Increased awareness of how human diets acerbate climate change – while failing to properly nourish more than 800 million people – makes a better understanding of food systems a global priority.
Increased awareness of how human diets acerbate climate change – while failing to properly nourish more than 800 million people – makes a better understanding of food systems a global priority. Global initiatives now call for us to transform our diets – for our health and the health of the planet – to help make food systems “sustainable.” But researchers at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and colleagues argue that social and economic variables also need to be included if we are to understand exactly how sustainable our food systems are.
The researchers scoured almost two decades of scientific literature related to food systems. They settled on 20 indicators that are available to 97 countries from low-, middle- and high-income regions, and built a global map to rate the sustainability of food systems across the globe. The indicator can be used to track changes in sustainability over time and has the potential to guide policy and action as climate change, rising populations, and increased demand for food place unprecedented pressure on global food systems.
“Addressing the question of the (un)sustainability of our food systems is critical as the world is bracing for hard-choice challenges and potentially massive tradeoffs around issues related to food quality and food security in the coming decades,” wrote the authors in the journal Scientific Data, which is published by Nature. The research was published on November 25.
Food systems – which refer to the whole web of food production and consumption, from pre-production to food waste – are still a relatively new area of research. There is still little uniformity in terms of indicators used by researchers, governments and international development organizations. This research also aimed to seek standardized terms and methods to help further food systems research.
Read more at International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
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