Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Australasia

This region of Oceania comprises Australia, New Zealand, the island of New Guinea, and neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean. Its ecozone forms a distinct region with a common geologic and evolutionary history which has resulted in a set of unique types of animals and plants. Due to the reverse seasonality with the US and Europe, much food produce is exported to these countries in the winter from Australia and New Zealand. Except for the lush rainforest of Queensland and the east, much of the Australia is arid and unsuitable for arable agriculture. The country is considered highly vulnerable to climate change and associated impacts including droughts and wildfires.

18 October 2016

This report by Zero Carbon Australia, outlines how research on greenhouse gas emissions from land use (agriculture and forestry) can be reduced to zero net emissions, coupled with economic opportunities and increased resilience in the face of climate change. The land use sector is the second largest source of emissions in Australia and is highly exposed to the impacts of climate change. 15% of total emissions in Australia are from the agriculture and forestry sectors, the largest component of which is land clearing for grazing.

Credit: wellunwell, soft drinks, Flickr, Creative Commons Licence 2.0
11 October 2016

This study estimates the environmental impacts of what it terms discretionary foods - foods and drinks that do not provide nutrients that the body particularly needs. It finds that these foods account for 33-39% of food-related footprints in Australia.

Photo: Susanne Nilsson, Flickr, Tropical Fish, Creative Commons License 2.0
31 August 2016

Researchers from Conservation International have found a small island near Timor-Leste with staggering species richness. Atauro Island, home to about 8,000 people sits in the middle of the so-called Coral Triangle, known for its biodiverse marine environments.

Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Flickr, Creative commons licence 2.0
23 August 2016

The newly elected Australian conservative government makes a clear break from the previous government – led by climate skeptic Prime Minister Tony Abott – after announcing more funding for climate science.

11 September 2015

The demand for meat is expected to double by 2050. Projections indicate that expanding the livestock industry to meet this demand would exceed biophysical limitations, dangerously exacerbating climate change and biodiversity loss. This paper uses an anthropological approach to explore an alternative meat source that not only avoids livestock’s pitfalls, but targets introduced pest species that have a history of profound destruction within Australian ecosystems.

8 May 2015

A new green energy initiative has been launched by the Japanese meat processor NH Foods. Their Global Water Engineering (GWE) Cohral plant (in Australia)will extract green energy biogas from the waste water stream of production, replacing millions of dollars’ worth of natural gas currently consumed by the company factory.  It is reported that the effect of burning the methane will save the equivalent of 12,000 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to removing 2,700 cars from the road.

8 May 2015

This paper, co-authored by FCRN member Christian Reynolds, investigates the economic and environmental efficiency of charities and NGOs that divert and redistribute wasted but edible food. Through a case study of food rescue organizations in Australia, the authors show that food rescue operations generate approximately six kilograms of food waste per tonne of food rescued, at a cost of US$222 per tonne of food rescued. This is lower than purchasing edible, non-food waste food at market-cost. Secondly, for every US dollar spent on food rescue, edible food to the value of US$5.71 (1863 calories) was rescued.

19 April 2015

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) reports that the Australian beef industry has reduced its environmental footprint over the past 30 years. The results are presented in a new paper in Agricultural Systems, and in a press-release MLA writes that:

26 March 2015

The China Meat Association (CMA) is now calling on the Chinese government to actively support the beef and lamb sector. Prices for beef and lamb have increased more than 10% in the past decade, fuelled by China’s runaway economic growth. As Chinese consumers’ income and standard of living improves, demand for red meat has grown.

26 March 2015

Beef has now been banned in the state of Maharashtra in India. India is a country where 80% of the population is Hindu, and where cows are revered.  The ban has generated much criticism and the hashtag #BeefBan has fast become one of the world's top trending hashtags.

25 March 2015

This study compared the impact that a 20 per cent sales tax and a 20 cents per litre excise tax on beverages such as carbonated non-diet soft drinks, cordials and fruit drinks would have on moderate and high consumers. It found that although high consumers of sugar-sweetened beverages have the least elastic demand, they drink so much that they are up against household budget limits, and therefore adding tax would bring down their consumption.

26 February 2015

This report sets out new climate change projections for Australia. It was produced by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and funded by the Australian Government Department of the Environment, CSIRO and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The key findings from the report are copied as follows:

12 February 2015

This paper investigates the environmental impact of the diets of Australian households at different income quintiles. The paper looked at 2003 household consumption and argues that income affects the environmental impacts of household diet, with higher income corresponding to higher impacts. The higher the income bracket the more was spent on food and this translated through to a higher environmental impact (GHG CO2e, water, waste, energy) at higher incomes.

29 January 2015

This article from the Urbanist takes a look at Japan’s indoor farming is portrayed. The successful indoor farming endeavor in Japan is shown through some staggering statistics: 25,000 square feet producing 10,000 heads of lettuce per day (100 times more per square foot than traditional methods) with 40% less power, 80% less food waste and 99% less water usage than outdoor fields.

15 September 2014

This paper on sustainable diets, published in Biological Agriculture and Horticulture, provides evidence on the most effective ways to influence consumers to adopt sustainable diets. The evidence comes from a pilot study on a group of 163 Australians who would be expected to be ‘early adopters’ of a sustainable diet (due to their higher than average education and income).