The PositiveImpact of 3D Printing on our Health and the Environment – A FutureScenario HannahNieuwstraten1705488B05Technology(resit)International Communication andMediaIn a couple of decades, 100billion land animals will be needed to provide meat, dairy, eggs and leathergoods for the world’s population. Continuing this livestock could take anenormous, possibly unsustainable toll on our planet. Also, a conducted study showsthat in 2025 there will be 11 million people who will suffer from diabetes. Evenworse, another study states that the people who will suffer from diabetes in2025 will be double, 22 million people (Boyle, et al., 2001).
Today, there are approximately315 million people around the world who suffer from diabetes. A lot of peoplethink that diabetes is caused by eating sugar, this is a deception. Diabetes isactually caused by eating a typical meat and animal product based diet.The two problems stated above areboth able to be solved with one simple change, a change in our diet. The meatand animal products in our diet are almost indispensable, but maybe there is adifferent way, or maybe there will be a different way.
3D printing is a revolutionary developing technology thathelps to arise whole new approaches for designing and manufacturing. Especiallyfor implications in the geopolitical, economic, social, demographic, environmental,and security sectors (Campbell, Williams, Ivanova, & Garrett, 2011). 3D food printing iscurrently limited by cost, time, and amount of production on a large scale (Lin, 2015), but soon 3Dprinters will be faster, cheaper and more accessible to the normal populationand households.In the future, 3D printers willbe able to print nearly any type of imaginable food product, including foodthat we eat a lot, like fruit, pasta, chocolate, and even chewing gum. Also, foodthat cannot be found in nature, like edible growth. And we will be able toprint personalized nutritional foods (Tran, 2016). When looking at what the amountof research that is done, and still is being done, about the 3D printingtechnology, 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 healthand the environment, by eliminating a big part of the agricultural sectorworldwide.
Focusing on the choices ofsociety concerning food, there are several trends happening. People are gettingmore aware of the choices they make, they believe that food can bring benefitsto their health, as well as to the environment. To show their awareness, peopleare starting to have more attention for healthy food products and sustainablefood products.
In the past two decades, growing environmentalawareness, animal welfare, and worker safety are seen as trends in the humansociety, this has led people to question modern agricultural practices. Thishas been reflected in an increasing demand for organic and sustainable products,which is perceived as less damaging to the environment than conventionallygrown foods (Saba & Messina, 2003). The concern of theconsumers for the environment appeared in the late 60’s. This was the cause ofa general distrust in the society, the industry, and in modern technology. Theseconcerned consumers can be defined as persons who know that the production,distribution, use, and disposal of products lead to external costs, and whoevaluates such external costs negatively. These persons are trying to minimize thisnegative effect by changing their own behaviors towards food consumption (Grunert & Juhl, 1995).
One of the changesin behavior is buying and consuming sustainable food products. In the processof creating sustainable and organic products, the use of chemicals andpesticides is avoided. These substances are perceived to be environmentallyharmful. Unfortunately, the price of sustainableand organic products is known to be relatively high in comparison to normalfood products.
This causes that the purchasing and consumption of organicproducts is for a lot of people not an option. Through the emission of CarbonDioxide, Methane and Nitrous Oxide, the agriculture sector accounts forapproximately one-fifth of the annual increase of man-made greenhouse gasemissions, which leads to global warming (Grasty, 1999).3Dprinting can help solve this environmental problem by eliminating a big part ofthe agricultural sector (Tran, 2016). This will be doneby printing foods instead of using the land to grow the foods. Instead ofgrowing different varieties of food, the agriculture sector will put its focusnow on producing different ingredients. This change in the sector will ensurethat the human footprint on our planet will be limited in a very big way, andso will reduce the climate change (Tran, 2016).Onthe other hand, this change will also have a downside. If the agricultural practiceswill change completely or will be completely replaced, it will cause a dramaticimpact on our ecosystems (Tran, 2016).
Nutrition is the most significantlife-long environmental impact on our health (Kussmann & Fay, 2008). More and morepeople are understanding the importance of their health and are giving more oftheir attention to their diet. There are also a lot of people who have the needfor a special, personalized nutrition diet. This can be caused by dietaryneeds, allergies or even personal taste preferences. The wrong nutrition is oneof the biggest causes when talking about unattained genetic potential, reducesphysical 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 alldeath causes.
These diseases are all lifestyle related, and thus every singleone of them is preventable. When talking about these diseases, animal productsall have a leading role. Diabetes expert and researcher Dr. Wear Bernard statesthat diabetes is caused by a diet that builds up the amount of fat in theblood, pointing at a typical meat and animal product based diet. Also, Harvardconducted a research where they looked at 9 studies, finding out that only 1porting of processed meat a day increases the chance of diabetes with 51%. Addingup to that, a research based on 800 studies from 10 different countries showsthat there is a direct link between the consumption of processed meat andcancer (Andersen & Kuhn, 2016). Personalized nutrition can ensurethat the needs and preferences of an individual’s health status and body typerequirement will be met.
With our traditional food supply chain, personalized nutritioncomes with extra costs. This is because foods with controlled ingredientformulation are much more challenging to produce. This is where 3D food printingcan come in handy. There are already several organizations that are working on3D printed personalized nutritional food. The first personalized nutrition islikely to begin as a more simple structure, like bars that will include ourrequired daily nutrients and vitamins (Tran, 2016). If there will belong-term investments in research to personalized food, there is an opportunitythat in the future it will be able to provide each individual person withexactly the right nutrition they need (Tran, 2016). Even a furtherdevelopment will be that we will all have a 3D printer in our house, which willbe able to receive information about us and use these data to print foodsaccordingly (Lin, 2015). When 3D printingis, eventually, developed in a way that we can print anything, the productionof meat and animal products can be eliminated.
This will cause that people willnot eat, or reduce eating, an animal-based diet, and thus is it plausible thatthe chance of cancer, diabetes and heart diseased will radically decrease. Concluding, I can say that the agricultural sector is a big playerin the negative climate change and also in our health. Both of these negativeimplications can be reduced by changing the population’s diet.
If people arereducing their meat and animal consumption, both our health and the environmentwill 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 sustainableliving. This is, of course, a preferred future scenario for those who actuallywant 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 foodproducts.
With the right information, and the right way of distributing thisinformation it can be likely for everyone to chose sustainable and healthy, bychoosing the 3D printed food.