THE COMING FAMINE
14 A new diet
Recognising that 11 billion people cannot all eat like Americans or Australians
and hope to survive on this planet, we need to refashion the world diet. To one
that involves far less energy, land, water, nutrients and pollution.
To one that doesn't actually kill half the people who eat it, as does our present
Sounds hard? Not really. It means returning to the sort of balanced nutrient intake
our grandmothers would approve.
One way to do this is to double the amount of vegetables in the diet, many produced
in these new urban systems using recycled water and nutrients.
There are over a thousand undiscovered - indigenous vegetables to make this a culinary
adventure as well as a global awakening and a health revolution. The richness of
nature has scarcely been tapped in this regard and our shops, supermarkets and restaurants
are poor in diversity compared with what they will become.
To achieve this we should also embark on the world's most ambitious educational
campaign - to install one full year, a food year, in every junior school on the
A year in which every subject - maths, language, geography, science, society and
sport - is taught through the lens of food, how precious it is and how it is produced,
where it comes from, how to eat safely, thriftily and healthily. How to help ensure
it never fails.
Teaching food is acceptable in all cultures, races and creeds. Teaching respect
for food and how it is produced is equally so. The means already exist to share
these principles and educational courses universally.
We must enlist the food processing industry, the supermarkets, the cookbook writers
and nutritionists, the TV chefs and restaurants and the health departments to promote
the same universal messages.
Eat well but eat less. Eat more vegetables and less energy-intensive foods. Choose
foods that spare our soil and water. Be happy to pay more for such good food, so
our farmers can protect the precious environment that produces it.