Climate Action, Food Systems and Undernutrition

Martin Bloem

Martin Bloem

Director

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

The world is beginning to understand that our food systems play a role in climate change—and that by improving our food systems now we might be able to mitigate some of the more devastating shifts in climate yet to come. With more than 20 years of experience investigating the negative consequences of our food systems, especially industrial food animal production, the Center for a Livable Future has gained tremendous insight into the associated externalities of the predominant model, one of which is climate change. Other externalities we’ve focused on include antibiotic resistance and environmental degradation, to name a couple.

Across the board, I’ve noticed expanded interest in the connections between food systems and climate action, from the United Nations to nonprofit sustainability organizations to chefs to research institutions to Google to the Prince of Wales. So finally, the interest and will to make positive change is there, from a wide group of stakeholders. But I fear we don’t have much time. We must get our act together and be bold—but I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to do this in a way that’s not only practical, but fair. Read More >

New York Town Goes Meatless, Wants to Do It Again

Christine Grillo

Christine Grillo

Contributing Writer

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

How do you inspire a community to give up meat one day a week for 12 weeks? In Bedford, New York, where more than 300 households took up the Bedford 2020 Meatless Monday challenge last year, some of the motivation came from learning the connections between meat and climate change.

Working with the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) and the Meatless Monday campaign, the environmental grassroots group known as Bedford 2020 was able to offer science-based information that moved the community. One of the promotions from the challenge reads: “Global livestock productions creates more greenhouse gas than the entire transportation sector.” Read More >

Food Trends to Make an Impact in 2019

Becky Ramsing

Becky Ramsing

Senior Program Officer, Food Communities & Public Health Program

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

As you make resolutions and goals for 2019, what’s on your radar? Climate change and our planet’s health are big news stories these days, but if you are like most people, they likely feel unconnected to your daily life, or just plain overwhelming. After all, climate change is a story that began during the Industrial Revolution, as global policies and practices since then have contributed to growing emissions and environmental degradation —and much of that environmental degradation can be attributed to large corporations and businesses. In fact, since 1988 more than half of global greenhouse gas emissions can be traced to only 25 corporate and state producers, according to the Carbon Majors Report. But animal agriculture also plays a major role, with 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gases attributed to the production of animals for food. Clearly, the most significant solutions rest in the hands of policymakers and industry—but there’s a lot consumers can do, too. Read More >

Getting a Handle on Excessive Consumption with Meatless Monday

Martin Bloem

Martin Bloem

Director

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

This post appeared first on the EAT Stockholm Food Forum blog on 5 June, 2018.

The work that my colleagues and I do is focused on building a better food system—but what we are really trying to do is build a better world. The goal is simple: we want a healthier planet with healthier people living on it. The problems we tackle to work toward our goal, however, are rather complex. We tackle challenges such as nutrition, food security, environmental stewardship and land use—and while diet and food production have critical roles to play in each of these challenges, there’s no single solution. Ultimately, we need to think about systems of solutions. And reducing how much meat we consume is one part of that system. Read More >

How the Impossible Burger Stacks Up on Nutrition and Sustainability

Jessi Silverman

Jessi Silverman

Research Assistant

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Patrick Brown, the founder of Impossible Foods (IF), has what may be an impossible-seeming goal: to make meat obsolete. His vision? To create “…uncompromisingly delicious and nutritious meat and dairy products that do not require vast expanses of grazing and feedcrop lands,” and that will win the marketplace against meat. And because meat substitution with plant-based foods could be one strategy to reduce diet-related disease and the environmental burden of animal agriculture, it’s a worthy goal. Read More >

Dear Environmentalists—Let’s Embrace Both Individual and Systemic Change

Raychel Santo

Raychel Santo

Sr. Research Program Coordinator

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

US postage stamp from the 1970s.

Back in October 2011 I participated in Project Green Challenge, a transformational eco-lifestyle and leadership competition for students. (You can even watch my embarrassing video highlighting the experience). The extensive daily challenges I was faced with, from carrying all the trash I generated around with me and assessing the ingredients in my cleaning products to bringing e-cycling boxes to dorms and lobbying for reusable to-go containers in dining halls, cemented into my consciousness the realities of nearly every global environmental issue. Therefore, it was upsetting when I was invited out to California as a finalist for the competition and realized that the ecological footprint of that single roundtrip flight Read More >

Going Further with Food

Jessi Silverman

Jessi Silverman

Research Assistant

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Happy Registered Dietitian Day! As a nutrition and dietetics student, I am thrilled that this year’s National Nutrition Month®, an initiative of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, has a sustainability message: “Go Further with Food.” The idea is to maximize the health benefits of your food choices while minimizing wasted food.

As you likely have heard, wasted food is an enormous problem—the US Department of Agriculture estimated that a stunning 31 percent of food is sent to landfills by retail outlets and consumers. Read More >

How a World War I Rationing Program Could be Cause for Thanks This Holiday Season

Robert Lawrence, MD

Robert Lawrence, MD

Director Emeritus

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Now that the holidays are in full swing, many will gather together with food, family, and friends to celebrate the season as 2017 closes with a bounty of uncertainty. We can be thankful that many American leaders on state and local levels pledged to do their part for the environment, even as federal support for the Paris Climate Accords has waned. Citizens at home can also play a role in acting for the greater good of the world while celebrating the best of what nature has to offer: plant-based foods. It wouldn’t be the first time Americans came together at their tables for a good cause.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Meatless Monday movement. Before it became a hashtag on social media it was a World War I-era food rationing program that asked Americans to express their patriotism by giving up meat one day a week to help feed soldiers and citizens abroad. While its goals have evolved in the last century, the core idea remains as powerful as ever: individual actions can have a broad impact when practiced on a large scale. Read More >

COP23 Recognizes – Sort of – Livestock’s Role in Climate Change

Erin Biehl

Erin Biehl

Senior Program Coordinator

Food System Sustainability and Public Health Program

When I arrived at COP23 in Bonn, Germany, I faced a giant elephant in the room. Or rather, a giant beefy steer. Either way, there was an urgent climate change solution being largely ignored at the annual Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). That urgent climate change solution is to reduce meat consumption. Read More >

Food Solutions to Climate Change

Peter Bruce-iri

Peter Bruce-iri

Guest Blogger

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Originally published on Local Food NorthlandWow. Who would have thought that there are so many ways that we can reverse climate change. The Drawdown project, led by Paul Hawken is a game changer.  His project team details 80 ways we can take greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. Drawdown is the point where globally we start to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases (referred to as carbon equivalents).

The project groups the 80 interventions into 7 clusters, and the cluster that can generate the highest reduction – 31 percent – is FOOD! Between 2020 and 2050, food initiatives that are already underway can reduce greenhouse gases by 321.9 gigatonnes. Read More >