Dietary shifts as a strategy to mitigate environmental impacts

Room 300
Dr. Alon Shepon, Harvard medical school

Feeding a growing population while minimizing environmental degradation is a global challenge. It is now clear that because of the enormous regional to global impacts of livestock on air and water quality, biodiversity, land use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, adequately feeding 9 plus billion humans will require thoroughly rethinking food production and consumption. Because they strongly impact food production, dietary preference play a major role in food systems with major impacts on the environment and public health. Recent analyses link environment, economy and health through the diet nexus, highlighting the huge environmental mitigation potential of changing diets (especially reduction in beef consumption) comparable to changes in agriculture productivity. In this talk I will review current literature on dietary shifts as a strategy to alleviate environmental impacts. In addition I will present an on-going research that assesses the environmental burdens of individual animal-based food items in the American food system and quantifies the ramifications of potential dietary changes to resource usage and food availability


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