Food solutions can take us to drawdown
A new study reveals that 10 of the top 20 global solutions to climate change exist within the food and land-use sectors.
Here’s why this is such good news and how it paves a new path forward…
Passionate for natural climate solutions and optimistic about the potential to reverse current climate trends, Dr. Mamta Mehra’s life work is focused on translating climate research into real action.
During Earth Day Week, she shared her confident views on how the land-use and food sectors are keys to achieving drawdown — and why they are keys well within reach.
“Drawdown”, Dr. Mehra explains, “is the point in time when the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gas emissions begins to decline on a year-to-year basis.” In other words, drawdown will be a reversal of the current reality, in which the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is increasing every year.
About a quarter of current greenhouse gas emissions come from food, agriculture, and land use — meaning these sectors are major contributors to the problem. Even more problematic: demand for food and fiber products is growing all the time.
Dr. Mehra is focused on solutions to such problems. She says of Project Drawdown, where she is senior research fellow:
We strongly believe that this problem can be fixed with the solutions that already exist.
When it comes to solving the climate crisis through the food and land-use sectors, there are four overarching keys:
- Protect ecosystems.
- Restore degraded land.
- Shift agricultural practices to more regenerative approaches.
- Address the current realities of global food waste and human diets.
In an analysis of the top solutions to global climate change, Project Drawdown has found that 10 of the top 20 solutions sit within the land-use and food sectors.
And, for Dr. Mehra, that’s big news because, “Most of the time whenever we were asked [in the past] to give solutions for climate change, primarily it was coming from energy and renewables…and this finding will for sure shift the traditional thinking on climate actions.”
These 10 food and land solutions will meet the growing global demand for food and fiber, reduce emissions, and relieve pressure on ecosystems, all at the same time. They are:
- Reduced food waste
- Plant-rich diets
- Tropical forest restoration
- Peatland protection and rewetting
- Tree plantations (on degraded land)
- Temperate forest restoration
- Managed grazing
- Perennial staple crops
- Tree intercropping
Project Drawdown’s report also finds that these solutions come with a number of additional benefits — including cost savings, enhanced ecosystem services, improved livelihoods, empowerment of women, and much more.