The climate crisis is an acute and protracted health emergency with far-reaching effects on both human health and the environments that sustain our health. Quite simply, the climate crisis and significant health risks are interlinked, having many of the same drivers and solutions.
The pursuit of zero carbon and resilient food systems can deliver healthy diets that significantly reduce premature deaths worldwide. National governments can tackle multiple climatic, social, economic, and health challenges by encouraging a major shift towards healthy and sustainable diets.
A new paper from the Health and Climate Network, supported by the European Public Health Alliance, puts forward climate and health solutions that focus on changing food systems, governmental initiatives, and financial incentives to deliver a ‘farm to mouth’ ecosystem that supports both human health and reduces damaging environmental impacts. Efforts to keep global heating below 1.5°C must go together with securing fundamental health benefits.
The briefing makes 5 recommendations:
1. Promote access to sustainable, affordable and healthy diets options for all.
2. Remove both financial and non-financial incentives that support and promote high-emission, unhealthy food options and agricultural practices.
3. Rapidly transition away from unsuitable farming and food processing practices that damage the environment and risk human health.
4. Prioritise ecologically sustainable food systems to strengthen resilience, increase food and nutrition security, and lower emissions.
5. Ensure that the transition to a more sustainable and ecologically friendly food system is done in a fair and just way.