What is the true cost of our modern agricultural systems and food production? Is the food on our plate today creating health benefits or health costs for us, the producer and the environment tomorrow? How can we work better with nature to ensure we are looking after the soil, ecosystems, biodiversity that we depend on for our own well-being? These are all complex questions but, along with many others in this vein, are questions that need to be addressed if we truly want to create a sustainable future.
I am really happy to share with you that over the next year or so I will be working with an extraordinary group of international scientists, agronomists, economists, policymakers, health professionals, ecologists and farming organisations on the United Nations hosted TEEBAgriFood study as they seek to address these issues and provide tools to help us work in a more sustainable way.
This work is (mostly) in an advisory capacity and will run alongside my Archeus work - so don't worry I will still be handcrafting potions and lotions for you :-)
TEEBAgriFood aims to capture the values of ecosystems services and biodiversity across different agricultural systems where a variety of management practices are used. We will be looking at the impacts arising from the production, processing and distribution of food on natural and social capital, and analyse both the health impacts of consumption patterns and the impacts of the systems on human health. This is being done in order to influence policy and business for the health of us and our planet. The first part of this study is due to be released at the end of this year.
So what am I going to be doing for the study? I have been invited by UNEP Biodiversity and Goodwill Ambassador Pavan Sukhdev to join him on a small communications advisory panel to the study to help shape the communications strategy for the study. I worked with Pavan at the UN on the initial TEEB (the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) study until 2012.
Working on TEEB shaped much of my thinking around Archeus and I also hope it could contribute to NZ making better choices about how to manage impacts on its environment.
It is a huge honour to be invited back in an advisory role. I feel very committed to contributing to highlighting the benefits of working with nature rather than against it in any way I can and so it was impossible to say no to this opportunity.
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