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Crossposted from the Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet.

Today, the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) and the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project were proud to host “How do we feed (and also Nourish) a planet of 7 billion?”

The event featured notable speakers such as food waste activist and author of American Wasteland, Jonathan Bloom; creator of The 30 Project and member of the BCFN Advisory Board, Ellen Gustafson; publisher of "Edible Manhattan" and author of Eat Here, Brian Halweil; and founder and director of Citizen Effect, Dan Morrison, among others, and marked the official launch of Eating Planet–Nutrition Today: A Challenge for Mankind and for the Planet.

Although agriculture is more productive and efficient than ever before, more than 1 billion people worldwide remain chronically hungry, and another 1 billion people are overweight or obese. “The fundamental problem continuing to cause both hunger and obesity is that it is difficult, almost everywhere in the world, to access nutritious foods,” said Gustafson. “In the developed world, food is abundant, but the most abundant is usually the least nutritious and most calorie dense. In the developing world, you can often still access soft drinks or packaged processed foods, but not the diversity of healthy foods that are needed for good nutrition.”

During the event, Samuel Fromartz, editor-in-chief of the Food & Environment Reporting Network, moderated a discussion where speakers debated some of the issues the addressed in the book: the paradoxes of the global food system, the cultural value of food, production and consumption trends, and the effects of individual eating habits on health and on the environment. “More than one third of the food produced—about 1.3 billion tons per year—does not even reach people's plates,” said Bloom. “All of us—producers, consumers, policymakers, and those in the food industry—need to make an effort to reduce the amount of food that is wasted and its environmental impact.”

Nourishing the Planet and BCFN hope for Eating Planet to contribute to sustainable food and agricultural development in many ways.
"The study's conclusions represent a major step toward ensuring that agriculture contributes to health, environmental sustainability, income generation, and food security,” said Paolo Barilla, Vice President of the Barilla Group. “The ingredients will vary by country and region, but there are some key components that will lead to healthier food systems everywhere."

Did you attend the book launch, or watch the livestream? Tell us about your experience below!

Seyyada Burney is a Research Intern with Nourishing the Planet.

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.

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Crossposted from the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet.

On Thursday, June 28, the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project and the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition will release Eating Planet–Nutrition Today: A Challenge for Mankind and for the Planet in New York City. Today, Nourishing the Planet highlights a contributing author of Eating Planet, and shares his views on how to fix the broken food system. Tune in on the 28th via livestream: we will be taking questions in real time from the audience, from the livestream, and from Twitter and Facebook.

Alexandre Kalache is one of the world’s leading experts on aging, particularly the care and treatment of the elderly and the epidemiology of aging. Kalache’s concluding vignette in the Food for Health chapter of the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition’s most recent publication: Eating Planet 2012 – Nutrition Today: A Challenge for Mankind and for the Planet, questions whether living longer is necessarily better. In his piece, Kalache challenges the measure of lifespan as an indicator for societal health and well-being, and instead stresses the significance of health span and quality of life in determining the success of healthcare policies.

Although average life expectancies have increased drastically over the course of the past century, Kalache suggests that life-style related diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain forms of cancer, as well as the rapid onset of obesity, pose an imminent threat to the gains in life-expectancy from modern medical advancements. In addition to tobacco smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, Kalache points to unhealthy diets and sedentary life-styles as major contributing sources of age-associated diseases. In addition to decreased quality of life and reduced lifespans, these life-style related diseases also contribute to increased health care costs and less money for other public services, such as schools and parks, that would improve the quality of life for communities at large.

In light of the recent emergence of lifestyle-induced diseases, and the healthcare costs associated with these preventable diseases, Kalache stresses the need for policies that would ensure good health and quality of life for the world’s aging population, particularly obesity prevention.

According to Kalache, numerous studies demonstrate the benefits of a reduced calorie diet, including the potential for the extension of the human life span to 150 years or more. Kalache recognizes, however, that the reduction in calorie consumption that would be required to reach this ideal would most likely hinder individuals’ quality of life and would ultimately be unpopular with the general public. For Kalache, the question of how to best implement culturally appropriate and sustainable policies that promote balanced diets and healthy lifestyles that would in turn enhance both individuals’ quality of life and life expectancy presents the primary challenge for health policymakers today.

Effective public health policies, according to Kalache, optimize the opportunities for health participation and security, and also enhance the quality of life for individuals as they age. Such policies would include increased government investment in marketing research as a means of evaluating and enhancing existing healthy habits and preferences of the population. Successful policies would also utilize this information to encourage culturally appropriate and healthy lifestyle behaviors with fiscal and legal policies, such as subsidizing fruits and vegetables, and taxing unhealthy food items while also prohibiting food items such as sugary drinks and fatty foods from public institutions such as schools.

Tune in to the launch on the 28th via livestream: we will be taking questions in real time from the audience, from the livestream, and from Twitter and Facebook. You can also purchase your own copy of Eating Planet for $3.99 on Amazon or iTunes.

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Crossposted from the Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet.

Nourishing the Planet is collaborating with Women Deliver to highlight the important role of women, youth, and reproductive and sexual rights in sustainable development at the upcoming Rio+20 conference.

For three days, beginning on June 20, 2012, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio +20, will be taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Conference will convene representatives of governments, the private sector, NGOs and civil society, and many other stakeholders. These participants will discuss seven priority issues, under themes of equity and sustainability: decent jobs, energy, sustainable cities, food security and sustainable agriculture, water, oceans and disaster readiness.

Important issues surrounding gender, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and youth have largely been left out of discussions and the Zero Draft document in the lead up to the summit. Several groups have been working to lobby for the inclusion of these issues. In March 2012, Women Deliver convened many of these organizations to discuss the opportunities and challenges in doing so. Below, we profile some of the organizations who are leading these efforts, and the work that they are doing to make sure issues related to international population and family health are included in the Rio +20 outcomes document, and the forthcoming sustainable development framework.

Here are a few organizations to look out for:

International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF):
Bringing family planning and reproductive rights to the forefront at Rio +20

With member associations in over 170 countries, IPPF is the largest provider of sexual and reproductive health in the world. In addition to increasing global access to contraceptives, family planning services, gynecological care, and clinical diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, IPPF advocates for a woman’s right to whether to have children, and to decide the number and spacing of her children. A long-time supporter of human equity, IPPF has been empowering women to make their own reproductive and sexual choices since the organization began in India in 1952. Founders Elise Ottesen-Jensen from Sweden, Margaret Sanger from America, and Dhanvanthi Rama Rau from India, who were incarcerated for advocating for women’s reproductive rights, would recognize that gender equity issues require just as immediate attention as they did sixty years ago. Now 71 percent of IPPFs funding comes directly from government grants and organizations that acknowledge the beneficial economic, development, and environment impacts of greater women’s sexual and reproductive rights.

At the UN Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, IPPF, along with the governments of Brazil and Denmark, will organize a side-event, “Dynamics of Rio: Population, Women and Rights.” At this event, several governments and high level stakeholders will work together to ensure that advocating for women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights will be central to the Rio+20 negotiations.

Connect with IPPF on their
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/...
Twitter: http://twitter.com/...
Website: http://www.ippf.org/...

Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO):
Staking a claim to our future at Rio+20

WEDO works internationally to help establish women’s equality in global policy.  Established in 1990 by former New York congresswoman Bella Abzug and feminist author and journalist Mim Kelber, WEDO works on several international efforts fighting for women’s rights and empowerment. In 1991, WEDO brought together over 1,500 women representing 83 countries in an advocacy group known as the World Women’s Congress for a Healthy Planet (WWCHP). At the 1992 UN Earth Summit, the WWCHP devised a plan to increase gender equality as a key issue in the UN negotiations for a more sustainable world. These efforts proved groundbreaking, establishing women’s equity as a principal concern in the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 and pioneering the participation of women’s voices in the then male-dominated decision-making body of the UN. Conducting and disseminating research on women’s rights and leadership, and their intersections with both the environment and development, WEDO continues to be a leader of gender equality issues worldwide.

At Rio+20, WEDO will participate in several events. A roundtable discussion, “Framing Sustainable Development Policy Dialogues: A Well Prepared Society,” will highlight the role of gender equity and women’s leadership in linking and informing both sustainable global action and community-based decisions. “Women’s Networking for Sustainability Celebrating the Past & Envisioning the Future at Rio+20” will provide an opportunity for participants to build relationships and collaborate on issues of gender equity. On June 20th, WEDO will help organize the “Launch of Gender + Sustainable Development Commitments” event and host a following cocktail reception to celebrate women’s leadership in sustainable development around the world.

Connect with WEDO on their
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/...
Twitter: http://twitter.com/...
Website: http://www.wedo.org/

The Elders:
Rio+20: a moment for courage

Chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Elders is an independent group of global leaders, convened by Nelson Mandela, who work together for peace and human rights.  In 2010, The Elders started working on child marriage as part of their agenda to promote equality for girls and women. Ending this harmful practice is essential to protect the rights of women and girls and to improve maternal and child health, education and empowerment in developing societies worldwide. The Elders created “Girls Not Brides,” to bring together organizations working locally, nationally and internationally to build a global partnership to end child marriage.

In the lead-up to Rio+20, several “Elders” have written blogs, op-eds, and articles that highlight the need to address child marriage, and to bring youth voices into the debates on sustainable development.

“You must succeed where we have failed,” Desmond Tutu said in the run up to Rio+20. The Elders launched an online global debate with young leaders, called “Elders+Youngers,” to inspire the urgent change needed to build a more equitable and sustainable world. At the Rio+Social event on June 19th in Rio, several of the “Elders+Youngers” members, including, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, and Mary Robinson, with Esther Agbarakwe, Marvin Nala, Pedro Telles, and Sara Svensson, will discuss the topic: “What kind of world do we want for our great-great-grandchildren?”

Connect with The Elders on their
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/...
Twitter: http://twitter.com/...
Website: http://www.theelders.org

Population Action International (PAI):
Fighting for reproductive rights around the world and at Rio+20

PAI is a non-profit organization that advocates for women and families around the world to have access to contraception in order to improve their health, reduce poverty and protect their environment. Over the past 45 years, their research and advocacy have increased civic and institutional engagement with this issue through campaigns to repeal the Global Gag Rule, data linking demographic pressures to environmental degradation, and provocative films that put a local face on the global movement for reproductive rights. They also support the efforts of community-based organizations in order to promote local leadership and education about sexual and reproductive health.

PAI is hosting three side events at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in order to address different ways in which population dynamics affect sustainable development. “From Rio to Cairo to Rio, and Beyond” on June 16, will highlight the synergy between population growth and sustainability, and how this relationship must become central to development strategies in the face of climate change, particularly in Africa. On June 18, PAI will emphasize the central role that women play in sustainable development in “Healthy Women, Healthy Planet.” A screening of their film, “Weathering Change” will follow the discussion about the importance of women’s empowerment, health, and education.  On June 19, PAI is partnering with the Advocates for Youth and the Sierra Club in “Youth SRHR in the Context of Sustainable Development” where they will lead a discussion about the unique opportunities and challenges presented by youth sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the critical role young people play in promoting just and sustainable development.

Connect with PAI on their
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/...
Twitter: http://twitter.com/...
Website: http://populationaction.org/

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Crossposted from the Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet.

According to the United Nations, access to reliable and sufficient sources of energy will be critical to meeting the Millennium Development Goals  (MDGs) of reducing poverty and hunger by 2015. Many of the world’s poorest people are rural farmers with no connections to power grids or large-scale energy sources. Most of their day-to-day energy currently comes from the burning of wood and charcoal, practices that contribute to air pollution, deforestation, and the loss of precious time and energy collecting firewood.

Today, Nourishing the Planet introduces five sources of renewable energy that are meeting the demands of poor farmers and allowing them to improve their harvests and their lives.

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Crossposted from the Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet.

The global population of farm animals increased 23 percent between 1980 and 2010, from 3.5 billion to 4.3 billion, according to research by the Worldwatch Institute for its Vital Signs Online publication. These figures continue a trend of rising farm animal populations, with harmful effects on the environment, public health, and global development.

Both production and consumption of animal products are increasingly concentrated in developing countries. In contrast, due in part to a growing awareness of the health consequences of high meat consumption, the appetite for animal products is stagnating or declining in many industrial countries.

The demand for meat, eggs, and dairy products in developing countries has increased at a staggering rate in recent decades, according to the report. Although industrialized countries still consume the most animal products, urbanization and rising incomes in developing countries are spurring shifts to more meat-heavy diets.

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Crossposted from the Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet.

In 2008, the Pew Center on the States reported that Vermont, Michigan, Oregon, Connecticut, and Delaware spent more on prisons than higher education, and the ratio of prison to education spending was increasing.  Prisons receive billions of dollars each year in government funding, yet national recidivism rates continue to hover at around 66 percent. Following the economic recession, budgets have been slashed, forcing penitentiaries and post-release programs to cut spending.  Considered non-essential and expensive, garden programs are often the first to be cut, yet they have proven to be successful in not only reducing recidivism rates and improving rehabilitation, but also providing fresh healthy food to inmates and surrounding communities.

Today, Nourishing the Planet presents five innovative programs around the country that are proof of what gardening programs can accomplish.

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Crossposted from the Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet.

The Sasumua dam supplies Nairobi, Kenya with 20 percent of its fresh water, but land use changes have started to contaminate this important source of water. Forests and wetlands are being converted into agricultural land and commercial plots. This reduces water flow during the dry season and increases surface runoff during the wet season. It also increases soil erosion and the run-off of chemical and biological pollutants from agricultural fields. This negatively impacts the livelihoods of both city dwellers and smallholders living in the watershed.

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Crossposted from the Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet.

Beyond the traditional lessons on reading, writing, and math, schools across America are now teaching their students about another crucially important subject that will build the foundation for the rest of their lives: nutrition.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 17 percent of children in America are obese.  These children face higher risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other diseases when they become adults.

With approximately 55 million children enrolled in the U.S., schools can play a powerful role in the efforts to combat obesity. Every day, over 31 million children receive their lunches through the National School Lunch Program. These meals are subsidized the government, and made available to low-income students for free or reduced rates.  In addition, by teaching children about agriculture, cooking, and gardening, students gain a greater appreciation and understanding of where their food comes from and how it is produced. Today, Nourishing the Planet highlights five initiatives helping to teach children about nutrition across the country.

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Crossposted from the Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet.

Many of us are thinking about the changes we want to make this year. For some, these changes will be financial; for others, physical or spiritual. But for all of us, there are important resolutions we can make to "green" our lives. Although this is often a subject focused on by industrialized nations, people in developing countries can also take important steps to reduce their growing environmental impact.

"We in the developing world must embark on a more vigorous 'going green' program," says Sue Edwards, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD). "As incomes rise and urbanization increases, a growing middle class must work with city planners to ensure our communities are sustainable."

ISD's Tigray Project recently received the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development 2011, shared with Kofi Annan, Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Since 1996, Tigray has worked to help Ethiopian farmers rehabilitate ecosystems, raise land productivity, and increase incomes through such practices as composting, biodiversity enhancement, the conservation of water and soil, and the empowerment of local communities to manage their own development.

Broadening sustainability efforts is essential to solving many of the world's challenges, including food production, security, and poverty. The United Nations has designated 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.

Hunger, poverty, and climate change are issues that we in the developing world can help address. Here are 12 simple steps to go green in 2012:

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Crossposted from the Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet.

As we head into 2012, many of us will be resolving to lose those few extra pounds, save more money, or spend a few more hours with our families and friends. But there are also some resolutions we can make to make our lives a little greener. Each of us, especially in the United States, can make a commitment to reducing our environmental impacts.

The United Nations has designated 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. Broadening access to sustainable energy is essential to solving many of the world’s challenges, including food production, security, and poverty.

Hunger, poverty, and climate change are issues that we can all help address. Here are 12 simple steps to go green in 2012:

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Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 07:30 AM PST

One Billion Holiday Wishes

by NourishingthePlanet

Crossposted from the Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet.

The holidays are a time for putting others before yourself. And with the recent announcement that the world’s population has surpassed seven billion, there are a lot more ‘others’ to consider this year. Nearly one billion people in the world are hungry, for example, while almost the same number are illiterate, making it hard for them to earn a living or move out of poverty. One billion people—many of them children—have micronutrient deficiencies, decreasing their ability to learn and live productive lives.

But there are hundreds and hundreds of organizations working tirelessly in communities at home and abroad to fix these problems.

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Crossposted from the Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet.

World grain production fell in 2010, exacerbating a global food situation already plagued by rising prices, according to new research published by the Worldwatch Institute for its Vital Signs Online publication. Despite record rice and maize yields around the world, global wheat production dropped substantially enough to bring total grain output to just below 2008 levels.

Maize, wheat, and rice provide nearly two-thirds of the global human diet and serve as critical inputs for both animal feed and industrial products. The significance of these crops guarantees that a decline in production will produce ripple effects throughout the global economy, particularly as increased food prices continue to take a toll on the world'€™s neediest populations. Overall, rice and wheat production have tripled since the 1960s, and maize production has quadrupled, despite global acreage of these crops increasing by only 35 percent.

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