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Ecología austral

versión On-line ISSN 1667-782X


GARIBALDI, Lucas A; ANDERSSON, Georg; FERNANDEZ FERRARI, Celeste  y  PEREZ-MENDEZ, Néstor. Food security and the environment: impacts of our food choices. Ecol. austral [online]. 2018, vol.28, n.3, pp.572-580. ISSN 1667-782X.

Agriculture and animal production have a great environmental impact, which is steadily growing. In a previous article, we highlighted how biodiversity is vital for agricultural production, emphasizing the role of animal pollinators. Here, we discuss the different dimensions of food security and the key role of our food choices in the cities to drive land use in rural areas and minimize the environmental footprint. Although the environmental impact of agriculture and animal production are commonly justified for the need of greater production to achieve food security, the dimensions of food access and utilization are nowadays of critical importance. For example, worldwide, there are more people with nutritional problems associated with overweight than hunger. In addition, increasing agricultural production in some developed countries does not imply greater food availability in the poor regions where is needed. If the world population eat less meat of animals feed on grains (e.g. feedlots) the environmental impact will be lower, including lower greenhouse gas emission. It is key to identify the origin of the meat that we consume, given that there are other animal production systems with lower environmental impacts. Dietary change to reduce the excess of meat consumption in some sectors of the population can prevent many deaths because of lower obesity, and reduce the incidence of diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes (the latter one is increasing all over the world at epidemic rates). The achievement of food security and sustainability relies on many pathways and includes changing the way in which we distribute and utilize the food, using the grains and beans to feed people instead of animals, reducing food waste, and changing our diets.

Palabras clave : Agriculture; Animal production; Climate change; Environment; Environmental footprint; Food; Feedlot; Food security; Health; Obesity.

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