Any crop grown for mass food production is potentially harmful to the environment. Here are a few issues that apply to soy:
The popularity of soybean-growing in Brazil threatens the tropical rain forest, as farmers cut down more and more forest to make space for fields. Most US-grown soy is genetically modified, which brings with it a host of health concerns as well as the possibility of reduced diversity. When grown as a monoculture, meaning that only one strain is planted over acres of fields, it also leads to decreased diversity as well as an increased chance of parasite/disease takeover (polycultures, where many strains and species are grown side by side, are generally considered more environmentally conscious). A typical concern with monocultures is that they take nutrients from the soil, so a useful way to grow nitrogen-fixing soy is to rotate it with other crops, keeping nitrogen levels in balance.
Once the soy is grown, people must remove the usable parts, package it, transport it by trucks and sell it. The gasoline and electricity this process requires creates a significant carbon footprint. Finally, in addition to food, soy is used for many industrial applications, including the automobile industry; therefore, even some of its final uses hurt the environment.
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