Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) or Environmental Analysis

Wholesome Nutrition: an example for a sustainable diet

'Wholesome Nutrition' is a concept of sustainable nutrition that was developed at the University of Giessen in the 1980s. In this concept, health and the ecologic, economic, social and cultural dimensions of nutrition are equally important. In 1992 at the UN-Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro the definition of 'Sustainable Development' comprised the dimensions environment, economy and society. Additionally to these three 'classical' dimensions of sustainability, we included 'health' as the fourth dimension because nutrition has far reaching effects on human health.

Biodiversity conservation: The key is reducing meat consumption

The consumption of animal-sourced food products by humans is one of the most powerful negative forces affecting the conservation of terrestrial ecosystems and biological diversity. Livestock production is the single largest driver of habitat loss, and both livestock and feedstock production are increasing in developing tropical countries where the majority of biological diversity resides. Bushmeat consumption in Africa and southeastern Asia, as well as the high growth-rate of per capita livestock consumption in China are of special concern.

A Framework for Assessing Effects of the Food System.

How we produce and consume food has a bigger impact on Americans' well-being than any other human activity. The food industry is the largest sector of our economy; food touches everything from our health to the environment, climate change, economic inequality, and the federal budget. From the earliest developments of agriculture, a major goal has been to attain sufficient foods that provide the energy and the nutrients needed for a healthy, active life. Over time, food production, processing, marketing, and consumption have evolved and become highly complex.

Nutrition ecology: the contribution of vegetarian diets.

Nutrition ecology is an interdisciplinary scientific discipline that encompasses the entire nutrition system, with special consideration of the effects of nutrition on health, the environment, society, and the economy. Nutrition ecology involves all components of the food chain, including production, harvesting, preservation, storage, transport, processing, packaging, trade, distribution, preparation, composition, and consumption of food, as well as disposal of waste materials. Nutrition ecology has numerous origins, some of which go back to antiquity.

Global diets link environmental sustainability and human health.

Diets link environmental and human health. Rising incomes and urbanization are driving a global dietary transition in which traditional diets are replaced by diets higher in refined sugars, refined fats, oils and meats. By 2050 these dietary trends, if unchecked, would be a major contributor to an estimated 80 per cent increase in global agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from food production and to global land clearing.

Potential contributions of food consumption patterns to climate change.

Anthropogenic warming is caused mainly by emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, with agriculture as a main contributor for the latter 2 gases. Other parts of the food system contribute carbon dioxide emissions that emanate from the use of fossil fuels in transportation, processing, retailing, storage, and preparation. Food items differ substantially when GHG emissions are calculated from farm to table. A recent study of approximately 20 items sold in Sweden showed a span of 0.4 to 30 kg CO(2) equivalents/kg edible product.

Food-miles and the relative climate impacts of food choices in the United States.

Despite significant recent public concern and media attention to the environmental impacts of food, few studies in the United States have systematically compared the life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with food production against long-distance distribution, aka "food-miles." We find that although food is transported long distances in general (1640 km delivery and 6760 km life-cycle supply chain on average) the GHG emissions associated with food are dominated by the production phase, contributing 83% of the average U.S.

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