Wednesday August 15, 2018

Climate Change Changes The Cost Of Eating Veggies

Food production itself is a major contributor to climate change.

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People shop at a vegetable and fruit market in Amman, Jordan, June 6, 2018. Climate change could drive up the prices of vegetables, according to a new study.
People shop at a vegetable and fruit market in Amman, Jordan, June 6, 2018. Climate change could drive up the prices of vegetables, according to a new study. VOA
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Keeping healthy could become more costly as climate change and water scarcity cause a huge drop in the global production of vegetables and legumes, scientists said Monday.

The amount of vegetables produced could fall by more than a third, especially in hot regions like southern Europe and swaths of Africa and South Asia, said researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

By analyzing studies across 40 countries, with some dating as far back as 1975, they found that hikes in greenhouses gases, water scarcity and global temperatures lowered the amount of vegetables and legumes produced.

Such drastic changes could drive up the prices of vegetables, which would affect poorer communities the most, according to the study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“If we take a ‘business as usual’ approach, environmental changes will substantially reduce the global availability of these important foods,” said Alan Dangour, a co-author of the paper, in a statement.

Scientists have warned that world temperatures are likely to rise by 2 degrees to 4.9 degrees Celsius this century compared with pre-industrial times.

Climate change
Climate change, Pixabay

This could lead to dangerous weather patterns — including more frequent and powerful droughts, floods and storms — increasing the pressure on agriculture.

Food production itself is a major contributor to climate change.

Agriculture, forestry and changes in land use together produce nearly a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, making them the second-largest emitter after the energy sector, said the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

The volume of food transported around the world also is exacerbating global warming.

The global demand for food is expected to soar as the world’s population is projected to grow to 9.8 billion people by 2050, up from 7.6 billion today, according to the U.N.

Crops now take up 11 percent of the world’s land surface, and livestock grazing covers 26 percent of ice-free land, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Farming accounts for about 70 percent of all water used globally, said the OECD.

Water scarcity already affects more than 40 percent of the world’s population, according to the U.N.

Green vegetable
Green vegetable, Pixabay

That number is expected to rise due to global warming, with one in four people projected to face chronic or recurring shortages by 2050, the U.N. said.

Also read: Climate change driving dramatic rise in sea levels: NASA

“Urgent action needs to be taken, including working to support the agriculture sector to increase its resilience to environmental changes,” said Dangour. “And this must be a priority for governments across the world.” (VOA)

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Reduce Loneliness And Boost Your Mental Health With Cycling

The study stressed on the need for "an integrated approach to urban planning, transport planning and public health is needed.

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Cycling can reduce your loneliness, boost mental health
Cycling can reduce your loneliness, boost mental health. Flickr

Feeling lonely? Riding your bicycles may not only improve your general and mental health, but also increase social interaction, says a study.

The study showed that cycling is the healthiest mode of transport and is associated with better self-perceived general health, better mental health, greater vitality, lower self-perceived stress and fewer feelings of loneliness.

“The findings suggest that active transport –especially cycling– should be encouraged in order to improve health and increase social interaction,” said lead author Avila Palencia from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) in Barcelona, Spain.

walking, was associated with good self-perceived general health
walking, was associated with good self-perceived general health. Pixabay

The second most beneficial transport mode, walking, was associated with good self-perceived general health, greater vitality, and more contact with friends and/or family.

“Ours is the first study to associate the use of multiple urban transport modes with health effects such as mental health and social contact. It also allowed us to highlight the positive effect of walking, which in previous studies was not very conclusive,” she added.

The study, published in the journal Environment International, was carried out in seven European cities: Antwerp, Barcelona, London, Orebro, Rome, Vienna and Zurich and included more than 8,800 people.

The transport modes assessed in the study were car, motorbike, public transport, bicycle, electric bicycle and walking.

cycling is the healthiest mode of transport
Cycling is the healthiest mode of transport Pixabay

Driving and public-transport use were associated with poor self-perceived general health, while cars were linked with fewer feelings of loneliness.

“This result is most likely due to the fact that the study population drove very infrequently and most journeys by car were probably for social purposes, such as visiting a family member or a friend,” the researchers explained.

Also Read: Taking Care of Mental Health Problems in Children, may Boost Parent’s Mental Health Too

The study stressed on the need for “an integrated approach to urban planning, transport planning and public health is needed in order to develop policies that promote active transport, such as adding more segregated cycle lanes for a better environment for cyclists,” the researchers noted. (IANS)