Loss of biodiversity. The world’s capacity to produce food is being undermined by humanity’s failure to protect biodiversity. Numbers of plants, animals, insects and micro-organisms that help to put food on our tables are decreasing; forests, grasslands, coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds which contribute to biodiversity are disappearing. UN Report: Diversity for Food and Agriculture.
Food production. Over the last two decades, approximately 20% of land has become less productive due to chemicals and other forms of pollution. A third of fishing areas are being overharvested.
Meat and dairy products
. Meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories and 37% of protein for the world’s population. But it uses the vast majority – 83% – of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. The vast majority of rainforest destruction in the Amazon has been connected with the meat industry. Avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce environmental impact on the planet. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6392/987.full?ijkey=ffyeW1F0oSl6k&keytype=ref&siteid=sci.
Food chain. 63% of plants, 11% of birds, and 5% of fish and are in decline. Pollinators, which provide essential services to three-quarters of the world’s crops, are under threat, as well as the decline of bees and other insects.
The Church’s View
Enough for all
. The earth, abused and exploited, continues in many parts of the world to yield its fruits, offering us the best of itself. The faces of the starving remind us that we have foiled its purposes. We have turned a gift with a universal destination into a privilege enjoyed by a select few. We have made the fruits of the earth – a gift to humanity – commodities for a few. Pope Francis, Address to United Nations World Food Programme, June 13, 2016.
Productive use of land
. In some countries a redistribution of land as part of sound policies of agrarian reform is indispensable, in order to overcome the obstacles that an unproductive system of latifundium — condemned by the Church's social doctrine — places on the path of genuine economic development. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, parag.300.
. As long as production is increased, little concern is given to whether it is at the cost of future resources or the health of the environment; as long as the clearing of a forest increases production, no one calculates the losses entailed in the desertification of the land, the harm done to biodiversity or the increased pollution. In a word, businesses profit by calculating and paying only a fraction of the costs involved. Yet only when “the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognized with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations” can those actions be considered ethical. Pope Francis, Laudato Si. parag 195.
Ideas for Action
. Climate change food calculator: What's your diet's carbon footprint?
. 12 Tips to Reduce Food Waste Fairtrade have produced a list of easy to do tips on cutting down on food waste.
Season of Creation
. An excellent booklet containing liturgies on the environment, including biodiversity
Caring for God's Creation
. A downloadable booklet produced by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops with suggestions for liturgies
A web page from EcoCongregation with lots of useful suggestions for worship.