Pumpkins are the universal sign of autumn. Beginning in September, people start purchasing pumpkins in droves to decorate their porches, tables and homes.
What would happen if suddenly everyone had to stop buying pumpkins? Can Halloween still take place without jack-o’-lanterns? Can fall still be fall without a pumpkin on your front stoop?
Environmentalists are now issuing alarming reports that your poor, unassuming pumpkins are actually dangerous to our planet. By purchasing a pumpkin, you could be bringing our planet to its knees.
The fine people at Trees.com issued three warnings (or more, depending on how you read the piece) about the dangers of pumpkins. First, about the number of pumpkins bought every year. Second, about the natural resources required to cultivate pumpkins. Third, about the environmental impacts of pumpkins ending up in landfills.
On top of all that, the piece is literally titled, “Should we ‘Cancel’ Halloween to save the planet?”
Trees.com estimated that 82 percent of Americans plan to buy pumpkins. That means billions of pounds worth of pumpkins have to be grown each year, just for U.S. consumers.
The report said pumpkin crops require an immense amount of water: One pumpkin needs an inch per growing week, which normally lasts about 10 to 14 weeks.
So pumpkin water consumption is really not that much. Almonds, avocados, sugarcane and rice are the real water-sucking crops, according to a CNN report from 2019. Pumpkins have nothing on those crops, but not many are calling for the world to stop eating them.
Besides, pumpkins have actually been proven to clean contaminated and polluted soils, particularly from DDT, a harmful insecticide. This is groundbreaking since contaminants in soil are extraordinarily difficult to remove.
“To clean up contaminated sites, it is typically necessary to excavate the soil and place it in a landfill or burn it in a high-temperature incinerator,” Science Daily reported in 2004.
So by simply increasing pumpkin crops, acres and acres of soil can be cleaned. More clean soil means more land that can be used for food and plant production. And those crops will produce more oxygen and clean the air from bacteria, chemicals and carbon dioxide.
Pumpkins actually may be saving the planet, not hurting it.
The other fault of pumpkins, however, lies in their decomposition. Any food that is simply tossed in the trash and not composted will produce methane. And Trees.com reported that 25 percent of pumpkins will end up in landfills.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food is the number one thing in landfills, and landfills are the third-largest cause of human-related methane emissions.
Pumpkins, just like any other food tossed in the garbage, will therefore add to methane emissions. It’s estimated that about a quarter of pumpkin buyers will likely just throw their rotting pumpkins in the bin, rather than compost them or use them for feed.
While it is unfortunate that the favored fall vegetable emits methane, is it even worthy of recognition when there are herds of animals producing exponentially more? If environmentalists are truly concerned about methane emissions, ignore pumpkins. They should be focusing on the fact that ruminant animals (cows, sheep, deer, antelope, giraffes, etc.) are producing 250 to 500 liters of methane per day, according to the Journal of Animal Science.
With that much methane coming from one of the largest food sources in the world, pumpkins don’t even scratch the surface. If methane emissions are what’s going to kill the planet, pumpkins will be very, very low on the list of perpetrators.
Go ahead and buy your pumpkins and carve jack-o’-lanterns with the kids. Don’t cancel Halloween because of environmental hysteria and alarmism. Enjoy the loveliest of the fall vegetables.
Sure, encourage people to compost their pumpkins, use them in soup or feed the squirrels with the leftovers. That is genuinely better than throwing your pumpkin in the bin. But a pumpkin in the garbage is not going to kill the planet overnight.
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