Human activities are responsible for most of the increase in greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere over the last 150 years. While the largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions is from burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat and transportation, there is one other contributing factor… emissions from livestock such as cattle, agricultural soils and rice production. Our ability to produce food is contributing greatly to greenhouse gas emissions, water and land use, and multiple forms of pollution…leaving a lasting impact on our environment.
As climate change continues to accelerate, it is already having devastating effects that will undermine our ability to feed the world’s ever-growing population.
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.
As part of the latest Center for Academic Research & Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA) symposium “Humans: The Planet-Altering Apes,” Harvard professor and physician Walter Willett discusses how the global adoption of a new diet could not only feed a growing population, but also save the planet in the process. Dr. Willett says the global adoption of a flexitarian diet 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.