Friday, June 06, 2008

Biofuels, food prices, biodiversity, Spiderman, meat - or the connection between them all??

I've wondered, should I decide to post today, world environment day, just what I would write about.

Perhaps the latest warnings about biofuels causing higher world food prices as discussed at the UN food summit in Rome, featuring strongly on the BBC news this evening?

Or the recent report 'The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)', described as the first major report to outline the economic impact of cutting the variety of life (severe impacts on the worlds poorest and costs of up to £40 billion every year, 7% global GDP decline by 2050 if ecosystem damage is not tackled...) ?

How about saying that Alain Robert, the French Spiderman, has today been in New York City climbing a huge skyscraper to promote the message that we need real leadership on climate change from the G8 countries meeting next month (According to him "The Solution Is Simple":
1 – Stop Cutting Down Trees. Plant More Trees. 2 – Make Everything Energy Efficient. 3 – Only Make Clean Energy.).

I'm conscious that I've not posted much on the subject of diet and environmental impacts, in particular the amount and type of meat eaten, so perhaps something on this topic, reasonably well discussed on Newsnight a few days ago following comments from the head of the UN climate agency, Yvo de Boer, who is attending UN-led climate talks in Germany this week that we should all become vegetarians. After all in times of high food prices should we, at great environmental cost, be feeding grain to cows and pigs instead of people?? I really like meat but its a highly inefficient food to produce and consume and I acknowledge the very strong ethical, ecological, economic and health case for vegetarianism and veganism (I try to keep my meat consumption right down - I'm not a veggie).

Interesting how intimately intertwined issues of environment, energy, economics, food, climate and personal choices/behaviour are isn't it.

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