CARTA - Humans: The Planet-Altering Apes - How to Feed 10 Billion People with Walter Willett

5/14/2022; 17 minutes

The world is facing a health crisis due to increasing rates of obesity and diabetes, and the consequences of this pandemic will accumulate over the coming decades. Simultaneously, climate change is accelerating and is already having devastating effects that will undermine our ability to feed the world's growing population. In turn, our food systems contribute importantly to greenhouse gas emissions, water and land use, and multiple forms of pollution. Thus, a solution to feeding what will be about 10 billion people by 2050 diets that are both healthy and environmentally sustainable presents an opportunity to mitigate many global challenges.

The EAT-Lancet commission addressed this challenge by defining healthy diets quantitatively, determining whether these can be produced within planetary boundaries for greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental factors, and identifying strategies to achieve these goals. Any solution must assume that we rapidly shift from fossil fuels to green energy. The commission found that global adoption of a flexitarian dietary pattern that could include up to about two servings per day of animal sourced foods, together with improvements in agricultural practices and reductions in food waste, would have major benefits for human health and allow us to stay within planetary boundaries. Achieving this will require the engagement of governments at all levels, civil society, and individuals.

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