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Title: Food, gender and climate change
Authors: Mwamulima, Precious Shola
Keywords: Food consumption
Diet -- Sex differences
Greenhouse gases
Issue Date: 2019
Citation: Mwamulima, P.S. (2019). Food, gender and climate change (Master's dissertation).
Abstract: The choices we make about the food we eat have major ramifications on personal human health and global ecological health. Food production occupies more than one third of global land areas and accounting for ~30% of total greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) of which 80% is livestock, collectively intensify climate change. Simultaneously, food ecosystems shape an oxymoron of overconsumption with diet-related noncommunicable diseases being the number one health burden, alongside underconsumption of one billion hungry people, all compounded by food losses and waste. Thereby, floating the question of the sustainability of diets. For the study, representative national nutrition datasets on food production and consumption in the Malta, Brazil, Australia, India and Zambia were used with metanalysis food emission estimates. Four variant diets of vegan, vegetarian, World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended diet and Food and Agriculture (FAO) reference diet scenarios modelled for 2050 projections with the reference year 2005/7. Life cycle assessment (LCA) quantified diet-related emissions of animal and plant- based foods and global warming potential (GWP) assessed emissions from land use along three inventory indicators of ammonia emissions, land use and blue water within cradle-tostore system boundaries with a special focus on gender. The study found that none of the case studies can meet the FAO projections by 2050 showing a dire need for current diet transition. WHO diets would cut GHGE by 31.2%, vegetarian (66%); vegan (74%). The GWP is higher in men all countries due to a higher share of red meat. The largest absolute environmental benefits result from diet shifts in Zambia and India whereas Australia, Malta and Brazil gain most in per capita terms In conclusion, red meat GHGE is nearly twice those of vegans, therefore reduced red meat consumption substantially reduces dietary GHGE. The study also shows that within one society two distinct diets with differential environmental impacts exist. Taking the interplay of culture and physiology among the genders can develop Climate Change adaptation and mitigation policies for operative interventions allowing sustainable diets with reduced GHGE. Limitations in the study were the system boundaries that restricted to set of environmental indicators and only English literature reviewed. Future work should delve into the epidemic of counterfeit foods fuelled by demand for processed foods with implications on the environment, health and economies.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - InsCCSD - 2019

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