Showing results for: Issues
Food is a nodal point for multiple interconnected issues and concerns. The categories below highlight a few of the most critical, including food security and nutrition, water, governance and policy, and health issues.
BP has published a report ‘Energy Outlook 2030’, which projects future energy trends and factors that could affect them, based on views of likely economic and population growth and developments in policy and technology. This year’s edition examines the revolution in shale gas and tight oil, which is driving America’s energy revival.
A report funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) identifies the ‘hotspots’ where zoonoses impose significant burdens, but also where zoonoses management is targeted at poor livestock keepers and consumers. The report maps emerging zoonoses as distinct from other emerging disease events, provides maps of regional agroecosystems, and summarises numbers of livestock, people and poor livestock keepers by system as well as by zoonoses context.
A paper published in the journal Annual Review of Environment and Resources explores the connection between climate change and food systems, and assesses and the impact the former willl have on agricultural yields and earnings, food prices, reliability of delivery, food quality and food safety. It also discusses a number of interventions that could mitigate this impact.
Golub A A, Henderson B B, Hertel T W, Gerber P J, Rose S K and Sohngen B (2013). Global climate policy impacts on livestock, land use, livelihoods, and food security, PNAS
This is a really interesting, but complex paper, so I have taken some time to try and summarise it. I’m very grateful for help and clarification from the authors themselves.
A new FCRN article – “Food sustainability: problems, perspectives and solutions” – has been published in the journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society.
A study by the University of Virginia and the Polytechnic University of Milan, and currently published in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides a global quantitative assessment of the water-grabbing phenomenon. The study shows that foreign land acquisition involves 62 “grabbed” countries and 41 “grabbers” and affects every continent except Antarctica.
A study published in the journal Small Ruminant Research notes that many breeds of goat are at great risk of disappearing. A study from the Regional Service of Agro-Food Research and Development (SERIDA) analysed the global situation - the state of different breeds, the multiple implications of their conservation, their interaction with other animal species, and the consequences of goat grazing from an environmental viewpoint. The authors found that the biggest loss in the genetic resources of indigenous goats has been observed in Europe.
The European Commission has released a report entitled: Prospects for Agricultural Markets and Income in the EU from 2012-2022. The report predicts that total meat production in the EU is expected to decline by 2% over the next two years, due in part to the ban on sow stalls. After the oncoming 2% decline, it may take up to 10 years for the EU meat sector to reach its 2011 production level of 45 million tones. The report also predicted that the EU would see its share of global meat exports decline over the next decade.
We’re overusing the earth’s finite resources, and yet excessive consumption is failing to improve our lives. In Enough Is Enough, Rob Dietz and Dan O’Neill lay out an alternative to the perpetual pursuit of economic growth – an economy where the goal is enough, not more. They explore specific strategies to conserve natural resources, stabilize population, reduce inequality, fix the financial system, create jobs, and more – all with the aim of maximizing long-term well-being instead of short-term profits.
The latest issue of the journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society features a number of articles related to food, nutrition, and sustainability (including one by the FCRN’s founder, Tara Garnett).
The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has released their annual flagship publication on the theme “Investing in agriculture for a better future”. The report says that farmers are the largest investors in developing country agriculture and argues, therefore, that farmers and their investment decisions must be central to any strategy aimed at improving agricultural investment. However, they need a favourable climate for agricultural investment based on economic incentives and an enabling environment.
FCRN member David Freudberg, host of the National Public Radio series “Humankind,” has written a blog for The Huffington Post arguing that diet is rarely discussed as a way to mitigate climate change. He notes that the recommendations being made by climate scientists on how to lessen our carbon footprint are also the same as those being made by health experts – diets higher in fruits, vegetables, and grains, and lower in meat.
A new study from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Future Forests shows that mixed forests, in comparison with monocultures, have positive effects on several different areas, including production. The study, which was published in the journal Nature Communications, is based on material from the Swedish National Forest Inventory and the Swedish Forest Soil Inventory and examined the relationships between multiple ecosystem services and both tree species richness and tree biomass in boreal and temperate forest. By examining the role played by the occurrence of diverse tree species for six different ecosystem services (tree growth, carbon storage, berry production, food for wildlife, occurrence of dead wood, and biological diversity), the study demonstrates that all six services were positively related to the number of tree species.
A perspective paper published by Environmental Research Letters revisits the 2004 study by Pacala and Socolow that deployed seven wedges of different existing energy technologies to address climate change. At the time of that paper’s publication, each wedge would avoid one billion tons of carbon (1 GtC) emissions per year after 50 years. In this new perspective paper, its authors show that as a result of increased emissions, merely achieving what was considered "business-as-usual" in 2004 would require the development and deployment of 12 wedges; stabilizing emissions at current levels would require another 9 wedges; decreasing emissions to the level needed to prevent climate change would need an additional 10 wedges. Altogether, 31 wedges would be required to stabilize the Earth's climate.
The journal Animal Frontiers is running a two-part series on livestock and food security. The first installment (second installment to run in July) covers a range of issues, including: the role of animal (including fish) production in food security in developing countries, trade in livestock products; the links between animal product consumption and chronic diseases; pastoralism; and livestock breeding.
The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), in collaboration with the Glasgow University Media Group and Chatham House has released findings from a qualitative study of audience beliefs and behaviours in relation to climate change and energy security.
The Program for the Human Environment at the Rockefeller University has released a report suggesting that farmland useage might have peaked and the land required for agriculture will start to shrink. The authors predict that in the next half-century, a geographical area more than twice the size of France will return to its natural state from farmland. The Rockefeller researchers say factors such as slower population growth, declines in deforestation, and improved agricultural yields have spared the “unimaginable destruction of nature.”
You may be interested in this study co-authored by FCRN network member Toni Meier on diets and environmental impacts, published in the Journal of Environmental Science & Technology.
A study regarding the efficiency of beetle larvae (mealworms) as a potential protein source was published in the journal PLOS ONE by researchers at the University of Wageningen in Netherlands. The researchers compared the environmental impact of meat production on a mealworm farm to traditional animal farms using three parameters: land usage, energy needs, and greenhouse gas emissions. From the start of the process to the point that the meat left the farm, they found that mealworms scored better than the other foods. Per unit of edible protein produced, mealworm farms required less land and similar amounts of energy.