Agricultural intensification could roughly halve the area of cropland required to produce current levels of output; FCRN member Bálint Balázs argues that Eastern Europe is an overlooked source of inspiration for food policies; and local authorities in Wuhan ban eating or hunting wild animals (except for scientific purposes).
In case you missed it, last week we published a new Foodsource Building Block: Methane and the sustainability of ruminant livestock. The piece introduces the fundamental climate science of two climate metrics (GWP100 and GWP*), highlights some policy and practical considerations relating to different ways of thinking about emissions, and finally situates the discussion within the context of wider concerns about livestock production and sustainability. John Lynch, lead author of the Building Block, has also written a blog post: Can we keep farming cows and sheep without dangerously warming the planet?
In Fodder this week
The carbon footprint of Brazilian soy varies highly depending on the specific region it comes from; a 15% or 30% meat tax or a 10% fruit and vegetable subsidy in the Netherlands would have net benefits to society when considering health and environmental impacts; and “chaos gardens” are feeding food banks and other community groups in the US.
US crop workers could be exposed to three times as many dangerously hot days by the end of the century; the Cercedilla Manifesto calls for scientific meetings to be organised along principles of sustainability; the Breakthrough Institute argues that the benefits of a globalised food system for resilience should not be forgotten; and a study of the UK shows higher ultra-processed food consumption is associated with a higher prevalence of obesity.
Feedback argues that it’s time to divest from large livestock corporations; a paper predicts that climate-driven disruption of ecosystems is likely to happen suddenly, but that the risks will be much lower if climate change can minimised; and the interim report of the Dasgupta review on the Economics of Biodiversity sets out a framework for understanding the economic implications of ecosystem degradation and protection.
A paper maps “foodsheds” - regions that could potentially be self-sufficient in a particular crop - and concludes that less than one-third of the world’s population can be fed on crops produced within 100 km of where they live; a study looks at the statistical links between 12 food system drivers and overall sustainability; and Beyond GM reports on a “world café” that identified some areas of conflict and unexpected agreement between different stakeholders in the debate on genome editing.
Working viral: open forum for remote working support
In case you missed it, the FCRN has set up an open forum in which we can share our experiences of remote working. The aim is to test and evolve the new ways of collaborating virtually that will be needed in a 1.5°C world.
In Fodder this week
The Royal Society synthesises the evidence linking soil structure to biodiversity, agricultural productivity, clean water/flood prevention and climate change mitigation; a new paper uses simple emissions scenarios to illustrate how GWP* works in predicting climate warming from methane; and a paper offers a hopeful vision of how ocean health can recover if given the chance.
Conserving and building soil carbon could mitigate around 7% of annual anthropogenic CO2 emissions; urban horticulture could provide a significant proportion of fruit and vegetables for city residents, based on a case study of Sheffield; and England spends relatively little on monitoring the quality of soil, compared to water and air.
Working viral: sustainability by necessity - a new forum
As a result of the spread of the COVID-19 virus, many of us are now forced to work from home. While the circumstances are tragic, the current situation nevertheless provides an opportunity to test and evolve the new ways of collaborating virtually that will be needed in a 1.5°C world.
We have set up an open forum for us all to share our ideas and experiences of how we've tried to adapt to the new circumstances and to working remotely, and for exchanging views on which forms of online collaborative activities work and which don't.
Taking part in the forum is very simple - you only need a Google account. We’d be delighted to hear your thoughts, whether detailed or very informal.
In Fodder this week
FCRN member Hayo van der Werf calls for better life cycle assessment of organic and agroecological farming; Nicole Tichenor Blackstone compares the EAT-Lancet diet to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans; Lukas Paul Fesenfeld explores how “packaging” several food policies together can increase acceptance among voters.
FCRN member Margareta Lelea uses the pineapple supply chain in Uganda as an example to argue that understanding local uses of waste streams is vital when trying to reduce post-harvest losses; Elin Röös assesses the environmental performance of the Swedish diet relative to global environmental boundaries; Our World in Data finds that the hierarchy of carbon footprints between food categories does not change much depending on whether methane is included or not; and Action on Salt finds that many healthy-sounding plant-based meals being served in restaurants, fast food outlets and cafés contain high levels of salt.
UK supermarkets are only reporting patchily on their efforts to promote healthy diets and improve the nutritional profiles of their products; solutions for conserving insects on agricultural land; and an overview of the global opportunities for reducing methane emissions.