. Perhaps educating more people on the flow of energy in the environment would motivate a change? Encouraging the population to purchase whole, organic, or unprocessed foods, may bring about less environmental damage. Perhaps even buying foods in bulk may make a difference. Although no process requiring an energy conversion is ever 100 percent efficient, I do think human effort to make it more efficient will be beneficial.