Plant-based diets, land protection and nature-friendly farming can create a more sustainable global food system that stops biodiversity loss, a new report says.
The report ‘Food system impacts on biodiversity loss‘, published by the English policy institute Chatham House, looks at the role of our global food system as the main driver of accelerating biodiversity loss.
Without changing our food system, we will continue to destroy our natural world and its animals, the report states.
It explains how food production, especially industrial animal farming and the demand for cheaper production of food, is destroying nature and contributing to species extinction.
The paper has three recommendations for policy makers to reduce pressures on land and create a more sustainable food system.
The first is to promote a more plant-based diet. Demand for meat worldwide is too high, and animal farming is one of the biggest destroyers of nature. Forests are torn down to either keep animals or produce food, mainly soy, for farm animals.
In some countries, people have grown accustomed to eating large portions of meat daily. The report states that this huge demand for meat needs to go down, so deforestation stops.
By reducing the consumption of meat, there is room for the second step: protect and set aside (farm)land for nature, restoring ecosystems worldwide to promote biodiversity.
The third is to shift to more organic and sustainable farming with respect for nature and animals instead of industrial farming.
Policy makers have to focus on all three recommendations in the coming international summits and conferences on food systems, climate change, biological diversity and health care.
For a long time, the ‘changing food systems approach’ hasn’t been a part of policy decisions, but the report emphasizes the need for actions based on plant-based diets and preserving nature to save the world.