Presented by: Ben Halpern of the University of California, Santa Barbara
Description: Feeding humanity puts enormous environmental pressure on our planet. These pressures are unequally distributed, yet we have piecemeal knowledge of how they accumulate across marine, freshwater, and terrestrial systems. This webinar will present global geospatial analyses detailing greenhouse gas emissions, freshwater use, habitat disturbance and nutrient pollution generated by 99% of total reported production of aquatic and terrestrial foods in 2017. These results have also been rescaled and combined to map the estimated cumulative pressure, or ‘footprint’, of food production. On land, five countries contribute nearly half of food’s cumulative footprint, and just 10% of the planet contributes 93% of this footprint. The pressures that drive these footprints vary substantially by food and country. Importantly, the cumulative pressure per unit of food production (efficiency) varies spatially for each food type such that rankings of foods by efficiency differ sharply among countries. These disparities provide the foundation for efforts to steer consumption towards lower-impact foods and ultimately the system-wide restructuring essential for sustainably feeding humanity.