To go "flexitarian" - one portion of meat a week, on a basically plant-based diet - will really address climate change
We’re on the lookout, post IPCC report, to fill your life with concrete and immediate suggestions to address the crisis of carbon in our atmosphere.
If the world wants to limit climate change, water scarcity and pollution, then we all need to embrace "flexitarian" diets, say scientists. This means eating mainly plant-based foods, and is one of three key steps towards a sustainable future for all in 2050, they say.
Food waste will need to be halved and farming practices will also have to improve, according to the study. Without action, the impacts of the food system could increase by up to 90%.
Fast on the heels of the landmark report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) comes this new study on how food production and consumption impact major threats to the planet.
The authors say that the food system has a number of significant environmental impacts including being a major driver of climate change, depleting freshwater and pollution through excessive use of nitrogen and phosphorous.
The study says that thanks to the population and income growth expected between 2010 and 2050, these impacts could grow between 50-90%. This could push our world beyond its planetary boundaries, which the authors say represent a "safe operating space for humanity on a stable Earth system".
However the study finds that no single solution will avert the dangers, so a combined approach is needed. So when it comes to climate change, the authors looked at what they called a "flexitarian diet".
"We can eat a range of healthy diets but what they all have in common, according to the latest scientific evidence, is that they are all relatively plant based," said lead author Dr Marco Springmann from the University of Oxford.
"You can go from a diet that has small amounts of animal products, some might call it a Mediterranean based diet, we call it a flexitarian diet, over to a pescatarian, vegetarian or vegan diet - we tried to stay with the most conservative one of these which in our view is the flexitarian one, but even this has only one serving of red meat per week."
Ever helpful, the BBC Good Food page also explains what it takes to be flexitarian (or as they also call it, “casual vegetarian”) and what the recipes could be. And if you really want some impetus, read this: How Giving Up Meat For A Month Improved My Productivity.