EAT HEALTHY, FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE!

REPORT FROM GREENPEACE
A healthy diet equals a healthy environment.

This was what became very apparent when the People’s Food Movement (FPM) – a collective for food security and environmental sustainability advocates -- brought together researchers, nutritionists, scholars, chefs, government officials, schoolchildren, parents and homemakers together, to impart and discuss the connections between the food we eat and the threat that is climate change.

The event, dubbed “Ship Ahoy: Diet for Climate” was held today, the second day of the Rainbow Warrior, Greenpeace’s most iconic ship, in Manila, its first stop on a 5-month “Climate Change and People Power” tour across Southeast Asia.

The Diet for Climate program aboard the Rainbow Warrior featured expert presentations that showed not only how climate change threatens our food security, but also how, in turn, the food we eat contributes to a larger carbon footprint and other environmental damages due to the unsustainable way these are produced, distributed and consumed.

“Our penchant for processed food and fast food fare; our reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides to grow our food; even our habits of going for rushed, quick meals and disregard for food wastes, which favor the practices of large agro-industrial companies and mass slaughterhouses: these things not only increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but also negatively impact on the livelihood of farmers and the country’s agricultural system as a whole,” said Virginia Llorin, Food & Ecological Agriculture campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia-Philippines.

According to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute( FNRI) Filipinos’ intake of fruits and vegetable is declining while our consumption of meat and eggs are increasing. A diet low in fruits and vegetables or fiber is characteristic of an unhealthy diet, which leads to poor nutrition and is one of the significant risk factors for a range of chronic diseases. Combined per capita consumption of fruits and vegetables of Filipinos is 155 grams, as opposed to the 400 grams per day recommendation of the World Health Organization [1]. A survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations in June 2017 revealed that the largest proportion of Filipinos (46%) eat meat a few times a week [2].

Unfortunately, for a country highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, this shift in eating habits contributes to increasing industrial livestock production, which in turn leads to increasing GHG emissions. Livestock is one of the major sources of GHG emission in the Philippines’ agriculture sector, second only to rice. In the 1994 GHG inventory, total emission from domestic livestock accounted for 32% of the country’s total GHG emission [3].

Ecologically produced food, on the other hand, not only promotes better health, cleaner farms and  a healthier environment, but an uptake of healthier diets among the populace would increase demand for ecological agriculture and support local farmers and producers.

Healthy diets, which promote consumption of adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables, along with sustainable agriculture is, therefore, of prime importance to reducing GHG emissions and protecting the environment.

The “Diet for Climate” program also featured cooking demonstrations and storytelling sessions that showcased not only the very positive effects of ecologically farmed produce on both the self and the environment, but also how fruit and vegetable dishes can be very tasty and delicious as well as visually appealing. Stories and recipes were shared by celebrity chefs Giney Villar, Love Anover and the Rainbow Warrior’s Chef Daniel Bravo.

The Rainbow Warrior is in the Philippines for “Balangaw: The Climate Justice Ship Tour”, which will be in Manila on February 14-18, Guimaras on February 24, and Tacloban on February 28-March 4It is joining frontline communities, Indigenous Peoples, farmers, fisherfolk, youth, grandmothers, and others who are pushing back against the corporate greed of fossil fuel companies, industries and governments who are failing to protect and respect their rights to clean air, clean water, safe food and a healthy environment.

In Manila, the ship tour will highlight efforts of people who are reclaiming their rights to safe and ecologically sourced food, rights to resilient and thriving oceans, and to witness how the people are taking their power back by telling stories of survival and hope. In Guimaras, the tour will shine a spotlight on a future powered by renewable energy and our capability to move away from coal. The last stop in the Philippines will be Tacloban in Eastern Visayas, the area most ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan, and from where the Waray-waray people are reclaiming their lives and telling their stories to the world on a journey to hold the big polluters accountable

For more information on “Balangaw: The Climate Justice Ship Tour  visit www.greenpeace.org.ph/balangaw  

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