PRESS REVIEW - March 26/30, 2018


Land degradation now undermining well-being of 3.2 billion people

Worsening land degradation caused by human activities is undermining the well-being of a fifth of the world's population, driving loss of biodiversity and intensifying climate change. These are the findings of a report produced by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), presented in March in Medellín, Colombia. This is the first scientific assessment of land degradation and restoration and it shows how unsustainable land management could force up to 700 million people to migrate. 



Wasted food in China could feed 30 to 50 million

Chinese consumers waste roughly 18 million tons of food served in big cities. A quantity sufficient to feed 30 to 50 million individuals. This is the first study conducted in the major Asian country by the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research at the China Academy of Sciences, in an attempt to take a snapshot of the nutritional habits in major Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Lhasa. Vegetables are top the list, constituting 29% of total food waste. Rice (24%) and meat (18%) follow closely behind, the equivalent of 93 grams of food per meal. 



30% less meat in burgers for a more sustainable diet

According to the World Resource Institute, an international research group, replacing 30 per cent of meat in the hamburgers eaten by Americans each year with mushrooms would make it possible to reduce agricultural-production related CO2 emissions by an equivalent of 10.5 million tons. It could also reduce water consumption by about 300 billion liters. In fact, the texture of mushrooms is similar to that of meat, retaining moisture and the flavor of mushrooms can enhance the flavor of the actual hamburger, while at the same time reducing salt content. 



SDG-Tracker tracks all the progress made towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Available to all users, the tracker displays all the progress made to date towards the 17 sustainable development goals, launched by the United Nations in 2015. For the first time ever, a single website contains all the data and interactive maps at global, regional and national level. Moreover, all the data can be downloaded and used by organizations, researchers, teachers and students. 



China has reduced its use of fertilizers, maximizing crop yields

In approximately ten years, millions of Chinese smallholder farmers have increased crop yields while concurrently reducing the use of fertilizers. Specifically, yields have risen for maize, rice and wheat crops, with an average of 11 per cent per crop and a 15 per cent reduction in fertilizer use. The data were collected during the study entitled “Pursuing sustainable productivity with millions of smallholder farmers”, published in Nature, which showed how the specific recommendations made to around 21 million smallholder farmers concerning concerted efforts to adopt enhanced management practices proved successful, saving 1.2 million tons of nitrogen. 



Grilling, barbecuing and high-heat cooking increases the risk of high blood pressure

New research by Harvard university suggests that regularly eating meat cooked using high-heat cooking methods could lead to a 17% rise in the risk of high blood pressure. The results were obtained by monitoring 100 thousand adults across the United States over a 12- to 16-year period, who were all in good health before the study began. Of these, more than 37 thousand individuals developed high blood pressure, and researchers thus concluded a possible link between their dietary habits and the pathology.


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