On Wednesday, John Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, provided the key to a long-term climate change solution: food.
In partnership with EAT and the South Asia Food Nutrition Security Initiative, the World Bank hosted a panel discussion in Washington, D.C. on the future of food, agriculture and their role in reversing the effects of climate change while also accomplishing the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations in addition to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.
In fact, Rockström stated in his keynote speech that both the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement would undeniably fail unless the world makes a radical shift in how it produces, consumes and discards food.
In January, the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet and Health was published by 30 scientists aiming to reach a definitive framework for a healthy diet that incorporates sustainable food production, and does so by the year 2050.
The commission aims to bring healthy diet and sustainable food production to the world via five strategies: an international and national commitment to healthy diets, reorient agricultural priorities from producing high quantities of food to producing healthy food, sustainably intensify food production to increase high-quality output, strong and coordinated governance of land and oceans, and halve food losses and waste.
Food touches every single life and industry on Earth, but is the most undisrupted industry in the world, according to CEO and interim President of the World Bank, Kristalina Georgieva. That disruption is essential for the survival of the planet, which Georgieva reminded the audience, is the last one we have.
Current food waste is among the largest culprits in the degradation of natural resources and sustainability. Some 30 percent of all food is wasted globally across the supply chain, contributing to 8 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
Every single farmer in America has a problem with surplus food, according to Founder and CEO of Healthy Harvest and panelist, Evan Lutz.
Food that cannot be purchased for reasons relating to aesthetics and consumer markets, rather than it being edible or not, create a surplus of product that is, for example, as harmless as a carrot with two legs or a kale stem that isn’t stiff.
Food is consumed haphazardly, according to Rockstrom, and it goes unnoticed when discussing climate change the fossil fuels, natural resources and waste that are associated with our food production.
The initiative is an unprecedented collaboration between industry, government and society, effectively requiring a massive shift in human life in a rather short period of time, according to panelists, but the necessity for change in the survival of life is something that cannot continue to be ignored in addressing climate change and the health and well-being of humankind.