A study published by The International Journal of Science shows that the food industry is a major driver of climate change, changes in land use, depletion of freshwater resources, and pollution of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The study shows that as a result of population growth between 2010 and 2050, the effects of the food system could reach “levels that are beyond the planetary boundaries that define a safe operating space for humanity.”
The researchers analysed various options for reducing the environmental effects of the food system, including dietary changes towards healthier, more plant-based diets, improvements in technologies and management, and reductions in food loss and waste.
According to the results, people need to eat 75% less red meat, 90% less pork, and half as many eggs on average, to avoid catastrophic damage and to ensure that food supplies will be sufficient for a 10 billion population, which we are set to reacg within this century.
The researchers found that no single measure is enough to keep these effects within planetary boundaries simultaneously, and that a combination of measures, including plant-based diets and improved management of resources, will be necessary to mitigate the projected effects upon our planet.