Photo: Mary Vincent
On April 23, 2013, Al Gore gave a riveting and engaging Stanford University lecture on the topic 'Peril and Opportunity: Solving the Climate Crisis and Reinvigorating Democracy', and he discussed a variety of food and agriculture issues during the 1st Annual Stephen H. Schneider Memorial Lecture. A full video of his lecture is below.
Al Gore highlighted several examples from his new book: The Future Six Drivers of Global Change. For background, the Drivers are:
On Earth Day Monday April 22 Bon Appétit will turn 500+ cafes into climate change learning classrooms
Credit: BAMCO Cheeseless whole wheat pizza
The first food service company to address how food choices can affect our shifting atmosphere, Bon Appétit has celebrated its Low Carbon Diet Day in conjunction with Earth Day since 2008. This year, in a hot new twist, corporate guests and students all across the country - ranging from eBay in San Jose, CA, to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and Gallaudet University in Washington, DC - will get a real taste of how climate change is already endangering certain food crops.
To prepare for this year's new theme, "Your Lunch is Heating Up!", Bon Appétit commissioned a review of more than four dozen scientific papers projecting how important crops such as corn, wheat, rice, fruit, dairy, and coffee will fare in a changing climate. Earlier thaws, later frosts, and higher-than-average temperatures; droughts like the ones in the Midwest; and new pests and weeds (ones that thrive in hotter and more humid temperatures) are already affecting these foods, and research indicates the pressures will not let up.
Bon Appétit's chefs will use cooking demos - for an almond milk-fruit smoothie, a cheeseless vegetarian pizza, or an edamame burger with carrot-peel topping - to discuss these global agriculture trends as well as encourage guests to choose planet-friendlier foods.
The goal of Low Carbon Diet Day, a tradition begun one year after Bon Appétit launched its Low Carbon Diet program: spur café guests to join the company in reducing their contributions to climate change. To help this process, the company created its Top 5 Low Carbon Diet Tips, which include "You Bought It, You Eat It - Don't Waste Food" and "Moooove Away From Beef and Cheese." Bon Appétit has reduced its own purchases of beef by 33% and cheese by 10% since launching the program - and many of the cheeseless pizzas first introduced on Low Carbon Diet Day have become beloved menu staples at its college and corporate accounts. Meanwhile, its new Stem to Root culinary program, from which the LCD Day carrot-peel-topped veggie burger is drawn, is the latest approach in its ongoing campaign to combat food waste.
On Low Carbon Diet Day 2013, Bon Appétit will also share the revamped, new version of its online educational companion to the Low Carbon Diet program. The EatLowCarbon.org website uses photos and picture quizzes to show which familiar foods are higher carbon and explain the science behind their carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions scores.
"Over the past six years, Bon Appétit Management Company has played a catalytic role in making thousands of corporate and university diners more aware of the relationship between food and climate change," says JoAnne Berkenkamp, local foods director at the Minneapolis-based Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy, which is exploring the impact of climate change on agriculture in the US and around the world. "Climate change is not an abstract concept that exists in a distant future. It's here, and it's affecting our farmers, the food service industry itself, and many of the foods we love. Bon Appétit's work will spur people to think more about what's happening, and to get involved in reducing carbon emissions while building a food system that is more resilient in the face of a changing climate."
Credit: Fedele Bauccio
Gratitude Gourmet readers know that Fedele Bauccio, CEO of Bon Appétit Management Company, is my Hero.
Fedele's company was the Environmental Defense Fund's (EDF) 2009 Innovations Review Food and Beverage Innovator, recognized for reducing the environmental and carbon footprint and Winner of the National Resource Defense Council's (NRDC) 1st Annual Growing Green Awards.
Fedele has written a wonderful February 2013 Sustainability Editorial called: Redefining Sustainability - or Practicing What We Preach. His Editorial is a must-read for those concerned about our food policies, health, farm worker treatment, humane animal conditions, antibiotics ... and our Future.
The article link is here: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/SUS.2013.9900
Please share with your colleagues, friends, families, communities, and policymakers. Thank you.
Dr Jason Clay, WWF
Dr. Jason Clay, Senior Vice President Market Transformation, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is a James Beard Foundation Award Winner for his efforts to study and address the global social, environmental, and economic impact of a variety of commodities, and his cross-sector work to improve the sustainability and supply chain management of these commodities. Our interview is below.
Gratitude Gourmet: Congratulations on your James Beard Award! Please tell me your thoughts on the James Beard Foundation (JBF) honor you received.
Dr. Jason Clay: I've been involved in a lifetime of work on sustainable development and more sustainable supplies of food which started in the 80's with how groups in the rainforest can develop products instead of cutting trees down, such as rainforest products with Ben and Jerry's. Palm oil in Indonesia and soy are recent projects.
Gratitude Gourmet: Please tell me about your cross-sector work to improve the sustainability and supply chain management of these commodities such as palm oil and soy.
Dr. Jason Clay: Agriculture uses 35% of the planet’s land. The production of food and fiber is also the primary driver of deforestation globally and greenhouse gas emissions. Yet by 2050, the world will need to double food production to meet anticipated needs due to increases in population, income and consumption. As agricultural production increases, we must find ways to minimize its impact on biodiversity. In short, we need to freeze the footprint of producing food and fiber.
What should we care about the most? It's not just about being right but about building consensus of what needs to be done. It's important to get all the stakeholders - producers, brands, retailers, NGOs - these are the things that are most significant. Having focus lets you accomplish something. We don't want to encourage farmers to adopt one practice over another. What we're interested in is the result that is achievable on the ground - type of land farmers have/labor etc - working with them to have a measurable improvement in their performance. When farmers become more efficient in the most competititve industries, they will make a 4-6% net improvement in income, including managing how they use pesticides which improves net profit.
We work with companies 1:1 on water availability and climate change - we only have 1 planet - we're going to double food consumption by 2050 per capita. We have worked with a group called the Consumer Goods Forum, and by 2020 they have the goal of not buying products from deforested areas - we're getting more companies to sign up for the same commitment. We need to change how we think about pollution - we need companies to be colluding about sustainability - we do need to manage this.
Global estimates for degraded lands (including abandoned, severely degraded and underproductive) range from 1.5 to 2 billion hectares, larger than the entire current agricultural estate. This land is marginal for biodiversity and for ecosystem services, yet
much of this land could be used to produce commodities such as palm oil, soy, or pulp wood. By shifting agricultural expansion from high-carbon lands to degraded, low-carbon lands, especially those that have been used previously for agriculture. we achieve agricultural targets while maintaining biodiversity as well.
Shifting all agricultural expansion to degraded lands is too big a task to tackle all at once. Reasonable goals would be 50 M ha by 2020, 100 M ha by 2030 and 250 M ha by 2040. Moreover, we are not starting with a clean slate. Brazil, China, Ethiopia, South Africa and the US have each rehabilitated areas of at least a million hectares, often far more. Brazil for example has already rehabilitated 10 M ha and has a 2020 target of additional 25 M ha.
In fact, WWF has documented efforts to rehabilitate degraded land in Brazil and Borneo. In each case, the studies showed that rehabilitating degraded lands is financially viable and in fact provides a higher rate of return than clearing forests. As important, the works suggest that there is sufficient degraded land in both areas to double production of soy and palm oil in the respective countries without any additional deforestation.
Strategy: The proposed work on degraded lands will focus on priority areas and commodities for WWF and our corporate partners and donors. The initial focus includes soy in Brazil, pulp and paper and palm oil in Indonesia, and coffee, cocoa, palm oil, and rubber in Central and West Africa.
My Guardian blog has more information about my work http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/jason-clay
After our interview, Dr Jason Clay shared more information about World Wildlife Fund's continued expansion with its innovative program seeking to link investments in climate change mitigation with the sustainable production of agricultural commodities via the Carbon and Commodities program because the production of food and fiber is one of the largest sources of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
"In 2009, the Conference to the Parties (COP15) of the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) established a policy framework known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and created a potentially potent mechanism for supporting forest conservation. It is now widely recognized that for REDD+ to succeed, the drivers of deforestation must be reduced and this requires for the planet’s existing agricultural production models to become more efficient, more Carbon and Sustainability productive, and more sustainable.
The objective of the Carbon and Commodities program is to assist retailers and manufacturers who have made voluntary commitments to reduce the carbon footprints of their brands to engage the producers of agricultural commodities that generate the largest component of those emissions. The goal is to create a framework which increases revenues for farmers that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or increase carbon stocks on production landscapes."
Related James Beard Foundation Leadership Award Articles:
Interview with Tensie Whelan, President Rainforest Alliance, James Beard Foundation Leadership Award Winner
Nominate Gratitude Gourmet for the Social Impact Crunchies 2011 Award, sponsored by Techcrunch. Gratitude Gourmet was founded in May 2008 to bring awareness on food & climate emissions - we've spoken around the US & World. Organizations, journalists & magazines took note & published articles based on our work & asked us to speak at conferences. We also enjoyed our opportunity as a Stanford Engineering for Good Class GreenTech Advisor. More information about Gratitude Gourmet's Work is here.
Thank you very much in advance for nominating us here,