How do we feed the world sustainably? Did you know food already accounts for between a quarter and a third of global greenhouse gas emissions? Half of the world’s habitable land and 70% of global freshwater withdrawals are used for agriculture. Not only that but livestock outweigh wild mammals by a factor of 15-to-1.4 – 96% of all mammal biomass on the planet is livestock (excluding humans!). Of the 28,000 wildlife species evaluated to be threatened with extinction on the IUCN Red List, agriculture and aquaculture is listed as a threat for 24,000 of them.
So how we eat is vital to the health of the planet. But by 2050, scientists predict the Earth’s population will be 9.6 billion. To feed them all according to current dietary patterns, researchers calculate we’d need to use 120% more fresh water, 42% more land – and we’d produce 77% more greenhouse gas emissions than we do now.
Changing that future will require system-wide change – but our individual food choices can help too. For #EarthDay2021, food systems expert Maia Elliott is giving three really simple things you can do right now that really will make a difference.
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📷: EAT-Lancet Commission – follow them @eatfoundation for lots more on food and climate.
📈 Current position statistics via Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2020), Environmental impacts of food production. Published at ourworldindata.org/environmental-impacts-of-food, featuring data from Poore, J., & Nemecek, T. (2018), UN Food and Agriculture Org,Bar-On, Y. M., Phillips, R., & Milo, R. (2018), IUCN
📈 Future predictions Bojana Bajzelj et al in Nature Climate Change
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