Food is an essential aspect of our daily life. But few of us know what theecological impact caused by the food we bring to the table everyday. In fact, everything we eat, whether it is a salad or a slice of bread, an ice cream or a steak, leaves an environmental footprint, often very heavy.
However, by making conscious food choices we can concretely help our planet, counteracting climate change, a crucial emergency in the current historical moment.
An unsustainable food system
Over a third of the Earth's surface is used for agriculture and determines about 30% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, 70% of water withdrawals and 80% of desertification. By 2050, an 80% increase in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from food production if the world population reaches 10 billion, with side effects on our climate. Extreme events due to global warming can affect human health both directly and indirectly, leading to difficulties in crop cultivation, risks to food security, displacement of populations following prolonged drought.
At the same time, the current food system does not offer healthy diets for most people. Alongside the persistent problem of hunger, malnutrition and obesity are also constantly growing.
Adopting a healthy and sustainable diet would make a considerable contribution to addressing these urgencies. For example, it could save up to 2,900g of CO2 equivalent per day per capita and significantly reduce our water footprint, which for 90% depends on what we eat. There would also be positive implications on the profile of the health.
Su-Eatable LIFE was born from this awareness, a three-year initiative funded by the European Commission as part of the larger project LIFE.
Su-Eatable LIFE: the objectives
“What we put on our plate is fundamental to counteract climate change, one of the biggest problems that we as humanity face today. This is the starting point of the Su-Eatable Life project, through which we want to promote the adoption of sustainable eating habits by informing more than 60,000 people and involving over 5,000 in a series of activities in university and company canteens. Future climate scenarios depend a lot on what we decide to do today. And on the table, every day each of us can do his parte ”, explains the prof. Riccardo Valentini, an internationally renowned climate scholar and SU-Eatable Life coordinator.
The initiative aims to demonstrate that it is possible to reduce CO2 emissions and the water footprint related to food consumption, increasing the participation of citizens through targeted interventions conducted in company and university canteens and based on the use of a digital information system fun and easy to use.
Su-Eatable LIFE provides for the involvement of various entities and realities such as schools, universities, municipalities, local markets and large-scale retailers, NGOs and, in general, all European citizens.
Lead partner of the Su-Eatable LIFE project is the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation (BCFN), in partnership with greenApes, the social network that rewards eco-sustainable behavior, the Wageningen University and the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
In the three years of the project we intend to achieve the following results:
- Motivate 5,000 people to adopt a sustainable diet;
- Save 5,300 tons of CO2 and 2,000,000 cubic meters of water;
- Inform over 65 thousand citizens.
The professor. Riccardo Valentini presents the Su-Eatable LIFE project at the Padua Global Health Festival
All this by developing an information system capable of communicating what sustainable diets are and what the positive impact of their adoption is. The role of GreenApes is essential in this sense. The platform makes it possible to certify and reward the choice of sustainable meals for all the companies involved, motivating people and gratifying their choices through simple rewarding and gamification.
Su-Eatable Life's message aligns perfectly with what is the most pressing emergency for our future: to change course before it's too late.
Further information and updates are available on the official website of the project.