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From; “Science” magazine, 16 September 2016, pages 1202 -1204


“PLATING UP SOLUTIONS”, by Tara Garnett, Food Climate Research Network, Oxford University


Garnett’s article defines the concerns of how to feed healthy food to people of various cultures while maintaining a sustainable low impact to the environment. The article has considered a variety of global locations, diet preferences, as well as food types and production/transportation methods.


Garnett indicates that various diets create various environmental impacts. Additionally, various methods of growing the food also create a variety of impacts. Meats have the additional impact of growing feed to be consumed by the animals; although ruminants can eat grasses grown in areas not suitable for legume crops. Chickens require food that could be eaten directly by humans and therefore are not the most efficient.


The question-framing plus data sources and methodologies required for such a study are variables that can only muddy the results.


Attempting to convince large populations to change, for example “western style” diets based only on environmental impact will fail. Economics will be the change-agent that impacts people’s choices in diet. However, I cannot avoid the fact that the Catholic Church was quite effective in getting people to include fish in their diet. This was based on metaphysical/moral grounds. If the environmental problems are strong enough to become a metaphysical/moral concern, that may drive the results.