Perhaps the one fruit species that contributes most to environmental destruction is the banana. People in the US consume an average of 28 pounds of banana for every person in the country each year, and most of these bananas are imported from tropical countries in Central and South America, where large areas of tropical rainforest have been cleared to make room for banana plantations. Though peasant agriculturalists have grown bananas in this part of the world for centuries with relatively little negative impact on biodiversity, traditional farming practices are not capable of producing the perfect, spot-free bananas that US consumers demand. Bananas grown for export to the US tend to be produced in vast plantations where all other vegetation has been cleared away, and where pesticides now banned in the US may be applied on a large scale. To make matters even worse, shipping fruit from the tropics to the US requires the burning of a lot of gasoline, which contributes to global warming. Few US consumers realize what a damaging impact our love of bananas has on tropical environments. However, the truth is that the US craving for this fruit is contributing to biodiversity loss and global warming in far-away parts of the world.
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