Organic logo design for HumiVerde

By Alice Hutchins

The human population has swelled in the last century and scientists are tackling the problem of how to feed the growing population in future years. In recent weeks, the DERN blog posts have discussed the issue of climate change, and one of the largest contributors to this increasing disaster is the amount of deforestation that occurs in order to create farm-lands to support meat consumption. However, the planetary health diet that scientists are suggesting may feed 10 billion people by 2050, does not completely ban the consumption of meat and dairy products as other ‘environmentally friendly’ diets suggest. It simply proposes that we eat smaller quantities of red meats like beef and lamb and their produce, and derive our main source of protein from nuts and legumes instead.

It’s no change that there is major emphasis on fruit and vegetables, and the health benefits that these can have for us and for the environment, but the biggest adjustment to most people’s diets would be the limited amount of red meat. In order to encourage people to adopt this new diet, and promote white meats like chicken and fish, there have been suggestions to place taxes on red meats. Scientists predict that a change in red meat consumption in itself could save around 11 million people’s lives each year through a reduction in related diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, and cancers. It would also have a huge impact on reducing green-houses gasses by around 40{ec5f16bc0d3188d22af0c52b0a003021539d5e8f81ad0cf83bf30b7820bde39f} and prevent further deforestation through expansion of farm-lands.

The EAT-Lancet commission, a group of 37 scientists who have been researching and creating the flexitarian diet for over two years, suggest that we need to make the farm-land we already have more efficient at producing food, and diminish the severe amount of food-waste that is produced by individuals and cities every year. If this was achieved, it could begin to reverse the effects of climate change, as well as guaranteeing that no species would go extinct through links to human consumption. It is also believed that this would have a huge impact on preserving water sources, as ‘agriculture and food productions are one of the biggest threats, consuming 70{ec5f16bc0d3188d22af0c52b0a003021539d5e8f81ad0cf83bf30b7820bde39f} of global freshwater sources for irrigation.’
For more information on the exact portions and combinations of the planetary health diet, please visit the BBC health section.
A bit of meat, a lot of veg – the flexitarian diet to feed 10 billion Alternatives to the Lancet flexitarian diet include:

Going completely vegan ‘A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use’ –  Joseph Poore, University of Oxford
Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers

Adopting a diet like meat-free Mondays, which aims to: ‘raise awareness of the detrimental environmental impact of eating meat, and to encourage people to help slow climate change, conserve precious natural resources and improve their health by having at least one meat free day each week. –

And a diet based wholly on sourcing sustainable meat, whilst nurturing natural food producers like bees, oils and oceans: ‘Bees are great, they pollinate over 75{ec5f16bc0d3188d22af0c52b0a003021539d5e8f81ad0cf83bf30b7820bde39f} of what we eat’ –