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World Food Day: Healthier Food Choices Can Help Us Solve The Twin Crisis Of Climate Change And Biodiversity Loss

Our global food system is
one of the primary drivers of biodiversity loss, with
agriculture alone being the identified threat to 22 500 of
the 41 000 species at risk of extinction(1). Food production
is not only the greatest cause of wildlife loss, but it also
contributes to climate change: about a quarter of global
greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food. And with
the world’s population set to reach more than 9 billion by
2050, it’s clear that our food system needs to change –
urgently. 

On World Food Day, WWF reminds us
that a global shift toward healthier, more sustainable diets
will help us combat climate change and food insecurity (2),
reduce biodiversity loss (3), improve human health (4,5),
significantly reduce premature mortality *6), and help
decrease the risks of future pandemics
(7,8).

What we eat matters. It matters to our
own health and to our planet’s health as our food choices
shape food systems – what is being produced, how and where.
Transforming these food systems to sustainable and resilient
ones will help us achieve progress on most of the
Sustainable Development Goals, where we live and
globally
”, says Irene Lucius, Regional
Conservation Director of WWF-Central and Eastern
Europe
. WWF, the global environmental organization
has defined several
“win-win” consumption patterns
that can provide
human health benefits and decrease environmental
impacts: 

Eat more
plants

Enjoy more fruit, vegetables and
wholegrains. Meat, dairy and egg production is more water,
land and greenhouse gas-intensive than plant production. By
eating more plants – and less meat, dairy and egg products
we reduce the impact of our diet on our
planet. 

Vary your diet
Eat
a variety of foods. Globally we rely on a small range of
foods. Seventy-five percent of the global food supply comes
from only 12 plant and five animal species. Dietary monotony
is linked to a decline in the diversity of plants and
animals used in and around agriculture, threatening the
resilience of our food system and limiting the breadth of
food we can eat. These narrow diets don’t provide enough
vitamins and minerals as well. 

Waste
less food

Nearly 570 million tonnes of the
global food waste occurs at the household level
(9). This means that we are also throwing away natural
resources and money. Avoiding food waste in your home,
planning your meals, smart shopping and good storing
practices can be of help.

Moderate your meat
consumption

Enjoy other sources of protein such
as mushrooms, peas, beans and nuts. Reliance on animal-based
protein sources puts additional strain on our environment
and current agricultural practices are not sustainable in
the long term. Approximately 60 percent of the greenhouse
gas emission of agriculture is due to animal agriculture.
Meat, dairy, and egg production is more water, land, and
greenhouse gas-intensive than plant production. It does not
mean we will go without protein, as it’s found in many
plant sources. 

Eat certified
foods

There are various standards you can find
on food packets that make sure our food is sourced and
produced sustainably. Logos to look out for next time
you’re shopping include organic, Rainforest Alliance (for
sustainable agriculture), Fairtrade (protecting farmers and
workers in developing countries), Freedom Food (animal
welfare), MSC* and ASC (Marine stewardship council and
Aquaculture Stewardship Council, for seafood), and RSPO
(Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil).

Eat
less fat, sugar and salt

Keep food such as
cakes, sweets, and chocolate as well as cured meat, fries
and crisps to an occasional treat. Choose water, avoid
sugary drinks. Cultivation of sugarcane and sugar beet
causes soil erosion and is often associated with intensive
use of water and pesticides. New sugar plantations are
replacing natural habitats, leading to biodiversity decline.
More information on how to adopt a planet-based diet can be
found on the WWF-CEE platform “Good
for you, good for the
planet”.

© Scoop Media

 


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