124625810_ba693cd53f_m1One effect of the global recession is falling consumption – which can be great news for the environment.  But while eating less meat, say, can be great for waistlines and hospital admissions in the cities of Europe and China, for poor rural people it is denial of much needed protein and minerals.  Is there any way we can make reduced consumption stick in among wealthy people while helping poorer people to eat more?  Carlos Sere argues in his recent BBC viewpoint  that interventions such as a methane tax on large-scale livestock operations would help cut back on over-consumption of meat (and, presumably the ice cream, butter and cheese that also contribute to climate change) while still allowing livestock production to be a route out of poverty for small-scale producers.  He dubs this the “locavore” movement – creation of market demand for locally produced meat rather than large-scale factory farming.  Another case of “glocalisation” – thinking globally and acting locally – that needs a strong economic rationale and political buy-in before the cynics among us are convinced that local systems necessarily work better.  Dr Sere and his team at the International Livestock Research Institute are working on the evidence right now.

Advertisements