According to the EAT – Lancet commission “Food is the single strongest lever to optimize human health and environmental sustainability on Earth.”
It turns out that healthy eating isn’t just good for your body, it can also lessen your impact on the environment.
So, in theory, if we improve the way we eat, the food system and all the industries involved, we could save the planet.
When we look at our current way of food production, we may find that this factor is the single most important driver of diversity loss. Additionally, Scientists say that food production including growing crops, raising livestock, fishing and transporting all that food to our plates is responsible up to 30% of total global greenhouse gas emissions and to 70% of the freshwater use.
With a rising population…
How can we feed us while taking care of the planet’s health?
To answer this question, 37 of the world’s best scientists worked together in order not only to frame the problem but to find solutions.
For such purpose, they based their research on the planetary boundaries framework which is a scientific way of looking at the state and health of our planet. It means that they didn’t look only at climate but also to biodiversity, the usage of land, etc when looking for answers to our food production and consumption.
The planetary boundaries are 9, and all of them are interconnected. Each of them representing a system or process that is important for regulating and maintaining the stability of the planet:
- Stratospheric ozone depletion.
- Loss of biosphere integrity (biodiversity loss and extinctions).
- Chemical pollution and the release of novel entities.
- Climate Change.
- Ocean acidification.
- Freshwater consumption and the global hydrological cycle.
- Land system change.
- Nitrogen and phosphorus flows to the biosphere and oceans.
- Atmospheric aerosol loading
Image by: Stockholm Resilience Centre
The study shows that staying within the safe operating space for food systems, it will demand big changes towards plant-based dietary patterns, dramatic reductions in food losses and waste, and major improvements in food production practices.
You can Check out the EAT Lancet Commission website and download their report for an interesting and inspiring read.
In simple words, What can you do to leverage the impact?
Avoid / Eliminate food waste:
Nearly one third (1.3 billion tons) of the world’s food produced is either spoiled or thrown away every year, counting for 8% of carbon emission in the world.
Some simple things you can do to avoid food waste are:
- Plan your meals for the week.
- Do a grocery shopping of the things you need.
- Store food correctly.
- Learn to preserve, learn methods such as freezing, canning, drying. All of them will make food last longer and thus reducing your waste
- Save the leftovers in clear glass containers, so you don’t forget about the food.
- Keep your portion size small.
- If possible: Compost!
Choose health, sustainability, and deliciousness:
Choose a plant-rich diet, Get creative and discover a new world of taste and colors!
According to several studies, a plant-based diet is the most effective one for both the planet and our own health.
A plant-based diet reduces the risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, certain cancers (specifically colon, breast, and prostate cancer), depression, and in older adults, a decreased risk of frailty, along with better mental and physical function.
And the biggest benefit for the planet if we shift our diet is a reduction of 70% in the greenhouse gas emission and 50% less water use!
What a win-win for both, Humans and the planet!
Vote with every plate.
Purchase foods support environmentally sustainable and socially responsible farming.
Purchase local and organic. It will drive the local economy and reduce reliance on factory farming.
Less is more.
Approach food with moderation, Eat less to live longer.
Although, still under discussion, eating less can be the key to change your life in a truly dramatic fashion.
Valter Longo, Ph.D had done groundbreaking discoveries around longevity and food. Basically, he combines healthy everyday eating plan with fasting – mimicking diet, or FMD. He discovered that specific diets can activate stem cells and promote regeneration and rejuvenation in multiple organs to significantly reduce the risk for diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease.