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Climate Change and Health: Is Food a Major Player?


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A scientific presentation, inspired by personal experience and on behalf of Ora Taiao: New Zealand Climate and Health Council. Climate change, health and our diets cross section on many levels. This presentation is on how detrimental animal products and for our health but also the huge part they are playing in causing climate change. This gives us a powerful way to help ourselves and the wider world through increasing plant-based foods into our diet.

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Climate Change and Health: Is Food a Major Player?

  1. 1. Climate Change & Health: Is food a major player?
  2. 2. A Scientific Based Presentation Inspired by Personal Experience: By Emily Rushton
  3. 3. The Boring Tidbits And questions…
  4. 4. Our Journey Today: - Why do I care? - Climate Change in a Nutshell - The Issues - Low Carbon diets and health benefits - What’s happening? - Where do you come in?
  5. 5. About Me 2005-07 National Student Unit, NZNO 2007-2010 Counties Manukau RN – Disproportionate inequality 2011-12 UK – NHS and Taught Adult health classes 2012-13 Temped in Auckland, NZ Feb 2014-Oct 2015 Received intense world education on 22 month trip
  6. 6. Climate Change Basics
  7. 7. Figure 15
  8. 8. The Issues Increasing global demand for food GHG emissions from some foods are high Environmental change = Food production disruption Disease burdens related to our food choices
  9. 9. Food 50% of world’s population could face severe food shortages by 2100 44 Already: Reduced wheat and maize yields for many regions and in the global aggregate 19 Several periods of rapid food and cereal price increases19 For all countries recent climate extremes are showing significant lack of preparedness. 19
  10. 10. Taking Responsibility
  11. 11. OraTaiao’s Main Areas of Action Action Public Health Impact GHGE’s avoided by Increase active and public transport Increase physical activity Reduce obesity Reduce health damaging air pollution Reduce road traffic injuries Reduced transport emissions Improve housing through insulation, energy efficiency and low-carbon heating and electricity Reduce illnesses from cold, damp home environments Reduce fuel poverty Reduce health damaging air pollution Reduced emissions from home heating and living Enable a population shift to healthier plant-based diets that are lower in red meat and animal fat through pricing, economic and heath promotion mechanisms Reduce rates of cancer Reduce cardiovascular disease Improved drinking and recreational water quality Reduced agricultural emissions Stop the extraction and burning of coal for energy Reduced burden of illness and premature death from coal related air pollution Reduced energy emissions
  12. 12. World Moving to Reduce Animals Netherlands – Meat 2x weekly max. only one of which is red meat. 62, 17 Italy - New food pyramid with less animal products due to health and environment.7 UK – Reduce meat and eat more beans, legumes and nuts. 64 USA Has reduced 10% per capita, per year since 2007 = 400 million less animals consumed per year by 2014 52
  13. 13. A major cause of climate change Global GHGs - 18% from Animal Agriculture. 50 75% of water worldwide is used by farmers 18 1 calorie of animal protein = >10x fossil fuel input 35 6 kg of plant protein is required to yield 1 kg of meat protein 35
  14. 14. Food emissions  80% from animal agriculture 48  9% from wet land rice 48 Yann
  15. 15. 35% From Wasted food 52
  16. 16. 1kg of Beef = 100km driving 61  300gm Steak= 30kms  Sheep meat similar
  17. 17. UK Study 13  Showed a 40 % reduction was realistic  Health is a better motivator  Professionals should consider more then individuals health 2
  18. 18. Local Research ‘Foods and dietary patterns that are healthy, low-cost, and environmentally sustainable: a case study of optimization modeling for New Zealand’ 60  Diets could be cheaper, healthier, lower-emissions  Suggest public institutions should adopt  Government should use education, tax and policy
  19. 19. Halve meat to save lives and emissions  29% decrease in greenhouse gases  Save 5.1 million lives annually 65
  20. 20. Iron from Tofu vs Beef This chocolate mousse: - Easy to make - Comparable on cost RDI Chocolate Mousse (180g) Lean Beef 180g Iron Woman – 42% Men – 94% W – 20% M – 45% Calcium 43% 4% Protein (45g) 27% 91% Fibre 4.1g 0%
  21. 21. Myth Busters  Soy - no proven risks but likely to reduce many cancers 62  Protein and iron is easier than you think  Plant based diets are cheaper 60
  22. 22. Iron and Protein Abundant: Iron  Legumes - Chick peas, beans (black, white, navy, kidney, mange tout…), Lentils (brown, red, green…), Soy, peas etc.  Vegetables – Beetroot, mushrooms, green leafy vegetables, asparagus, leeks, spring onions  Spices – Curry powder, turmeric, thyme, parsley, rosemary, pepper, cumin, oregano etc.  Fruit – Dried (Apricots, pears, figs, raisins…), berries  Olives  Coconut  Tofu, soy products and seitan  Fortified products
  23. 23. Protein Scorecard Figure 18
  24. 24. Alternatives for Everything Mince Steak Sausages Burgers Rice Milk Butter Cheese Ice cream Yoghurt
  25. 25. Information is Easy  Google favorite recipes - ‘Vegetarian bolognaise’  Join Vege based social media groups - ‘Vegetarian NZ’  Vegetarian or vegan society websites – ’NZ Vegetarian Society’  Explore whole foods based websites - ‘Oh She Glows’
  26. 26. Clear, Simple Instructions Initially aim to reduce by 60% Reduce meat and dairy intake ideas: - One product at a time - Meatless every 2nd day - Promote ‘Meatless Mondays’ in Community Join plant based interest groups
  27. 27. From Angst to Action Positive Framing Figure 16
  28. 28. We can do it!
  29. 29. James Cameron Converts from Dairy Took intensive Dairy Farms → replaced with organic crops Mung beans, alfalfa sprouts, lettuce, fennel, cauliflower, leeks, pumpkins & kale "We're relentlessly devastating the Earth's ecosystems, and we need to wake up.“ 56 Others changing into hazelnuts, avocados, hemp and tea.
  30. 30. ‘The latest report… indicates the contribution of science and public health to one of the greatest predicaments facing human and non-human life. That contribution now needs to be embraced fully by health professionals and medical scientists worldwide.” Richard Horton, Editor in Chief, Lancet 44
  31. 31. What could be done locally? Community  Pot lucks  Events  Linking with local groups  Education  Schools Politically Hospital or community facilities  Education staff/patients  Food program  Garden Initiatives  Emission reduction program Personally
  32. 32. Food in hospitals  Limiting meat meals  Buy local organic produce  Make hospital a ‘fast food free’ zone  Educate  Modify menus & practices to support healthier food purchases 57
  33. 33. Facilitating Positive Change
  34. 34. Our Responsibilities:  Consider carbon impacts of your practice and the advice you are giving patients  Change own lifestyle and talk about the benefits of this with colleagues and patients  Join with other health professionals to amplify individual actions  Work with other health professionals to press for healthy action on climate change
  35. 35. Join the ‘Sustainable Health Sector National Network (NZ)’  Part of Ora Taiao: The NZ Climate & Health Council  Individual practices to DHB’s  Supported with direction and advice  Linked to global movements
  36. 36. OraTaiao: The NZ Climate & Health Council  Supports  Advocacy  Promoting Sustainability  Political Engagement  Public Engagement  Links to others
  37. 37. ‘Everyone here has the sense that right now is one of those moments when we are influencing the future.’ -Steve Jobs
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