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Listopad 2022

Feast to save the planet

Global food production continues to grow to meet the demand from rising populations and incomes.

Food insecurity today is mainly due to conflicts, droughts, and floods rather than from systemic production shortfalls.

Today’s food supply system produces around 2.8 billion tonnes of cereals and 330 million tonnes of meat annually, largely thanks to the “Green Revolution” of the mid-20th century that involved new crop varieties, fertilisers, agri-chemicals, mechanisation and improved farm management.

Food production needs to increase by a further 50% by 2050 to meet the projected demand (ravenous exploitation). This needs to be achieved sustainably in order to produce nutritious food without compromising natural capital and ecosystem services that support food production. This target could possibly be achieved by changing consumption patterns; increasing the productivity of crops and animals (e.g. tonnes per hectare, milk solids per cow); adopting the circular economy approach; reducing food losses; and minimising negative externalities in the food supply value-chain. Innovative technologies can also contribute to this goal.
The agri-food sector consumes over 30% of total global end-use energy, mostly from fossil fuels, and emits around 22% of total global anthropogenic greenhouse gases, including methane (from livestock and paddy rice) and nitrous oxide (from fertiliser and animal urine).

The sector also causes almost two-thirds of biodiversity loss, causes extensive land and water degradation, depletes fishing stocks, and over-exploits the world’s aquifers.

The sector needs to be transformed so it can produce enough nutritious food for everyone while minimising its negative impacts on the planet’s resource base, climate, and ecosystems. The modern food supply system is mainly linear with respect to inputs of nutrients, energy, water and increasing distance to markets.

In a BBC program “Feast to save a planet”, (BBC 2021) five special guests were invited to enjoy a unique dining experience that will calculate impact of every dish they choose to a lower carbon footprint.

Food accounts for a third of all our greenhouse gas emissions so one of the biggest things we can do as individuals to help the environment is change what we eat they're actually capturing carbon from the atmosphere.

Environmental scientists will be carefully calculating the carbon footprint of every single item on the menu it's time to reveal how we can all eat delicious food that doesn't cost the Earth.

What could be done to save a planet, then in the opinion of the invited guests? Here are the conclusions:
  • promote the circular economy,
  • popularise zero waste concepts, 
  • support innovative protein production systems,
  • engage consumers in designing future sustainable food supply systems,
  • improve the efficiency of water and energy use along the food supply chain,
  • increase the installation of renewable energy heat and electricity generation systems to displace fossil fuels and provide greater energy access, 
  • propagate precision farming, including more accurate fertiliser, irrigation, and agri-chemical applications,
  • judicious use of chemical inputs to minimise food, water, and wildlife contamination,
  • remote sensing, use of drones for pest monitoring, and smartphones for disease diagnosis; more efficient food processing operations and transport logistics,
  • improved post-harvest storage and better access to markets to reduce food losses,
  • create better consumer education and awareness of food retailing, preparation, cooking and nutrition to help minimise consumer food wastes, 
  • convert remaining food wastes into feed for animals or for insects that can then be processed to supply protein for consumption by humans, fish or poultry.
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