5. Food systems & contributions to other environmental problems

This chapter introduces the multiple, often interconnected, environmental problems associated with food systems. It explains how food systems place severe pressures on water resources, land and biodiversity (e.g. via deforestation) as well as on fish stocks and marine ecosystems. The chapter also discusses food waste as a crosscutting concern placing ‘unnecessary’ pressure on climate, water and resources and describes the size and characteristics of this problem in both developed and developing countries. The complexities and connectedness of the food systems’ environmental problems are described and the chapter concludes by observing that as demand for food (especially resource and emissions intensive food) grows these problems are only expected increase.