Most Americans Don't Consider Environmental Impacts of Food Choices, but Are Willing to Eat More Plants, Study Finds
Recent books like We Are the Weather advocate for considering how our dietary choices affect the climate crisis, but new research shows that most Americans are not discussing the environmental impacts of their diets with friend and family, as Inverse reported.
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By Danielle Nierenberg and Sabrina Endicott
On November 17th, Food Tank is co-hosting a panel with the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center on COVID-19's impact on the restaurant and culinary industry and what is being done to help save restaurants. Panelists will include Camilla Marcus, Founder of Independent Restaurant Coalition and Co-founder of the Relief Opportunities for All Restaurants, Naama Tamir, Co-owner of Lighthouse and Lighthouse Outpost, JJ Johnson, Owner of FIELDTRIP, Tom Colicchio, Founder of Crafted Hospitality, Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of NYC Hospitality Alliance, and Salil Metah, Chef and Owner of Laut Singapura Restaurant.
The human body needs protein to build muscle and perform basic metabolic functions. However, many Americans (especially older adults) do not consume enough protein in their everyday diet to meet their recommended daily intake. That's why protein powders and shakes aren't just for bodybuilders. In fact, supplementing with protein powder is an easy and tasty way to fuel your body with the nutrients it needs not just to function, but to thrive.
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Meal kit services offer pre-portioned recipes and a fun cooking experience. But what options are best for the earth-conscious family?
For those looking for a quick and convenient way to eat delicious, hearty meals with little to no hassle, there are plenty of meal delivery services to choose from. We've all seen the overwhelming number of meal kits promoted via Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms, but many consumers are left wondering if these delivery services are really worth the purchase. Despite all the hype, these programs can be beneficial for a number of reasons, including their environmental impact.
Purple Carrot<p>According to researchers, you could cut the <a href="https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2019/11/15/how-much-would-giving-up-meat-help-the-environment" target="_blank">carbon footprint of your diet by 60%</a> by eating plant-based meals for two-thirds of your diet.</p><p>Now, if sustainability is about achieving a balance between human consumption and the environments we impact, plant-based is the way to go. Purple Carrot offers all plant-based meal kits in a variety of tasty menu items. There's even a black bean burger if you want to prepare the vegan-skeptic member of your family a familiar plate. </p><p>Purple Carrot meal kits, in many ways, support the idea that many small, smart choices can add up to a big impact. </p><p><strong>Cost</strong>: Purple Carrot costs $11.99 price per serving for two people and $9.99 per serving for the four-plate plan. With introductory discounts the first week costs $50 to $60. </p>
Sun Basket<p>Sun Basket is our favorite organic meal kit brand. Sun Basket delivers a box of 100% organic produce, antibiotic- and hormone-free meat, and farm fresh eggs. Their approach to sourcing wild seafood was named Best Choice or Good Alternative by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® Program.</p><p>Sun Basket aims to support farmers who push for sustainable water management and crop rotations, as well as ranchers and fisherman who treat the planet with respect. </p><strong>Cost</strong>: Three meals each week for two people costs $71.94 plus $7.99 shipping. That's $11.99 per serving.
Green Chef<p>Green Chef is a certified organic company with meal kit plans that include keto, paleo, and plant-based options. You can schedule a weekly delivery or stagger deliveries during the month, depending on your personal needs or how often you choose to cook. Green Chef has a wide variety of recipe options, and according to its website, <span style="background-color: initial;">"offsets 100% of its direct carbon emissions and plastic packaging" through its sustainability efforts.</span></p><p><strong>Cost</strong>: Price is based on the plan chosen, but costs are generally $11.49 per meal for the Keto + Paleo option, $10.49 per meal for the Balanced Living option, and $10.49 per meal for the Plant-powered option. Shipping and handling costs are additional.</p>
Freshly<p>Freshly is the only service we came across that offered corporate options. We liked the idea of a cost-efficient way to serve a large group a healthy meal. Freshly boxes in the office fridge would be a nice reprieve from the typical mid-day exodus to the nearest quick food option. All Freshly meals come in recyclable packaging and the single portions mean less food going to waste during preparation, which makes this a more sustainable option than many single-serving meal packages available in the freezer section of your local grocery store. </p><p><strong>Cost</strong>: Individual meals are $8.99 to $12.50 per serving with free shipping.</p>
Every Plate<p>If you're looking for organic ingredients, simple recipe cards, and a highly affordable option, Every Plate is for you. Every Plate uses less packaging than most other delivery services due to their simpler packages that contain fewer spice and sauce packets. Most Every Plate meals can be made in under 30 minutes, which makes this as close as you can come to fast and "cheap" meals with clean ingredients. </p><p><strong>Cost</strong>: Weekly boxes of two or four servings for as little as $4.99 per serving.</p>
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the use of products containing the weedkiller dicamba for use on cotton and soybeans Tuesday. The EPA announcement means that two products that contain the herbicide found to cause cancer can be registered for five years. It also extended the use of a third product that also has dicamba in it, according to The Hill.
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Humans aren't the only animals that get "hangry" when deprived of a meal.
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By Stacy Malkan
The International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) is a corporate-funded nonprofit group with chapters around the world that claim to conduct "science for the public good," but documents released in a new study reveal that the influential ILSI science group is a actually a lobby group that protects the interests of the food industry, not public health.
<p>Malaspina, a former senior vice president at Coca-Cola from 1969-2001, founded ILSI in 1978. Coca-Cola has kept close ties with ILSI ever since. From 2009-2011, the president of ILSI was Michael Ernest Knowles, who was also Coca-Cola's VP of global scientific and regulatory affairs from 2008–2013. In 2015, <a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20150721055103/http://ww" target="_blank">ILSI's president</a> was Rhona Applebaum, who <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-24/coca-cola-s-chief-science-officer-retires-after-obesity-outcry" target="_blank">retired from her job</a> as Coca-Cola's chief health and science officer (and from <a href="http://ilsi.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/ILSI_News_Q4_2015_vFinal.pdf" target="_blank">ILSI</a>) in 2015 after the <a href="https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/09/coca-cola-funds-scientists-who-shift-blame-for-obesity-away-from-bad-diets/?_r=0" target="_blank">New York Times</a> and <a href="https://www.apnews.com/1fd235360ac94dcf893a87e3074a03a5" target="_blank">Associated Press</a> reported that Coke funded the nonprofit Global Energy Balance Network to help shift blame for obesity away from sugary drinks.</p><p>Emails <a href="http://www.ehn.org/coca-cola-war-on-science-2555599081.html" target="_blank">obtained by U.S. Right to Know</a> and reported in <a href="http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2018/03/14/jech-2017-210375" target="_blank">a 2016 study</a> revealed that Coke proposed and financed the Global Energy Balance Network as a "weapon" in the "growing war between the pubic health community and private industry" over obesity and the obesity epidemic. </p><p>ILSI is funded by its <a href="https://ilsi.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Members.pdf" target="_blank">corporate members and company supporters</a>, including leading food and chemical companies such as Coca-Cola, BASF, Bayer, DuPont, Syngenta, Mars, McDonalds, chemical industry trade groups, and many others. <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/ilsiweb/ilsi/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/AR2018/index.html#22" target="_blank">In its annual report</a>, ILSI and its branches reported $17,481,251 in expenses for 2017 but did not disclose specific donor information. A document obtained via a state freedom of information request shows corporate <a href="https://www.usrtk.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/ILSI2012donors.pdf" target="_blank">contributions to ILSI Global amounting to $2.4 million</a> in 2012. The largest donations were $500,000 from Monsanto and over $500,000 from the pesticide industry trade group, Crop Life International. ILSI's <a href="https://usrtk.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/ILSI-Draft-2013-form-990.pdf" target="_blank">draft 2013 IRS tax returns</a> show $337,000 in donations from Coca-Cola and over $650,000 from six agrichemical companies, BASF, Bayer, Dow, Monsanto, Pioneer Hi Bred and Syngenta. </p>
2015 email from Alex Malaspina, founder of ILSI.
ILSI Undermined Obesity Fight in China<p>In January 2019, two papers by <a href="https://susan-greenhalgh.com/coca-cola-goes-to-china/" target="_blank">Harvard Prof. Susan Greenhalgh</a> revealed ILSI's powerful influence on the Chinese government on issues related to obesity. Prof. Geenhalgh's articles in the <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.k5050" target="_blank">Journal of Public Health Policy</a> and <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.k5050" target="_blank">the BMJ</a> document how Coca-Cola and other corporations worked through the China branch of ILSI to influence decades of Chinese science and public policy on obesity and diet-related illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes and hypertension. </p>
Jan. 9 article in New York Times.<p>ILSI is so well-placed in China that it operates from inside the government's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing. Dr. Greenhalgh's papers document how Coca-Cola and other Western food and beverage giants "helped shape decades of Chinese science and public policy on obesity and diet-related diseases" by operating through ILSI to cultivate key Chinese officials "in an effort to stave off the growing movement for food regulation and soda taxes that has been sweeping the west," <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/09/health/obesity-china-coke.html" target="_blank">reported Andrew Jacobs in the New York Times</a>.</p><p>Recent studies on ILSI's influence and approach can also be found in <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09581596.2017.1371844" target="_blank">Critical Public Health</a> and the <a href="https://www.milbank.org/quarterly/articles/public-meets-private-conversations-between-coca-cola-" target="_blank">Milbank Quarterly</a>.</p>
ILSI Sugar Study “Right Out of the Tobacco Industry’s Playbook”<p>In 2016, public health experts denounced an ILSI-funded <a href="https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2593601/scientific-basis-guideline-recommendations-sugar-intake-systematic-review" target="_blank">sugar study</a> published in a prominent medical journal that presented a "scathing attack on global health advice to eat less sugar," <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/19/well/eat/a-food-industry-study-tries-to-discredit-advice-about-sugar.html" target="_blank">reported Anahad O'Connor in The New York Times</a>. The ILSI-funded study argued that warnings to cut sugar are based on weak evidence and cannot be trusted.</p><p>The Times story quoted Marion Nestle, a professor at New York University who studies conflicts of interest in nutrition research, on the ILSI study: "This comes right out of the tobacco industry's playbook: cast doubt on the science," Nestle said. "This is a classic example of how industry funding biases opinion. It's shameful." </p><p>ILSI has also been accused of working directly on the tobacco industry playbook to thwart public safety measures to reduce smoking. A <a href="https://www.who.int/tobacco/en/who_inquiry.pdf" target="_blank">July 2000 report by an independent committee of the World Health Organization</a> outlined a number of ways in which the tobacco industry attempted to undermine WHO tobacco control efforts, including using scientific groups to influence WHO's decision-making and to manipulate scientific debate surrounding the health effects of tobacco. ILSI played a key role in these efforts, according to a <a href="https://www.who.int/tobacco/media/en/ILSI.pdf" target="_blank">case study about ILSI from the WHO Tobacco Free Initiative</a>. "Findings indicate that ILSI was used by certain tobacco companies to thwart tobacco control policies. Senior office bearers in ILSI were directly involved in these actions," according to the case study. </p>
ILSI Leaders Played Key Role in Defending Glyphosate as Chairs of WHO Panel<p>In May 2016, ILSI was caught "in a conflict of interest row over glyphosate cancer risk," <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/17/unwho-panel-in-conflict-of-interest-row-over-glyphosates-cancer-risk" target="_blank">reported Arthur Neslen</a> in the Guardian, <a href="http://usrtk.org/pesticides/conflict-of-interest-concerns-cloud-meeting-as-international-experts-review-herbicide-risks/" target="_blank">after revelations</a> that the vice president of ILSI Europe, Prof. Alan Boobis, was also chairman of the UN Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues <a href="https://www.who.int/foodsafety/jmprsummary2016.pdf" target="_blank">(JMPR) panel</a> that found Monsanto's chemical <a href="https://usrtk.org/pesticides/glyphosate-health-concerns/" target="_blank">glyphosate</a> was unlikely to pose a cancer risk through diet. The co-chair of the JMPR panel, Prof. Angelo Moretto, was a board member of ILSI's Health and Environment Services Institute. Neither of the chairs declared their ILSI leadership roles as conflicts of interest, despite the <a href="https://www.usrtk.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/ILSI2012donors.pdf" target="_blank">significant financial contributions ILSI has received</a> from Monsanto and the pesticide industry trade group. </p>
ILSI’s Cozy Ties at U.S. CDC<p>In June 2016, <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com/carey-gillam/beverage-industry-finds-f_b_10715584.html" target="_blank">U.S. Right to Know reported</a> that Dr. Barbara Bowman, director of a U.S. Centers for Disease Control division charged with preventing heart disease and stroke, tried to help ILSI's founder Alex Malaspina influence World Health Organization officials to back off policies to reduce sugar consumption. Bowman suggested people and groups for Malaspina to talk to, and solicited his comments on some CDC summaries of reports, the emails show. (Bowman <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com/carey-gillam/cdc-official-exits-agency_b_10760490.html" target="_blank">stepped down</a> after our first article was published reporting on these ties.)</p><p>A January 2019 <a href="https://www.milbank.org/quarterly/articles/public-meets-private-conversations-between-coca-cola-and-the-cdc/" target="_blank">study in the Milbank Quarterly</a> describes key emails of Malaspina cozying up to Dr. Bowman. </p>
ILSI Influence in India<p>ILSI has close ties to some Indian government officials and, as in China, the nonprofit has pushed similar messaging and policy proposals as Coca-Cola — downplaying the role of sugar and diet as a cause of obesity, and promoting increased physical activity as the solution, <a href="http://www.indiaresource.org/news/2019/1011.html" target="_blank">according to the India Resource Center</a>. Members of ILSI India's board of trustees include Coca-Cola India's director of regulatory affairs and representatives from Nestlé and Ajinomoto, a food additive company, along with government officials who serve on scientific panels that are tasked with deciding about food safety issues. </p>
Longstanding Concerns About ILSI<p>ILSI insists it is not an industry lobby group, but concerns and complaints are longstanding about the group's pro-industry stances and conflicts of interest among the organization's leaders.</p><p>In 2010, Nature reported on concerns about conflicts of interest between ILSI and the European Food Safety Authority, and noted that the<a href="https://www.nature.com/news/2010/101005/full/news.2010.513.html" target="_blank"> industry ties may taint the reputation of the European regulatory body</a>. </p><p>A 2019 book by Dr. Tim Noakes and Marika Sboros, <a href="http://www.realfoodontrial.com/" target="_blank">Real Food on Trial</a> (Columbus Publishing), recounts the "unprecedented prosecution" of Dr. Noakes "in a multimillion rand case that stretched over more than four years. All for a single tweet giving his opinion on nutrition." Russ Greene reported on the controversy in a 2017 <a href="https://keepfitnesslegal.crossfit.com/2017/01/05/big-food-vs-tim-noakes-the-final-crusade/" target="_blank">article for Keep Fitness Legal</a>. "The Food Industry is attempting to use Dr. Noakes in order to set an example to anyone who dares challenge its authority in nutrition," Greene wrote.</p>
By Keith Schneider
In many ways, the story of Texas over the last century is the state's devout allegiance to the principle that mankind has dominion over nature.
Rising Demand Confronts Lower Supplies<p>There are a couple of ways to examine the coming hardship. The first is in numbers. The <a href="https://www.twdb.texas.gov/waterplanning/data/projections/index.asp" target="_blank">Texas Water Development Board found</a> that by 2070 the state's population will grow to 51 million people, 22 million more than today. The state's annual demand for water, the State Water Board projects, will climb to 21.6 million acre-feet (27 trillion liters), up from 18.4 million.</p><p>At the same time, a severe drought will bring increasing constraint. <a href="https://texasstatewaterplan.org/statewide" target="_blank">State authorities project</a> that in a drought comparable to the most severe on record, water supplies will fall over the next 50 years from 15.2 million acre-feet to 13.6 million acre-feet (17 trillion liters). During the driest periods, more people will have considerably less water.</p><p>Here's how that confrontation is playing out in the Hill Country, a region of rapid population growth and uncertain water supply west of Austin, Texas' capital city.</p><p>Two generations ago, about 40,000 people made their homes in Hays County, an epic, rural, rolling masterpiece of space and sky close to Austin and San Antonio. Authorities in Hays counted 14,000 homes that were supplied with water from the Trinity Aquifer, a giant freshwater reserve that lay below. <a href="https://www.circleofblue.org/2020/world/when-it-rains-texas-forgets-drought-and-worsening-water-scarcity/" target="_blank">In both wet years and dry, water was readily available</a>.</p>
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The world's largest iceberg could collide with South Georgia Island, posing a major risk to the wildlife that call it home.
<div id="0158a" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="16e3157bc104f379a3d50e175a83f340"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1324008455368331264" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">A68a iceberg heads towards #SouthGeorgia – The iceberg is the size of the UK county of Somerset and if it becomes g… https://t.co/ebEJhX83PM</div> — Antarctic Survey (@Antarctic Survey)<a href="https://twitter.com/BAS_News/statuses/1324008455368331264">1604503189.0</a></blockquote></div><p>The iceberg is now approximately 311 miles away from the island and roughly the same size, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/04/giant-antarctic-iceberg-on-collision-course-with-british-territory-of-south-georgia" target="_blank">The Guardian reported</a>. It is currently headed directly toward the island, according to the BAS.</p><p>This is a common route for icebergs that break off from Antarctica to take, <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54798031" target="_blank">BBC News explained</a>. Currents carry the icebergs north, where they catch on the continental shelf surrounding the island. Because A68a only extends around 656 feet below the waterline, it could advance quite far before getting stuck.</p><p>If that happens, Tarling told the BAS the iceberg could be stuck for up to 10 years, increasing its impact on wildlife. The last time an iceberg ran aground off South Georgia, in 2004, large numbers of dead seal pups and penguin chicks were found on local beaches, BBC News reported.</p>
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The bread used to make Subway sandwiches isn't legally bread.
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By Matthew J. Landry and Heather Eicher-Miller
When university presidents were surveyed in spring of 2020 about what they felt were the most pressing concerns of COVID-19, college students going hungry didn't rank very high.
Why It Matters<p>This is not just a matter of growling stomachs. This is a straight-up education and health issue.</p><p>When students don't really know if they'll be able to get enough to eat, it can lead to a series of problems that make it harder to stay in school. For instance, it can affect <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1359105318783028" target="_blank">academic performance</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-6943-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">sleep quality</a>. It can also lead to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105318783028" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">poor mental and physical health</a> outcomes for college students.</p><p>Food insecurity can also result in disrupted eating patterns if there is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6627945/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">not enough food or the variety</a> or <a href="https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-019-6943-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">quality of what someone eats</a> is low.</p>
Campus Food Pantries<p>Previous strategies by <a href="https://www.gao.gov/assets/700/696254.pdf" target="_blank">colleges and universities</a> to fight hunger in their student bodies have varied widely. They include campus food pantries, emergency cash assistance and nutrition education through noncredit classes or workshopse.</p><p>These strategies were put to the test during the spring 2020 semester, when nearly <a href="https://hope4college.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Hopecenter_RealCollegeDuringthePandemic.pdf" target="_blank">three in five students</a> said they had trouble meeting their own basic needs during the pandemic.</p><p>College food pantries saw <a href="https://www.utrgv.edu/newsroom/2020/05/01-utrgv-student-food-pantry-seeing-recent-increase-in-demand-during-covid-19.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">big increases</a> in demand. Others said they <a href="https://www.theprospectordaily.com/2020/09/22/uteps-food-pantry-is-running-out-of-food/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">were getting less donated food</a>. This made it even harder to meet the rising food needs of students.</p><p>Campus food pantries largely rely on local or regional food banks, which have been dealing with <a href="https://www.indystar.com/story/news/local/2020/10/04/indiana-food-banks-call-more-food-stamps-meet-publics-need/3523683001/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">greater demand</a> than they are able to meet during the pandemic.</p><p>The many students who are attending college remotely will, of course, have less access to campus resources like food pantries.</p>
Federal Help<p>Other potential ways to get more food are government programs like the <a href="https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/recipient/eligibility" target="_blank">Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program</a>, known as SNAP. Yet the majority of able-bodied students are not eligible. Long-standing restrictions, like the <a href="https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/students" target="_blank">college SNAP rule</a>, prevent full-time students from receiving these benefits.</p><p>Such regulatory hurdles were created under the assumption that most students can rely on their parents to get enough to eat. However, college students have vastly different levels of financial support. Some students can rely on their parents for everything and others cannot rely on their parents for anything.</p><p>Decreased reliance on parental financial support is <a href="https://ir.library.louisville.edu/jsfa/vol47/iss3/5/" target="_blank">especially common</a> for first-generation students and students of color, who now make up <a href="https://1xfsu31b52d33idlp13twtos-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Race-and-Ethnicity-in-Higher-Education.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">45% of enrolled college students</a>.</p><p>Under normal circumstances, many college students might rely on part-time jobs to pay for their food.</p>
Short-Term Solutions<p>Universities and colleges can make it a priority to ensure students are aware of all available campus resources and services. They can also potentially help students apply for federal assistance benefits.</p><p>Campus food pantries are not a fully effective and efficacious solution for the scale of college food insecurity, but they can be a good interim solution to increase access to food for students.</p><p>Campuses without food pantries can start one, making use of resources the <a href="https://cufba.org/resources/" target="_blank">College and University Food Bank Alliance</a> provides. Schools with food pantries can try to get them to <a href="https://www.swipehunger.org/5campuspantry/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reach more students</a>.</p><p>Universities and colleges can also lean on one another for support. The <a href="http://wp.auburn.edu/endchildhungeral/alabama-campus-coalition-for-basic-needs/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Alabama Campus Coalition for Basic Needs</a> is a great example of this. It brings together 10 universities across the state of Alabama collectively working to address student food insecurity.</p>
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By Karin Jäger
"They begin on a fall night, preferring the light of a full moon … Driven by the currents, they're pulled to the mouth of the river and out into the ocean," writes the WWF, rather poetically, of the European eel's long journey from the rivers of Central Europe to the far reaches of the Atlantic Ocean.
Think Beyond Borders to Protect Species<p>When an animal crosses so many territories, how can it be protected? That's where the Convention of Migratory Species (CMS), sometimes known as the Bonn Convention, comes in. Every three years, the European Union and an additional 129 countries signed up to the CMS meet to discuss cross-border measures to protect eels and other animals on the move.</p><p>In February 2020, the convention met in Gandhinagar, India, where 10 migratory species, including the Asian elephant, jaguar and the oceanic whitetip shark, were added to the international wildlife treaty for the first time.</p><p>Nature's travelers face specific challenges, particularly as humans encroach more on animal habitat and carve up the landscape with roads and settlements, say experts. Wildlife needs to be taken into consideration at the planning stages of such infrastructure projects.</p><p>"Improving connections between habitats is important if we want to stop or even reverse extinctions," said Arnulf Köhncke, an ecologist with conservation group WWF. "You need to look at where an area cuts through as few migration routes and habitats as possible and plan and implement corresponding, cross-border (wildlife migration) corridors."</p><p>Such planning also requires cooperation between states.</p><p>Several bilateral agreements to protect migratory species already exist within the framework of the Bonn Convention. For instance, Chile and Argentina have committed to saving the endangered south Andean deer, which moves up and down the South American Andes, crossing through both countries as it does.</p>
Unprecedented Global Biodiversity Loss<p>Not all animals move across borders of their own accord. International trade in animals also requires international protection efforts. In the case of the eel, considered a delicacy from Europe to Asia, criminals smuggle young European "glass eels" in and out of countries, although international trade is strictly regulated under CITES, an international treaty governing trade in wildlife.</p><p>The trade is in animals caught in the wild. Breeding eels in captivity has so far proved impossible because of their complicated life cycle, which until recently, scientists still knew little about.</p><p>It's a lucrative gig and one that is driving down eel numbers. Although, the trade is regulated, enforcement is often lacking. People should avoid eating the animals, according to WWF. And we should avoid consuming too much fish and meat in general to halt species loss, says the conservation group.</p><p>Veronika Lenarz, who works with the secretariat of the Bonn Convention, agrees. But several major countries, like the USA, Russia and China, aren't party to the convention, while Japan refuses to sign up because of its whaling industry.</p><p>"We are in a crisis that threatens global biodiversity," said Lenarz.</p><p>In a major assessment of the world's wildlife published in September 2020, the UN warned of "unprecedented biodiversity loss" and said the global community had failed to fully achieve any of the 20 biodiversity targets set by the international organization 10 years ago.</p><p>While migratory animals are also impacted, not enough is known about many of the species to gauge to what extent. Researchers estimate there could be anywhere between 5,000 to 10,000 migratory species, ranging from storks and butterflies, to dolphins and wolves.</p>
Climate Change: An Ever-Present Threat<p>Regions in which the climate is changing most rapidly and on a large scale present a particular danger for migratory species. The animals, following a deeply embedded evolutionary instinct, will search for seasonal habitats in search of food and shelter. However, food is increasingly scarce in these places due to climate change.</p><p>Some animals are adapting. Compared to 20 years ago, fewer migratory birds are flying to their wintering grounds. But because these nomads are dependent on the many different habitats they use as resting points on their journeys, they are more vulnerable than their settled counterparts. By staying put, they're also in increased competition for scarce winter food supplies.</p><p>And while animals can adapt, not many can keep up with the pace of climate change.</p><p>"Reports from the UN climate group IPCC show that only a few species can move with the speed of climate change. And often alternative habitats are already occupied by humans," said Köhncke from the WWF.</p><p>The climate crisis and species loss shouldn't be viewed as unrelated issues, because both are damaging to the planet, added Köhncke.</p><p>"Migratory species help to maintain life on Earth. They contribute to the structure and functions of ecosystems as pollinators and seed dispersers, deliver food to other animals and regulate the number of species," said Köhncke. </p>
Creating Conditions to Thrive<p>Ensuring the conditions for the survival of these species should be considered when planning measures for dealing with the consequences of climate change, he added, referring to the WWF study "Wildlife in a Warming World."</p><p>Published in 2018, the study found that around 50% of species in some of the world's key natural regions, such as the Amazon, could disappear if climate change continues unabated.</p><p>Reindeer for instance, some of which migrate in the northern hemisphere, are no longer able to find enough food. Usually in winter, the animals clear snow with their hooves to uncover the lichens and moss they feed on. But temperatures now vary wildly, causing snow to melt or fall as rain instead. When the ground cools again, ice forms and the reindeer cannot get to their grub. </p>
Simple Solutions to Protect Endangered Species<p>Looking to the example of Mexico, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has shown protecting endangered migratory species doesn't have to be complicated.</p><p>Industrial farming has contributed to the jaguar's habitat shrinking by 50% in South and Central America in the last century. As a result, they began roaming near villages looking for food and attacking villagers' dogs. People retaliated by killing them. The IFAW hired community members to build dog houses, meaning the canines are no longer out roaming at night when they could run into big cat predators.</p><p>However, with the global conservation failures of the past decade looming, all eyes will be on the UN Biodiversity Conference scheduled to take place in China in 2021 and whether it can pull off a plan for protecting migratory and non-migratory animals like.</p>
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By Scott Faber
The staggering number of food and farm workers who have died from Covid-19 has laid bare the Trump administration's disastrous policies on food and farm issues.