GCC Think Act Tank cover 2019

Why Do We Urgently Need Sustainable Agriculture and Food Production?

According to both the FAO and the IPCC, global food production alone is responsible for a major proportion of greenhouse gas emissions. Not only are millions of hectares of forests being cut down annually in order to create space for more land to be cultivated, much of which is being wasted in many ways: crops are being grown to produce biofuels, or to feed cattle and other domesticated animals which ultimately end up on the human plate when those animals are being slaughtered.

 

Sustainable agriculture signifies that with a rapidly growing world population, we can no longer afford to waste essential natural resources. Moreover, poorly managed soils can take up to a century to recover and impoverished soils lead to impoverished nutritional values in any crop, or any food grown and produced.

 

What alternatives do we have?

 

  1. Using AI (Artificial Intelligence) to improve production methods in agriculture and farming.
  2. Radically reduce food waste, everywhere on this planet. Currently, much of crop/food is being thrown away.
  3. End (or at least reduce) animal farming drastically.
  4. Stop growing crops for the sake of, and stop wasting land, to produce biofuels.
  5. Transform the global agriculture and food sectors into increasingly much plant-based diets for human beings.
  6. Start valuing forests and trees as an essential source of food and nutrition not only for human beings, but also for animals.
  7. Innovate completely new food products, including food grown in laboratories ethically.

A-M. Yritys August 9, 2019

 

 

Dry Chanterelles

Why Raping Forests Leads to Climate Change and Losses in Biodiversity

This is what chanterelles look like when the forest is dry and it hasn’t been raining for a while. In 2018, there were no chanterelles at all before August due to drought in Finland. Normally you can find chanterelles in June already. Last year’s mushroom crop was quite poor all in all. And when forests are being cut down, biodiversity suffers. No mushrooms grow in a cut down forest. Climate change and raping our local and global forests leads to huge losses in biodiversity and forest animals have less and less space to live.

 

We can also not start irrigating all forests of the world when and where there is lack of rain or freshwater (and groundwater). Too many unnecessary fresh water resources are already being wasted by irrigating cultivated land, including rice fields and vineyards.

 

Nor can we afford to experiment with activities such as importing whole icebergs due to lack of fresh water. Read more about importing icebergs by googling UAE and a lack of fresh water resources.

 

Life on planet Earth should not have to be an attempted imitation or reconstruction of the Frankenstein story.

 

#biodiversity #climatechange #foodsecurity #forestfood

 

Chanterelle Season. Anne-Maria Yritys 2018.

What is The Climate Impact of Food Production and Agriculture?

When I first started to replace specific meat products in my regular diet many years ago, my decision was not based upon the impact of food (and meat) on the environment or the fact that the production of specific products (such as cheese and beef in particular) have a far greater impact on our environment than many other options of food that can replace an excessive consumption of food products with a heavier CO2 footprint. I moved away from using certain meat products due to the fact that I thought these would be healthier options, such as using textured soy protein granules instead of minced meat when cooking at home. As opposed to minced meat, the consistency of soy protein granules is far less fatty (0,8g fat/100g) and includes much more proteins (53g/100g).

It has been delightful to notice how the out-of-home and retail food markets for instance in Finland have developed in recent years, with more and more vegetarian or even vegan product launches from traditional “meat brands”. While meat consumption per capita in Finland and in Europe is still very high (Eurostat 2019), meat consumption per capita is slowly decreasing although the European Commission forecasts a growing world demand for meat by 2025 while at the same time seeing a slight decline in the GHG´s  (greenhouse gas emissions) caused by meat production and consumption in the EU.

According to both EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in the USA and the EC (European Commission) in Europe, agriculture alone accounts for between 9-10% of all global greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide CO2 and methane CH4, whereas industry, electricity and transportation today all account for between 20-30% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Although agriculture alone accounts for “only” around one tenth of all global greenhouse gas emissions as per today, it is a fact that industrial agriculture and animal farming require both electricity and transportation in addition to the fact that industrial agriculture/farming with poor land, waste and water management practices in reality cause far more harm to our environment leading to changes in not only landscapes around the world but also impoverishment and erosion of soils.

This is a far too complex issue to be addressed in one article, although an idealist could state that in an ideal (utopian) world we should all be growing our own food on small plots of land and give up the idea of any commercial food production or industrialized agriculture and farming. People would consume increasingly much fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and less (or zero) animal products, including any dairy or meat.

With a growing number of vegetarians and vegans around the world and many developed countries focusing upon a growth of overall food consumption from close food production (i.e. a food chain whereby the food has been produced locally), urban farming and other ideological attempts to reduce one´s carbon footprint (or, more precisely: greenhouse gas footprint since carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas) through eating habits, this ideology of a utopia has become a reality for consumers who know better and who try to save the world or perhaps themselves through better choices both in terms of personal health, the well-being of animals and the well-being of our environment.

However naive idealists may be in their attempts of saving a collapsing world or a collapsing environment, it is a fact that our current way of living on this planet is unsustainable. People in developed countries are consuming at a rate where we would need at least three or more planet Earth´s although we actually live on the only planet of this capacity in our entire galaxy, and no one has yet managed to find another planet in the entire Universe where all of humanity can pack their bags and move if and when we manage to destroy our current ecosystem, a good and realistic possibility and a vision in the upcoming few decades if we keep destroying our home planet at this rate.

 

There is no Planet B.

If you are unsure about what actions you can take in terms of protecting the environment and our only home planet, start by searching “carbon footprint calculator” on the Internet. I would rename all existing carbon footprint calculators to “greenhouse gas emission footprint calculators” due to the somewhat misleading name, since carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas that has a negative impact on our environment, causing us humans to change the Earth´s climate through the greenhouse effect, where all greenhouse gas emissions combined form an artificial greenhouse that is year by year warming the Earth´s atmosphere unless we manage to stop or even reverse this development and which is the reason behind the Paris Agreement from 2015.

One very simple way of individual climate and environment action is to start eating and consuming for instance food products in a wiser manner. Cut down on (red) meat consumption, and cut down your overall consumption of dairy products. Eat more locally produced food. Eat at least half a kilogram of fruits and vegetables every day (good for your personal health too). Replace some of your meat consumption with vegetarian or vegan alternatives. Eat a handful of nuts or seeds (unless you have an allergy of course) on a daily basis. Do not throw away food or if you do, please see if you can place it in the biodegradable waste. Improve your overall recycling habits. If recycling in your home city/country is at a poor or non-existing level, do something about it! There are many business opportunities involved within for instance the recycling sector, such as using certain waste materials to produce energy and heat.

Anne-Maria Yritys 16.2.2019.

All rights reserved.

 

Chanterelle. A-M. Yritys 2017

What Do You Know About Climate-Friendly Food Production?

Suomessa kauppojen hyllyt pursuavat mitä erilaisempia riisituotteita samalla kun kotimainen ohra on jäänyt ihmisiltä lähes unohduksiin. Ohra on edullinen, kotimainen, maukas ja ympäristöystävällinen vaihtoehto riisille, jonka tuotanto/viljely yksin tutkitusti aiheuttaa ainakin 7% maailman metaanipäästöistä.

Riisin syönnin korvaaminen ohralla on siis ilmastoteko.

Suomessa on arvokkaita elintarvikkeita, joita voidaan markkinoida maailmallekin. Miksi maksamme maltaita esim. ulkomaisista supermarjoista samalla kun omat metsämme joka vuosi pursuavat omista vitamiinipommeista?

Ymmärrämmekö omien elintarvikkeidemme päälle? Suomesta viedään jo nyt esim. tonneittain herkkutatteja Italiaan joka vuosi.

A-M. Yritys 29.12.2018

======================================

In Finland supermarkets are selling plenty of different rice products while at the same time, our domestic barley has nearly been forgotten. Barley is an inexpensive, domestic, tasty and climate-friendly alternative to rice, the cultivation of which according to research, alone causes at least seven (7) percent of all methane emissions worldwide.

Replacing rice consumption with barley is thus an environmentally friendly act.

Finland is home to valuable foodstuff that can be marketed not only in Finland, but to the rest of the world. Why do we, for instance, pay high prices for foreign superberries while our own forests each year produce our own vitamin bombs?

Do we understand the value of our own (natural) food products? At the time being, Finland already exports tons of porcini to e.g. Italy each year.

A-M. Yritys 29.12.2018

Chanterelle. A-M. Yritys 2017
Chanterelle. A-M. Yritys 2017

Climate Change Major Risk To Food And Nutrition Stability

Global Climate Change (90).jpg

“FAO Strategy on Climate Change. Rome, July 2017. The risks to food and nutrition stability are aggravated by the expected increase of the frequency and intensity of climate-related events.”

================================================================

What kinds of climate-related events can you think of in your own living environment in the (recent) past that affected food (or, even fresh water) stability? Everyone who is consuming media products (i.e. reading/watching) news either in printed versions or digitally, has certainly become aware of a number of climate-related natural events, if not globally, at least locally. I have personally noticed that climate change-related news (broadcasting) has increased in the past years. To some extent, I maybe notice climate-related news since I am personally interested in the topic, but it certainly is not only a subjective perception. Perhaps, at this very moment, someone is conducting research upon the topic, or at least it could be a possible topic for research, especially since news are always to some extent locally tailored, and we do cannot read/watch everything on the news what is happening worldwide (unless we specifically do research upon a specific topic/geographical area).

Following article, published in PNAS vol. 114 no. 19 (Diffenbaugh, N.S., Singh, D., Mankin, J.S., Horton, D.E. & al.), presents research findings from a group of Earth System scientists through observations and a climate model ensemble: Quantifying the influence of global warming on unprecedented extreme climate events

Due to heavy rainfall in Finland this year, and in autumn 2017, we lost 40% of total crop yields this year, whereby farmers affected are obliged to seek financial aid from the state and from the European Union. However, according to LUKE – Natural Resources Institute Finland, 2/3 (around 67%) of ALL grain produced in Finland every year is used to feed animals. This signifies that majority of all grain produced goes to feed animals that end up being eaten by us consumers (human beings).

Does this make any sense at all? What do you think? Looking forward to any comments/thoughts on the topic.

Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys. For climate/environment-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank. Subscribe to Leading With Passion to receive my latest posts.

Take a step further to create YOUR online business. Learn more about the many benefits of how to create a beautiful website with WordPress.com and how to monetize your blog/website:

WordPress.com – Create A Beautiful Website

Jetpack – The ideal way to experience WordPress – Code-free Customization

WooCommerce – The most customizable eCommerce platform for building your online business

 

 

Climate Change Affects The Purchasing Power of Consumers

Global Climate Change (88).jpg

“FAO Strategy on Climate Change. Rome, July 2017. Climate change compromises food access by affecting the purchasing power of consumers, especially the poor.”

===============================================================

Food security and access to (healthy) food, according to the FAO – World Agriculture: Towards 2015/2030, currently relies rather upon socio-economic conditions than  agroclimatic ones, whereby the effects of climate change on food security are complex in terms of assessing its in/direct impacts on food security. Furthermore, according to FAO, does food security rely more upon PESTLE factors in societies across the world, including poverty reduction, women´s education and quality of drinking water.

What impacts the purchasing power of consumers, in general? Simply stated, inflation has a major influence upon the purchasing power of consumers. In economy, what matters is not necessarily the amount of money available, but what the purchasing value is of that currency in the (world) economy. The higher the inflation, the lower the value of a currency, and the more actual currency is needed to purchase something, e.g. food. If inflation is high, and e.g. food prices simultaneously rise, it is a natural consequence that consumers will need more currency to buy a product. And, if there is not enough currency available (what concerns especially majority of poor people worldwide), there is also no possibility of buying a certain product. High taxation on food products, and a small amount of population (limited market), and a lack of competition on a market also affect food prices. If, e.g. only one company has a monopoly on a specific market, it will have the competitive advantage of setting the prices, while on competitive markets with a number of providers prices tend to be lower thanks to a healthy amount of competition.

Moreover, if and when resources are scarce (added to low purchasing power), prices tend to rise, whereby those with low income have no possibility of purchasing products above a certain price limit, unless income/wages simultaneously go up equally much to support the purchasing power of consumers. In developed economies therefore, inflation generally tends to be at very low and stable levels, while factors such as a low rate of development, wars, and other major PESTLE factors influencing an economy, such as general instability, corruption etc. tend to raise inflation to sometimes almost incomprehensible numbers.

Watch United Nations video “Hunger is there because people do not have the purchasing power” (Olivier De Schutter):

 

 

Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys. For climate/environment-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank. Subscribe to Leading With Passion to receive my latest posts.

Take a step further to create YOUR online business. Learn more about the many benefits of how to create a beautiful website with WordPress.com and how to monetize your blog/website:

WordPress.com – Create A Beautiful Website

Jetpack – The ideal way to experience WordPress – Code-free Customization

WooCommerce – The most customizable eCommerce platform for building your online business

Food Availability Worldwide Will Be Compromised By Climate Change

Global Climate Change (87).jpg

“FAO Strategy on Climate Change. Rome, July 2017. Food availability will be compromised by projected yield declines across the crop, livestock, fisheries and aquaculture sectors.”

================================================================

It is time for the world population to rethink and to change old habits, find completely new solutions and innovate to create a sustainable world. There is no single country in this world that will be spared from the consequences of climate change. We have already consumed most of this world´s fresh water resources, and are now consuming ground water. Needless to say, nothing on this planet can exist without fresh water. We need fresh water for EVERYTHING.

We simply cannot afford continue poor soil management practices, cutting down too many forests/tropical forests, polluting our environment and the air we breathe, over-fishing, and consuming too much of everything without any proper action and or understanding of what kinds of impacts this has on our environment and nature, ourselves and our livelihoods, and ultimately, future generations. How we live and consume today has a direct impact on our society as a whole, and on what we leave behind to our children, or the children of other people for those who have no biological children.

Anthropogenic climate change is not something that occurs only to a number of regions or people in this world. It affects all of us. And, the faster we take responsible actions and reshape our consumption habits, the faster will we experience positive results, and, can look forward to more healthy years on our planet. Climate change, affecting all of us, also requires that everyone of us takes action on a personal level by improving our individual consumption habits. We can all very easily make smarter choices and influence businesses to become increasingly much sustainable, because healthy environments and healthy lives are rights that belong to all of us. We all deserve to live in clean and peaceful environments and societies.

Anne-Maria Yritys. All rights reserved.

Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys – for climate-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank & subscribe to my newsletter at Leading With Passion

 

 

Climate Change Is Threatening Food Security

Global Climate Change (86).jpg

“FAO Strategy on Climate Change. Rome, July 2017. Food security. Climate change stands to undermine the four dimensions of food security.”

==============================================================

How does the FAO define food security, and what are the four dimensions of food security according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations?

Read the complete report here: FAO Strategy on Climate Change, Rome, July 2017

Quite simply, FOOD SECURITY can be defined through following criteria:

  • FOOD AVAILABILITY, e.g. crop yields, amount of (safe) seafood etc.
  • FOOD ACCESS, for example purchasing power of consumers
  • FOOD UTILIZATION, primarily food safety, food-borne diseases and nutritional value of a specific food product
  • FOOD STABILITY, suggesting that e.g. natural disasters may cause hazards to e.g. crop yields

Watch following panel discussion, where representatives from both National Geographic and the FAO discuss Food Security in an Insecure World – Future of Food:

 

Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys – for climate-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank & subscribe to Leading With Passion to receive my newsletter.

Is Agriculture Responsible For Climate Change?

Global Climate Change (81).jpg

“FAO Strategy on Climate Change. Rome, July 2017. Agriculture and food systems are partly responsible for increased temperatures but are also a fundamental part of the solution to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and promote adaptation to a changing climate.”

=================================================================

 

 

 

Agriculture, being the third largest industry in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, is partly responsible for climate change. Especially animal farming, including all dairy and meat products, which is part of the truth to why so many people today change their lifestyles completely, turning into either vegetarians or vegans (the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan is simply that in addition to not consuming any meat, vegans also do not consume ANY kinds of dairy products, i.e. products stemming from animals, such as milk, cheese, and eggs. Even in wine production, egg white is sometimes used in the production process of wine clarification, so vegans are extremely careful about their diets.

According to many dietitians, eating less red meat is also part of a healthy diet. And, of course, consuming more plant-based products, such as fruits and vegetables. Of course no one can be forced into changing their current diet due to climate change. Everyone has their own preferences, but taking into consideration one´s health and overall well-being, it is extremely important to find a suitable balance in how and what to consume.

If you want to be climate-friendly in terms of agriculture/farming and eating habits, in addition to taking better care of your personal health and well-being, here are some useful tips:

  • Check your drinking and eating habits, e.g. by starting to use a food diary (even for a week or for a month). List everything that you eat, including snacks, sweets, and drinks.
  • Drink more fresh water. It is very beneficial for your overall health, and will help you feel less hungry.
  • Make sure to eat at regular hours. It is very important in order to keep e.g. your sugar levels stable.
  • Consume more fresh products, such as fruits, salads and vegetables. In addition to making you feel more energized, you can basically eat as much of these without gaining weight.
  • Consume as much local products as possible, whereby you are not only helping local farmers and businesses, but you can also more easily check/learn about the production methods. Also try to consume fresh products according to season, if you have changes in season where you live.
  • Become interested in how and what you consume. Care about what you eat, and how it makes you feel. If you constantly feel tired, gain weight etc., there may be something wrong with your diet. Also make sure to eat enough, it can be equally harmful to your health to eat too little.
  • Try to always have enough time for eating, i.e. by slowing down your eating habits. Appreciate the food you consume.

 

Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys. For climate/environment-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank. Subscribe to Leading With Passion to receive my latest posts.

Take a step further to create YOUR online business. Learn more about the many benefits of how to create a beautiful website with WordPress.com and how to monetize your blog/website:

WordPress.com – Create A Beautiful Website

Jetpack – The ideal way to experience WordPress – Code-free Customization

WooCommerce – The most customizable eCommerce platform for building your online business

No Food Without Tackling Climate Change, Reports FAO

Global Climate Change (79)

“FAO Strategy on Climate Change. Rome, July 2017. There will be no food without tackling climate change.”

===================================================================

Sounds pretty nasty, right? Read FAO´s updated strategy here:

FAO Strategy on Climate Change/Rome, July 2017

Excerpts from the report:

  • Agriculture and food systems partly responsible for increase in global temperatures due to the amount of greenhouse gases emitted through agricultural/farming practices around the world.
  • A global transformation to sustainable agriculture must commence at once since the effects of climate change worldwide increase and intensify.
  • The agricultural and food sectors are at high risk, facing serious challenges in adapting to climate change.
  • The negative impacts of climate change will affect ALL countries, although most severely in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in addition to areas with especially vulnerable ecosystems.
  • Climate change endangers food security through: food availability, food access, food utilization, and food stability.
  • The number of crop varieties around the world has decreased dramatically during the 20th century.
  • According to predictions, climate change may become the main driver of biodiversity loss, including loss of genetic diversity.
  • For each one degree rise in global surface temperatures, around 7% of worldwide population is projected an exposure of at least 20% less renewable water resources.
  • Agriculture currently accounts for around 70% of worldwide water withdrawals.

 

Watch FAO´s Climate change mitigation in the livestock sector: overall potential, options and case studies:

Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys. For climate/environment-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank. Subscribe to Leading With Passion to receive my latest posts.

Take a step further to create YOUR online business. Learn more about the many benefits of how to create a beautiful website with WordPress.com and how to monetize your blog/website:

WordPress.com – Create A Beautiful Website

Jetpack – The ideal way to experience WordPress – Code-free Customization

WooCommerce – The most customizable eCommerce platform for building your online business