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Cutting food waste, meat and obesity ‘helps curb climate change’
By thinkSPAIN Team Thu, Aug 8, 2019
EATING less meat and wasting less food will help curb climate change, according to the United Nations – recommendations Spain’s energy minister says she totally agrees with.
Teresa Ribera (pictured) says focus should be on a diet that comes from processes which do not aggravate climate change or which help to mitigate it – anything which grows on trees, for example, should be encouraged.
Local produce, where possible, should be chosen so as to reduce emissions caused by transporting goods.
Reducing obesity, which affects an average of four in 10 people in the western world, by eating less in general, which leads to a reduction in appetite, and avoiding throwing food away would have the effect of cutting the need for food production, which means fewer trees chopped down to make way for farmland, according to the UN.
The global organisation says between 25% and 30% of all food produced in the world gets thrown away uneaten, meaning, logically, that production could be reduced to 70% or 75% of its current volume without generating a shortage.
And as the majority of inhabitants of wealthy countries eat too much rather than too little, food production could drop still further without any ill effects.
Climate change, which is expected to increase temperatures everywhere to the equivalent of those currently seen 1,000 kilometres closer to the equator by the year 2050, is also set to cause more natural disasters, desertification and drought.
Trees are an essential ally in the battle against climate change, since they literally eat carbon dioxide and create oxygen – in fact, it is estimated that between 50% and 70% of the world’s oxygen comes from the Amazon rainforest – so clearing woodlands to make way for pasture and arable land is counter-productive.
Also, with less land likely to be suitable for pasture and crops in the future, the world needs to learn to cope with less food being produced – better global distribution of food to prevent those in the third world suffering malnutrition where their home-grown crops fail, less waste, and less breeding of animals destined for meat who will need grazing land.
Teresa Ribera highlights the Mediterranean diet as being an excellent régime to follow in the prevention of obesity, serious health problems in general, and reducing the impact of climate change.
She says its focus on fresh, local and organic produce, reducing the need for fuel, preservatives and chemicals, is helpful to the environment.
Also, the Mediterranean diet adheres closely to the recommended ‘nutritional pyramid’ – complex carbohydrates such as starch and cereals on the bottom at the widest part, followed by fruit and vegetables, with animal proteins nearer the top, or in much lower quantity.
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