India can lead the way in nutritious, sustainable diet
Traditional Indian food that is largely plant-based with some red meat and fish can show the world how a nutritious and sustainable diet can be provided to the world’s projected population of 10 billion people by 2050 without environmental degradation, said global experts who drafted the world’s first scientific targets for sustainable nutrition within planetary boundaries at EAT Stockholm Food Forum 2019 on Wednesday.
“Grain-fed largescale beef industry is the beginning of the end (of a sustainable planet) and India can show the world how traditional diets high in seeds, nuts, vegetables, whole grains and legumes can provide sustainable nutrition without wrecking the planet,” said Professor Johan Rockstrom, director, Potsdam Insitute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.
Rockstrom, along with Dr Walter Willett, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, is a co-author of the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health report that draws on on inputs from 37 experts from 16 countries, including India, to conclude providing nutrition and sustainability is achievable only by radically transforming eating behaviours, improving food production, and halving food waste.
Food, mostly red meat, production has emerged as the biggest cause of land-use change, biodiversity loss, and natural water depletion and accounts for about a fourth of greenhouse gas emissions. “As nations urbanise and people become wealthier, traditional meals are being replaced by Western-style resource-intensive foods high in calories, protein, and animal-based foods, such as meats and dairy,” said Rockstrom.