Food matters

An alliance of 38 private organizations released a 50-page report based on recent science saying that global warming can be controlled by reducing food waste and slashing meat consumption.


The report tackled head-on the political hot potato of how to change human behavior in ways that will reduce our carbon footprint. Changes like cutting back on travel, using public transportation, and switching to electric vehicles were recommended but it pointed out that revamping our diets could have the biggest impact of all.


“Even bigger emissions can come from producing and consuming less meat,” especially beef, said Teresa Anderson, climate change policy officer for ActionAid International.


A study published in Nature calculated that rich nations would have to eat 90 percent less meat by 2050 to sustainably accommodate a projected global population of 10 billion people. The report notes that only six countries – the United States, Brazil, China, Canada, Argentina, Australia – and the European Union produce and export the lion’s share of beef, chicken and pork worldwide.


Livestock farming poses a double climate threat, driving the loss of forests to make way for grazing land and generating huge amounts of methane, which is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.


Reducing food waste – estimated at more than 30 percent worldwide – by half could cut carbon dioxide pollution by 500 million tons, more than 1 percent of total emissions. It could also help feed some of the billion people who go to bed hungry every night, the report noted.


These recommendations may seem simple, practical and straightforward, but hitting the targets remains deceptively difficult, especially in the developing world.The effort to reduce food waste will need to be prioritized as early as possible and while it may seem challenging, future generations will have to be taught to reduce their meat intake if such an initiative can address the climate threat livestock farming poses on our planet.


Everyone can and should help in the fight to keep our planet from heating up and endangering the future of mankind. Even our choices when it comes to food play a role. The more we know about how our choices can impact our future, the sooner we can adjust our lifestyles and make simple but significant contributions that can save our planet from overheating.