15 May Useful Resources
- Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems
In early 2019 the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health launched a report written by 37 world-leading scientists, which represents the most comprehensive effort to date to make explicit the links between diets and human health and environmental sustainability. After a three-year process of expert evidence-gathering and scientific research, the Commission presented recommendations for a diet that could feed 10 billion in 2050 within a safe planetary operating space, meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement ambitions, while achieving a 20% drop in premature adult mortality.The production parameters include no increase in land area for production, a safeguarding of biodiversity and freshwater sources, reduced nitrogen and phosphorous pollution and zero carbon emissions. The diet itself requires no increase in cereal production but allows for a drastic increase – 100% – of fruits, vegetables, legumes and nut consumption. The major dietary change is a 65% reduction in global red-meat consumption. The report states that even small increases in global meat and dairy consumption make the goal of sustainably feeding 10 billion people by 2050 unachievable.
- The Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition, and Climate Change: The Lancet Commission report
Malnutrition in all its forms, including obesity, undernutrition, and other dietary risks, is the leading cause of poor health globally. In the near future, the health effects of climate change will considerably compound these health challenges. Climate change can be considered a pandemic because of its sweeping effects on the health of humans and the natural systems we depend on (ie, planetary health). These three pandemics—obesity, undernutrition, and climate change—represent The Global Syndemic that affects most people in every country and region worldwide. They constitute a syndemic, or synergy of epidemics, because they co-occur in time and place, interact with each other to produce complex sequelae, and share common underlying societal drivers. This Commission recommends comprehensive actions to address obesity within the context of The Global Syndemic, which represents the paramount health challenge for humans, the environment, and our planet in the 21st century.Although the Commission’s mandate was to address obesity, a deliberative process led to reframing of the problem and expansion of the mandate to offer recommendations to collectively address the triple-burden challenges of The Global Syndemic.
- WWF Agri-Food Systems: Facts and Futures
We need a fundamental overhaul of our food system which, in its current form, is a threat to the environment and human health. This report, which looks at the future of food production in Africa, notes that the way in which we put food on our tables has done more damage to our natural environment than any other human enterprise. It escalates biodiversity loss, deforestation, desertification and soil degradation, contributes to water scarcity and declining water quality, and, is causing widespread damage to marine ecosystems. Yet, to feed a growing global population, we will need to double food production by 2050. In South Africa this means producing enough to feed as many as 73 million people.The visible manifestations of the current system failure are food poverty, hunger and malnutrition, a lack of dietary diversity, child wasting and stunting, increased vulnerability to disease and an obesity epidemic. To turn this around, the report argues for a complete transformation of the system with efforts focused on those most affected by the nutritional deficit, namely women and children in low-income communities.
- Incorporating Food into Urban Planning
A toolkit for planning educators in Africa.
It is critical for planners in Africa to think about food issues. This toolkit was designed to help planners develop theoretical and practical knowledge about food-sensitive planning, with the specific aim of supporting the teaching around these issues in a context-sensitive way in Africa. While this is a more advanced discipline in North America, Europe and elsewhere, it is important to note that food systems planning in the African context is still being developed. As such, this toolkit aims to act as a working framework and part of an ongoing conversation that needs to be far more rigorous, nuanced and rooted in the local context. This development will need to happen in an iterative way with practice informing these ideas and the way in which they are taught. This toolkit is intended to help educators further develop this conversation with their students.