Earth.Org: Why Food Security Is a Question of Environmental and Social Justice

Earth.Org: Why Food Security Is a Question of Environmental and Social Justice
28 May 2024

Access to adequate food is a fundamental human right, yet millions worldwide suffer from chronic hunger despite a global food surplus, highlighting the complex nature of food insecurity. The UN defines food security as ensuring all individuals have consistent access to safe, nutritious food for an active life. However, over 780 million people face chronic hunger, with one-third at immediate risk due to severe food scarcity. The challenge is compounded by population growth, with projections indicating a need for a 70% increase in food production by 2050. Yet, numerous factors undermine food security, including environmental and socioeconomic shocks and our current food system's limitations. The climate crisis exacerbates weather extremes, jeopardizing harvests and livelihoods, while resource-intensive diets strain the planet. Food waste, accounting for 30% of global production, compounds the issue, exacerbating environmental degradation and contributing up to 10% of greenhouse gas emissions. Transitioning to more plant-focused diets could alleviate pressure on resources, as animal agriculture drives deforestation and emissions. External shocks like wars and pandemics further disrupt food chains, disproportionately affecting vulnerable populations. Addressing food insecurity requires a holistic approach, integrating social and environmental justice principles to create a sustainable and equitable food system that respects planetary boundaries and minimizes waste.

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