By Hakeem Jimoh
In case you missed it: World Food Day is celebrated every year around the world on 16 October to comemmorate the founding date of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation in 1945.
The day is celebrated widely by many other organisations concerned with food security, including the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. This year’s World Food Day motto: Family Farming: “Feeding the world, caring for the earth”
More and more people including prominent ones are joining into the canon of a more sensible way how we eat – especially regarding our ressource wasting and environment damaging consumption of meat. Flamboyant personality and business tycoon Richard Branson gave up beef earlier this year. He wrote in a blog about producing food for future generations as part of World Food Day.
“More and more people recognise that conventional meat production can have truly devastating environmental impacts. It’s one of the reasons I gave up eating beef earlier this year, and it looks like I am not the only one. Surprisingly, for myself, I haven’t missed it at all.
“If we could get many other people to do the same, we would be healthier, and we would help sustain the beautiful biodiversity we are losing in the rainforests.”
“As more people come out of poverty in emerging markets, the worst thing that could happen is that demand for cattle continuing to rise. If that happened we would soon have little rainforest left in the world, little biodiversity and climate change would accelerate.“
Branson is referring to the increasing demand for meat as the world’s population of 7 billion grows and the impact this has on the environment. About 40 per cent of the the world’s land is used to support livestock, driving deforestation.
And with livestock responsible for between 15 and 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, there may be no other single human activity that has a bigger impact on the planet than the raising of livestock. One study earlier this year found that eating less red meat would be a better way for people to cut carbon emissions than giving up their cars.
As the World Food Day just passed, let’s think about how future generations are going to be able produce enough food without doing irreversible damage to the environment.