In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers simulated the potential effects of dietary shifts and food waste reduction on the biodiversity impacts of food consumption in the United States. The authors found that “[a]dopting the [EAT-Lancet] Planetary Health diet or the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)–recommended vegetarian diet nationwide would reduce the biodiversity footprint of food consumption. However, increases in the consumption of foods grown in global biodiversity hotspots both inside and outside the United States, especially fruits and vegetables, would partially offset the reduction…. Simply halving food waste would benefit global biodiversity more than half as much as all Americans simultaneously shifting to a sustainable diet. Combining food waste reduction with the adoption of a sustainable diet could reduce the biodiversity footprint of US food consumption by roughly half. Species facing extinction because of unsustainable food consumption practices could be rescued by reducing agriculture’s footprint; diet shifts and food waste reduction can help us get there.”
To read the study in its entirety, go to: https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2113884119
Citation: Read QD, Hondula KL, Muth MK, et al. Biodiversity effects of food system sustainability actions from farm to fork. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 119(5):e2113884119 (2022).