Climate change poses a threat to the security of our food supply. Rising temperatures, increased rain and more extreme weather events will all have an impact on crops and livestock. But food production also contributes to global warming.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Climate Change and Land states that an estimated 23% of greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, livestock, and the land and forests needed to raise them. About 25 – 30% of food produced globally is lost or wasted. From 2010 – 2016, global food loss and waste accounted for 8 – 10% of total anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
More sustainable land-use practices, focus on restoring ecosystems and a shift away from resource-intensive diets could help decrease greenhouse gas emissions from food production. More people could be fed using less land if individuals cut down on eating meat.
Dietary habits are more than personal decisions. Diets are driven by availability and affordability of food, geography and cultural habits, that’s why policy must also be part of the solution. Policies that operate across the food system, cutting back waste, and influencing food choices must be enacted.
We must promote for low-carbon lifestyle as a part of climate change mitigation. Filipinos should start eating more local, plant-based, and in-season foods. Reduce meat consumption, go for dairy alternatives, and eat more of whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
The public must be informed about the environmental impact of their food choices. The misconceptions and barriers about plant-based diets must be addressed, to increase consumer demand and scale down production costs and corresponding prices. Accessibility is also important. Educating people how to eat a plant-based diet with the ingredients that are available to them needs to be a priority.
Therefore, everyone must plant vegetables and fruits in their backyards or community vacant lots, or to cultivate urban gardens. This way, people do not only provide food on the table, but also address the threat to the security of our food supply, as well as mitigating climate change through our sustainable diets.
It could be a challenge to shift to a low carbon diet, but it can be done gradually. A simple change in our lifestyle, when combined, can make a big difference towards addressing climate crisis.