MAG MAGAZINE November 2023

Climatarian Nutrition

Dr. Dr., the founder of Frea Naturalz, draws attention to the climate crisis. Naz Demirkılıç emphasizes that food waste should be minimized, explains the importance of consuming foods in season, and informs MAG readers about climatarian nutrition.

The climate crisis is a common issue for almost all of us in recent years. Increasing temperatures due to global warming, yield losses in production, damage to agricultural lands due to natural disasters, opening of agricultural lands for development, producers turning to the production of products with high rent... Result; According to 2019 data, a quarter of the world's population did not have access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. Today, six hundred ninety million people are struggling with hunger, and it is predicted that this figure will exceed eight hundred and forty million by 2030.

We are all aware that we are responsible for making our planet more livable and finding solutions to the climate crisis we are facing. The most basic of this lies in changing our diet and our dependence on it; Because what we eat and drink is directly related to global warming. At this point, the climate-friendly nutrition approach emerges.

Climate-friendly nutrition; It was first defined by the New York Times in 2015 as a solution for those who cannot remove meat from their table, cannot adapt to a vegan, vegetarian or alkaline diet model, but are also environmentally sensitive and want to contribute to the climate crisis with their own solutions. The basis of climate-friendly or, in other words, "climatarian nutrition" is to minimize the consumption of foods that negatively affect global warming and to eat adequately, not "abundantly". Considering that one in every three foods produced today goes to waste and that these wasted foods cost eight percent of greenhouse gas emissions, it is possible to understand how important and urgent it is to adapt the climatarian nutrition model to our lives.

The climatarian diet directs consumers to consume local, seasonal, fresh products; because the food supply chain is one of the important factors of greenhouse gas emissions that accelerate global warming. Accordingly, food processing and packaging processes account for ten percent of global greenhouse gas emissions; Transportation, storage and eventual wastage account for 20 percent. Therefore, climate-friendly nutrition, a result of the globalizing world, recommends not buying imported foods, in other words, foods grown outside our geography, especially foods that come from outside the country. For example; Quinoa, which is very popular today and is among the superfoods, is not a very good food for us when its journey from Peru to Turkey and the trace it leaves on the environment are evaluated.

Another important issue that climate-friendly nutrition underlines is food waste. Being able to meet our existing needs without consuming the resources of the future is a must for sustainability for all living things and climatarian nutrition.

Nowadays, people who want more than they need buy more than they can consume, while millions of people go to sleep hungry. However, most of the purchases end up in the trash for various reasons. According to the report published by the United Nations in 2021, nine hundred and thirty-one million tons of food are thrown away annually in the world and seven million tons of food annually in our country. This figure has reached 18.1 million tons, according to unofficial data announced this year. As the level of development and income increases, waste also increases. Climate-friendly nutrition principles; Approaching the issue globally, he says that consumption is a vital choice for our future, rather than a shopping act, and recommends nutrition by purchasing small amounts of products according to need.

In this context, he emphasizes that the consumption of animal foods, especially meat, should be reduced to the minimum amount in the diet, as both carbon and water footprints are very high; Because as animal food consumption increases, both more feed and more feed area are needed. Recent research indicates that a forest area the size of a football field is destroyed every six seconds due to animal food consumption alone. He also underlines that wasting one kilogram of boneless meat has the same effect as wasting twenty-four kilograms of wheat, and explains how animal food consumption harms the environment. For this reason, reducing animal food consumption due to both our health and environmental factors and switching to a plant-based diet becomes a priority for all of us.

Some studies on the subject carried out in the past years provide a ray of hope for all of us for a sustainable future. For example; Hilton Hotels group has added new dishes with a lower carbon footprint to its menus as of autumn 2021. Additionally, Sodexo announced that it would stop working with suppliers that have not made “concrete progress” in measuring and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, starting with the UK and Ireland.

On the other hand, the issue needs to be addressed with a more holistic approach, starting from the soil, that is, from the production process; Because if environmental factors are ignored during production, if excessive chemicals and pesticides are used, if they are exploited ruthlessly in order to get more productivity, the soil becomes sick. Pesticides not only affect carbon emissions, but also affect our health due to the chemicals they contain, and also reduce the nutritional quality of the products we eat.

In summary; We are all responsible for being a part of the solution for our future and the sustainability of all living things with which we share the planet. We can only achieve this by applying the principles of climate-friendly nutrition, which are simple to implement but equally effective in their results. From today on, if we take care not to waste food, consume it in season, shop from local producers, choose biodegradable packaging as an alternative to plastic, reduce animal protein in our diet and benefit from herbal alternatives, we will all contribute to a better future.

Finally; We should not forget our children, who are the consumers of the future. Raising awareness and educating them is perhaps the first step to be taken. We need to explain that we are all responsible for the sustainability of this planet, not only for their health but also to leave a better world to future generations. Then, we will have paid our debt to the planet we live in, to some extent.

Dr. Naz Demirkılıç

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