Summary Background The COVID-19 pandemic arrived at a time of faltering global poverty reduction and increasing levels of diet-related diseases, both of which have a strong link to poor outcomes for those with COVID-19. Governments responded to the pandemic by placing unprecedented restrictions on internal and external movements, which have resulted in an economic contraction. In response to the economic shock, G20 governments have committed to providing US$14 trillion stimuli to support economic recovery. We aimed to assess the impact of different COVID-19 recovery paths on human health, environmental sustainability, and food sustainability.
Transporting ingredients and food products accounts for nearly one-fifth of all carbon emissions in the food system — a much bigger slice of the emissions pie than previously thought, according to the first comprehensive estimate of the industry’s global carbon footprint1.
Clearing land for farming, raising livestock and moving food to and from shops adds a large amount of greenhouse gas to the atmosphere. The United Nations estimates that growing, processing and packaging food accounts for one-third of all greenhouse-gas emissions. This has led to an explosion of studies looking into how food systems impact the climate, from causing damaging land-use changes to releasing greenhouse gases, says Jason Hill, an environmental scientist at the University of Minnesota in St Paul.
The war between Russia and Ukraine has highlighted just how much of the world’s wheat supply relies on these two countries. For instance, a recently released UN report shows a sample of 25 African countries that rely on wheat imports from Russia or Ukraine. Of this group, 21 import most of their wheat from Russia.
Between 2018 and 2020, Africa imported $3.7 billion in wheat (32 per cent of the continent’s total wheat imports) from Russia and another $1.4 billion from Ukraine (12 per cent of the continent’s wheat imports).
It’s crucial that African countries diversify their wheat sources for two key reasons.
Victoria Miller, PhD; Julia Reedy, MS; Frederick Cudhea, PhD; Jianyi Zhang, PhD; Peilin Shi, PhD; Josh Erndt-Marino, PhD; Jennifer Coates, PhD; Renata Micha, PhD; Prof Patrick Webb, PhD; Prof Dariush Mozaffarian, MD; on behalf of the Global Dietary Database
Summary Background Diet is a major modifiable risk factor for human health and overall consumption patterns affect planetary health. We aimed to quantify global, regional, and national consumption levels of animal-source foods (ASF) to inform intervention, surveillance, and policy priorities.
In early 2020, we saw the beginning of the COVID-19 ‘pandemic’. The world went into lockdown and even after lockdowns in various countries had been lifted, restrictions continued. Data now shows that lockdowns seemingly had limited, if any, positive impacts on the trajectory of COVID-19 and in 2022 the world – especially the poor – is paying an immense price not least in terms of loss of income, loss of livelihoods, the deterioration of mental and physical health, the eradication of civil liberties, disrupted supply chains and shortages.
‘Diet for a Large Planet’ – how Britain fed itself by plundering the world
Chris Otter DIET FOR A LARGE PLANET Industrial Britain, Food Systems, and World Ecology University of Chicago Press, 2020
Reviewed by Amy Leather
Tea workers in colonial India
Why do we eat what we do? This is the question Chris Otter seeks to answer in Diet for a Large Planet. It is very timely. In recent years there has been growing anger and horror at a food system that delivers both unhealthy and environmentally destructive diets. Food has become deeply politicized.
In 2019 the medical journal The Lancet published what it called a “planetary health diet.” Their conclusion was that “the world’s diets must change dramatically” to save the planet and ourselves. They argued that a Great Food Transformation is required — a move away from what is often called the Western Diet, high in red meat, refined grains, saturated fat and sugar, to a more plant based diet.
WASHINGTON – Already dealing with the economic fallout from a protracted pandemic, the rapidly rising prices of food and other key commodities have many fearing that unprecedented political and social instability could be just around the corner next year.
With the clock ticking on student loan and rent debts, the price of a standard cart of food has jumped 6.4% in the past 12 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the cost of eating out in a restaurant similarly spiking, by 5.8% since November 2020.
The most notable change has been in the price of meat, with beef costing 26.2% more than it did last year, pork 19.2% more and chicken 14.8% more. Bacon prices have reached historic levels, and are now 36% higher than in 1980, even after adjusting for inflation. And with new animal welfare laws coming into effect soon regarding the minimum space required for pigs, some have predicted widespread shortages of bacon and a further price increase of up to 60%.
The world’s food system is in disarray. One in ten people is undernourished. One in four is overweight. More than one-third of the world’s population cannot afford a healthy diet. Food supplies are disrupted by heatwaves, floods, droughts and wars. The number of people going hungry in 2020 was 15% higher than in 2019, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and armed conflicts1.
Our planetary habitat suffers, too. The food sector emits about 30% of the world’s greenhouse gases. Expanding cropland, pastures and tree plantations drive two-thirds of the loss in forests (5.5 million hectares per year), mostly in the tropics2. Poor farming practices degrade soils, pollute and deplete water supplies and lower biodiversity.
Jamaica’s health workers also sent a 200-kilogram batch of syringes, needles, masks, and disinfectants to fight the pandemic in Santiago de Cuba province.
On Sunday, Cuba’s Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez thanked the Venezuelan government for shipping 30 food containers and 20 tons of rice in bags to help the Island tackling the U.S blockade amid the pandemic.
What’s going on right now in Venezuela? Come see for yourself how Venezuelans are coping with US economic sanctions designed to cause a social implosion. The international press does not mention the different attacks on the Venezuelan people carried out by Colombian mercenaries sponsored by the United States government, come and learn about the economic war that the Venezuelan people suffer daily, in public transportation, in the distribution of gasoline, and medicine shortages in the midst of a global pandemic.Come and learn how the grassroots movements are responding to each of those deficiencies caused by the blockade that the United States has imposed on the Venezuelan people. The media also omits serious analysis of the role of the food distribution program known as CLAPs run through a government-community partnership reaching millions of Venezuelans.
There is no doubt, however, as indicated in a recent report by CEPR, that the US-imposed sanctions are indeed causing collective hardship and even death.