The planet will not be able to feed the entire population within 30 years

in an article published In 'Nature' proposed to limit the consumption of meat to once a week to reduce the environmental impact of the sector about 30% of

The planet will not be able to feed the entire population within 30 years

in an article published In 'Nature' proposed to limit the consumption of meat to once a week to reduce the environmental impact of the sector

about 30% of the food produced never come to be consumed

Decide on the products that make up the shopping list or the food arriving to our table influences in the fight against climate change. At the global level, it is estimated that the food system is one of the main generators of emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions, at the same level that sectors such as the production of energy and heating. Add to that his influence on the consumption of water and the loss of biodiversity, sacrificed to create new arable land. An article published this Wednesday in the online edition of 'Nature' affirms that, at the current pace, the environmental impact of the processes and the infrastructure necessary to feed the world's population could increase by between 50% and 90% in the coming decades.

The researchers from the University of Oxford have developed a detailed model for each country, from which they are able to make a world simulation on the evolution of the sector. So they have identified several areas of impact critical: the emissions of gases that accelerate climate change, loss of natural spaces, the use of fresh water and the spread of nitrogen and phosphorus through fertilizers. On that basis they conclude that no single measure alone can mitigate sufficiently the increase of the pressure on the global climate; only a multidisciplinary approach would address the problem and ensure the sustenance of the world population for the year 2050 should reach the figure of 10,000 million people.

This approach goes by a global change in the feed into products of vegetable origin, in addition to the reduction to half of the food waste and the improvement of practices and agricultural technologies. "Although it requires large-scale changes to keep our food systems and within the environmental limits, everyone can make a difference, such as by adopting healthier diets, supporting businesses with sustainable practices and demanding politicians with environmental regulation and sanitary, clear and firm", explains Marco Springmann, a researcher of the English university and lead author of the article.

A change in the consumers

according to figures From the United Nations Organization for Food and Agriculture (FAO), the production of grass, and the preparation of feedingstuffs for livestock feed represents today 80% of the arable area of the planet. However, only 55% of the calories of the crops in the world are destined directly to human consumption; the rest is divided between livestock (about 36%), biofuels and other industrial products. "The production of meat generates greenhouse gas emissions and demand a lot of resources," explains Luis Lasalleta Coto, a research Group of Farming Systems of the Polytechnic University of Madrid and co-author of the work. "This is why working in different lines is essential, both for the improvement of production systems through research, as well as on the consumer and their implication".

To counter the impact of meat production on the environment, the authors of the article advocate for a diet that privileges the local and seasonal products, with at least 500g daily of fruits and vegetables and at least 100g of vegetable protein (legumes, cereal, or dried fruit) and small amounts of proteins of animal origin, such as poultry, fish, milk and eggs. The red meat would be reduced to a weekly portion, well below its current average consumption, especially in Spain, where every inhabitant consumes 250-300g of meat a day.

to End the waste

on the other hand, it is necessary to reduce the loss of food to the half to keep the system within limits that are sustainable. It is estimated that between 30% and 40% of the food produced around the world do not come to be consumed. Some products never get to be collected, others will spoil before reaching consumers, and many things are discarded by retailers and restaurants. "The reduction of food waste is another fundamental pillar", explains Lasalleta, "in addition, any initiative that will lead the consumer to be informed of what they eat and to act accordingly is important."

In Spain, households throw away over 3.5 million pounds of food each day. In addition to economic loss that supposed to have produced something that is not going to consume it, the decomposition of food in landfills produces large quantities of methane. In this sense, the article joins a battle for the FAO to pound for years. From the international agency explained that consumers could reduce the amount of waste by taking simple steps, such as serving smaller portions, take advantage of the ingredients leftover, and support to cafes, restaurants and supermarkets that put into practice measures to reduce waste.

Date Of Update: 26 October 2018, 02:20