The Positive
Impact of 3D Printing on our Health and the Environment 

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A Future
Scenario

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hannah
Nieuwstraten

1705488

B05

Technology
(resit)

International Communication and
Media

In a couple of decades, 100
billion land animals will be needed to provide meat, dairy, eggs and leather
goods for the world’s population. Continuing this livestock could take an
enormous, possibly unsustainable toll on our planet.

Also, a conducted study shows
that in 2025 there will be 11 million people who will suffer from diabetes. Even
worse, another study states that the people who will suffer from diabetes in
2025 will be double, 22 million people (Boyle, et al., 2001). Today, there are approximately
315 million people around the world who suffer from diabetes. A lot of people
think that diabetes is caused by eating sugar, this is a deception. Diabetes is
actually caused by eating a typical meat and animal product based diet.

The two problems stated above are
both able to be solved with one simple change, a change in our diet. The meat
and animal products in our diet are almost indispensable, but maybe there is a
different way, or maybe there will be a different way.

3D printing is a revolutionary developing technology that
helps to arise whole new approaches for designing and manufacturing. Especially
for implications in the geopolitical, economic, social, demographic, environmental,
and security sectors (Campbell, Williams, Ivanova, & Garrett, 2011). 3D food printing is
currently limited by cost, time, and amount of production on a large scale (Lin, 2015), but soon 3D
printers will be faster, cheaper and more accessible to the normal population
and households.

In the future, 3D printers will
be able to print nearly any type of imaginable food product, including food
that we eat a lot, like fruit, pasta, chocolate, and even chewing gum. Also, food
that cannot be found in nature, like edible growth. And we will be able to
print personalized nutritional foods (Tran, 2016).

When looking at what the amount
of research that is done, and still is being done, about the 3D printing
technology, and when we look at what is already possible with 3D food printing,
I believe that 3D printing will have a major positive impact on both our health
and the environment, by eliminating a big part of the agricultural sector
worldwide.

 

 

Focusing on the choices of
society concerning food, there are several trends happening. People are getting
more aware of the choices they make, they believe that food can bring benefits
to their health, as well as to the environment. To show their awareness, people
are starting to have more attention for healthy food products and sustainable
food products.

 

In the past two decades, growing environmental
awareness, animal welfare, and worker safety are seen as trends in the human
society, this has led people to question modern agricultural practices. This
has been reflected in an increasing demand for organic and sustainable products,
which is perceived as less damaging to the environment than conventionally
grown foods (Saba & Messina, 2003). The concern of the
consumers for the environment appeared in the late 60’s. This was the cause of
a general distrust in the society, the industry, and in modern technology. These
concerned consumers can be defined as persons who know that the production,
distribution, use, and disposal of products lead to external costs, and who
evaluates such external costs negatively. These persons are trying to minimize this
negative effect by changing their own behaviors towards food consumption (Grunert & Juhl, 1995). One of the changes
in behavior is buying and consuming sustainable food products. In the process
of creating sustainable and organic products, the use of chemicals and
pesticides is avoided. These substances are perceived to be environmentally
harmful. Unfortunately, the price of sustainable
and organic products is known to be relatively high in comparison to normal
food products. This causes that the purchasing and consumption of organic
products is for a lot of people not an option. Through the emission of Carbon
Dioxide, Methane and Nitrous Oxide, the agriculture sector accounts for
approximately one-fifth of the annual increase of man-made greenhouse gas
emissions, which leads to global warming (Grasty, 1999).

3D
printing can help solve this environmental problem by eliminating a big part of
the agricultural sector (Tran, 2016). This will be done
by printing foods instead of using the land to grow the foods. Instead of
growing different varieties of food, the agriculture sector will put its focus
now on producing different ingredients. This change in the sector will ensure
that the human footprint on our planet will be limited in a very big way, and
so will reduce the climate change (Tran, 2016).

On
the other hand, this change will also have a downside. If the agricultural practices
will change completely or will be completely replaced, it will cause a dramatic
impact on our ecosystems (Tran, 2016).

 

Nutrition is the most significant
life-long environmental impact on our health (Kussmann & Fay, 2008). More and more
people are understanding the importance of their health and are giving more of
their attention to their diet. There are also a lot of people who have the need
for a special, personalized nutrition diet. This can be caused by dietary
needs, allergies or even personal taste preferences. The wrong nutrition is one
of the biggest causes when talking about unattained genetic potential, reduces
physical and cognitive risk performance, and increased risk of several diseases
(Milner, 2002). Diabetes, artistes,
heart diseases, dementia, obesity, and cancer are together worldwide 70% of all
death causes. These diseases are all lifestyle related, and thus every single
one of them is preventable. When talking about these diseases, animal products
all have a leading role. Diabetes expert and researcher Dr. Wear Bernard states
that diabetes is caused by a diet that builds up the amount of fat in the
blood, pointing at a typical meat and animal product based diet. Also, Harvard
conducted a research where they looked at 9 studies, finding out that only 1
porting of processed meat a day increases the chance of diabetes with 51%. Adding
up to that, a research based on 800 studies from 10 different countries shows
that there is a direct link between the consumption of processed meat and
cancer (Andersen & Kuhn, 2016).

Personalized nutrition can ensure
that the needs and preferences of an individual’s health status and body type
requirement will be met. With our traditional food supply chain, personalized nutrition
comes with extra costs. This is because foods with controlled ingredient
formulation are much more challenging to produce.

This is where 3D food printing
can come in handy. There are already several organizations that are working on
3D printed personalized nutritional food. The first personalized nutrition is
likely to begin as a more simple structure, like bars that will include our
required daily nutrients and vitamins (Tran, 2016). If there will be
long-term investments in research to personalized food, there is an opportunity
that in the future it will be able to provide each individual person with
exactly the right nutrition they need (Tran, 2016). Even a further
development will be that we will all have a 3D printer in our house, which will
be able to receive information about us and use these data to print foods
accordingly (Lin, 2015). When 3D printing
is, eventually, developed in a way that we can print anything, the production
of meat and animal products can be eliminated. This will cause that people will
not eat, or reduce eating, an animal-based diet, and thus is it plausible that
the chance of cancer, diabetes and heart diseased will radically decrease.

 

 

Concluding, I can say that the agricultural sector is a big player
in the negative climate change and also in our health. Both of these negative
implications can be reduced by changing the population’s diet. If people are
reducing their meat and animal consumption, both our health and the environment
will change positively.

With the developments happening in the 3D printing industry,
3D food printing can help us achieve the goal to live a healthy and sustainable
living. This is, of course, a preferred future scenario for those who actually
want to live this way. Only for those who are not informed about these matters,
it will be unlikely that they will stand aside from meat and animal food
products. With the right information, and the right way of distributing this
information it can be likely for everyone to chose sustainable and healthy, by
choosing the 3D printed food.

 

 

 

                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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