A recent report by the UN highlights a growing threat to our food system due to a decline in biodiversity. As the plants, animals and microorganisms necessary for food production diminish, the report notes that if these critical species are lost that it “places the future of our food system under severe threat.”
“Land-use changes, pollution, and climate change are all causing biodiversity loss,” reports BBC.com. The article went on to highlight the two main messages of the report. Firstly that we are, “relying on an ever smaller number of foodstuffs to feed a growing population that’s expected to rise to around 10 billion people by 2050.” Secondly that, “many of these species that support food and agriculture are under threat or declining. Around a thousand wild food species, mainly plants, fish and mammals are decreasing in abundance.”
Worryingly, “the lack of biodiversity can leave food production much more vulnerable to shocks, such as outbreaks of disease and pests.” The Irish potato famine of the 1840s is mentioned as an example of what can happen when disease hits an already over-relied upon crop. “While nothing on the scale of famine is now predicted, the new study highlights a number of examples where the loss of biodiversity is impacting people’s lives and diets.”
So what are we to do, are there actions we can take as individuals to use biodiversity in a more sustainable way? The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization says that as consumers we can have an impact. Simple examples of action are choosing sustainably grown products from farmers’ markets or not purchasing foods that are known to be unsustainable.
#EarthsCall #Biodiversity #SustainableShopping