On Agriculture, Health, the Environment and more

Photo by Joao Marcelo Marques

Photo by Joao Marcelo Marques

Last week, the UN released "Climate Change and the Land", which incorporates views from 107 scientists and research from over 7,000 studies. The following are selected comments:

  • "Diversification in the food system (e.g., implementation of integrated production systems, broad-based genetic resources, and diets) can reduce risks from climate changeBalanced diets, featuring plant-based foods, such as those based on coarse grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and animal-sourced food produced in resilient, sustainable and low-[greenhouse gas] emission systems,present major opportunities [to adapt/mitigate environmental risks and generate significant human health benefits].

  • "Currently, 25-30% of total food produced is lost or wasted[which is associated with GHG emissions] … Changes in consumption patterns have contributed to about 2 billion adults now being overweight or obese … An estimated 821 million people are still undernourished.

  • "Climate change, including increases in frequency and intensity of extremes, has adversely impacted food security and terrestrial ecosystems as well as contributed to desertification and land degradation in many regions.

  • "Expansion of areas under agriculture and forestry, including commercial production, and enhanced agriculture and forestry productivity have supported consumption and food availability for a growing population ... these changes have contributed to increasing net GHG emissions ... loss of natural ecosystems (e.g. forests, savannahs, natural grasslands and wetlands) and declining biodiversity."


  • As the financial and physical impacts of climate change become more apparent, businesses need to factor these risks into their strategies.

  • Innovators will adapt and/or introduce products and services to address the changing environmental landscape.

  • Policy makers will need to consider initiatives in areas such as 1) geoengineering, 2) tax schemes (including some related to meat), 3) the environmental impact of ridesharing/scooter services, 4) new recycling approachesand more.

  • For individuals, an “eat healthier, waste less, walk more” approach should provide positive environmental and health benefits.

Paul Dravis