Changing the food system, piece by piece

Hot on the heels of the Dasgupta Review1, here comes Food System Impacts on Biodiversity Loss, courtesy of Prof. Tim Benton of Chatham House and co-authors. Dasgupta said that losing biodiversity is bad, and we should try to stop it, and now. Benton says that the food system is to blame for biodiversity loss, and we can do something about it: by changing diets, by setting aside areas of nature and by farming more sustainably. He calls on the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) to embed a ‘food systems approach’ across key international processes, including UN climate negotiations.

Lawrence Haddad of GAIN is chair of Action Track 1 of the Summit: Ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all. So it’s likely he gets a lot of advice like Prof. Benton’s about what should be done. In a blog post, he says that suggested “game-changers” seem to fall into five groups, no less:

  1. Rethinking current incentives
  2. Not wasting the crisis
  3. Breaking down barriers between fields
  4. Doing the obvious things, better
  5. Changing mindsets

It can all get a bit confusing, I have to say. So many ideas, options, trade-offs. Dr Haddad has multiple examples in each of those groups, and you and I could probably think of more. What’s to be done? How do we decide? Maybe, as the UNFSS process develops, some clear priorities will emerge. But perhaps we shouldn’t bank on that, nor do we need to. Perhaps, the thing to do… is to do everything. Certainly, we need to do something, and many, many little things might be easier to do, and better, than a few big things.

And to keep all our options open, to allow us to do everything we can think of, we’ll need all the crop diversity we can save, of course.

  1. On which more here. []

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