Report of Roundtable on LIFE-Lifestyle for Environment

At the COP-26 Meeting Indian   Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi had given the Mantra of LIFE- Lifestyle for Environment. He said that he wanted this to become a mass movement to enable the country reach net zero carbon emission by 2070. Inspired by his advice ILSI India organized a Roundtable on “LIFE – Lifestyle for Environment” ..  

The impact of lifestyle on environment is enormous. The issues under Lifestyle and Environment of relevance to this Roundtable included dietary practices which in turn have intricate association with Food, Agriculture and Nutrition. These activities have carbon footprints and it needs to be discussed as to how sustainable environment friendly practices can be adopted as a contributor towards PM’s mantra and mitigation of carbon footprints. A new study has shown that food production globally contributes 35% of Greenhouse Gas Emission (GHGe) and food system produces emissions that are equivalent to approximately 17.3 billion metric tons (17.318 teragrams) of carbon dioxide yearly.

The Roundtable was addressed by 10 leading experts. They presented current status and recommended innovative approaches and mitigation strategies for GHGe particularly in the areas of Agriculture, Nutrition and Dietary Habits, Lifestyle, Food Processing Activities, Water, Waste Management and Packaging. It was pointed out that:

Ø  Since rice cultivation is a major source of GHGe emission from agriculture, only such Rice verities should be used that have an ability to harness water from deeper layers to soil and has higher ability to use water efficiently.

Ø  Transformation to healthy diets by 2050 will require substantial dietary shifts. Global consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes will have to double, and consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar will have to be reduced by more than 50%. A diet rich in plant-based foods and with fewer animal source foods confers both improved health and environmental benefits.

Ø  Shift from current national food consumption patterns in India to healthy diets by adoption of dietary guidelines can impact GHGe, blue and green water footprints and land use, Millets can be used instead of Rice and Wheat.

 Ø  Conservation of sustainable use of resources such as water, land, air, energy, raw materials and natural resources is essential. Adoption of waste management including waste reduction, reuse, recycling, composting, waste-to-energy, and anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge will be beneficial.

Ø  Substantial increase in water-use efficiency across all sectors will be instrumental in  reducing the number of people suffering from water scarcity.

Ø  Water quality can be improved by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.

Ø  Environment friendly packaging material should be used. Bioplastic is example of one such material for use. Bioplastic intended to be used a polymer should meet the criteria of being bio-based and biodegradable.

Ø  Green food processing technologies should be used.

Ø  Focused research and development activities be taken for innovative technologies for developing new varieties of food crops, vegetables and fruits which require less of land and water, packaging and storage of food material to avoid losses without impacting the environment

Keywords: Climate Change, Green House Gas Emissions, Sustainable Diets, Lifestyle, Eco-friendly Packaging, Alternative Proteins, Food Processing Technologies, Dietary Habits

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