Food for Thought: The Impact of Super Sunday

Food for Thought: The Impact of Super Sunday

According to the National Chicken Council, Americans will eat 1.25 billion chicken wings while watching the New England Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.  Just let that settle in for a minute, 1.25 BILLION chicken wings.  Enough to “put 572 wings on every seat in all 32 NFL stadiums.”

The fact is, you still need a real live chicken to get a chicken wing and each chicken only has two.  Some simple math will show that comes out to 625 million chickens needed to supply what is essentially a snack for just ONE day.  For a little perspective, the Census Bureau Population Clock puts the current population of the United States at just over 320 million.  We need to double the population of the United States {in chickens} to order provide 1.25 billion chicken wings.

Obesity aside, there are alarming consequences to this type of production and consumption – and these consequences are doing great damage to the earth.

We know about the environmental impact of flying, driving and creating trash.  We know how the lives we lead create a carbon footprint.  What most people don’t realize is that their carbon footprint extends even further.  To the foods we eat.  Growing crops, raising livestock, and growing the crops needed to feed the livestock directly impacts the earth – it uses (and contaminates) our environmental resources.

Brian Walsh, senior writer for TIME magazine covering energy and the environment, states “Livestock production — which includes meat, milk and eggs — contributes 40% of global agricultural gross domestic product, provides income for more than 1.3 billion people and uses one-third of the world’s fresh water.”  This huge, profitable, global, industry has a gigantic environmental impact on one of the most essential needs for human life – “one-third of the world’s fresh water.”

Not only is this industry using and contaminating the earth’s fresh water but it’s contributing to air pollution, soil pollution and, ultimately, global warming.  The waste created by the 625 million chickens needed for the Super Sunday wings (in the form of their excrement) contains hormones and antibiotics used to plump up the chickens, as well as all the pesticides and herbicides used to grow the chicken feed.  And it all has to go somewhere.  It goes in our water, our soil, our earth.

E-Coli, Salmonella and the Avian flu can directly affect humans by the handling and/or consumption of chickens.

Arsenic can commonly be found on chicken meat – at toxic levels.

The National Chicken Council estimates in 2015 the per person consumption of chicken in the US will be 86.6 pounds – in 1965 it was 33.7.   Consumption of meat has nearly tripled over the past 50 years, humans and our planet are aching from the effects.

It’s time we, as a country, rethink not just the way we eat and consume but WHAT we eat and consume.  Simple changes, such as perhaps rethinking your menu for next year’s Super Bowl party, can have a remarkable impact when done together.

Just a little Food for Thought.


For further information on this global epidemic, please check out the following resources:

  1. “Comfortably Unaware” by Dr. Richard A. Oppenlander

  2. “The Triple Whopper Environmental Impact of Global Meat Production” by Brian Walsh


  4. “The Hidden Water Resource Use Behind Meat and Dairy” by Arjen Y. Hoekstra

  5. “Water Requirements of Livestock” from Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs




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