A new book on organic farming in India is coming out in October, written by Oxford Univeristy alum, Sapna Thottathil.

Should you buy organic food? Is it just a status symbol, or is it really better for us? Is it really better for the environment? What about organic produce grown thousands of miles from our kitchens, or on massive corporately owned farms? Is “local” or “small-scale” better, even if it’s not organic? A lot of consumers who would like to do the right thing for their health and the environment are asking such questions.

Read more...

Professor Kathy Willis, Co-Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Resource Stewardship and Associate Director of the Biodiversity Institute, will explore the history of botany in a major new series starting next week on BBC Radio 4.

In her capacity as the Director of Science at Kew Gardens, Professor Willis will present Plants: From Roots to Riches, looking at our changing relationship with plants, from the birth of modern botany right through to the modern day. The 25-part series will feature unprecedented access to the rich heritage and ongoing work of scientists at one of the world’s oldest botanical institutions.

Read more...

The Co-operative Research Programme (CRP)'s Call for Applications for funding international conferences (such as workshops, congresses and symposia) and research fellowship grants in 2015 is now open. 

The deadline to submit an application is Wednesday 10 September 2014, midnight (Paris time).

For more information and online application, please visit the OECD website.

Applications should fit into one of the three following research themes:

  • The Natural Resources Challenge
  • Sustainability in Practice
  • The Food Chain
Read more...

A study into the greenhouse gas emissions caused by different types of diet has for the first time provided quantitative evidence that going meat-free can dramatically reduce environmental impact. The paper, published in the journal Climatic Change, analysed data from the diets of 65,000 meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians and vegans, and found the greenhouse gas emissions for a meat-based diet were approximately twice as high as those for vegans, and about 50 per cent higher than for vegetarians.

One of the authors of the paper, Dr Peter Scarborough, spoke to the Oxford Martin School's Communications Officer, Sally Stewart, about the research and its implications.

Read more...

Early maize farmers selected for genes that improved the harvesting of sunlight, a new detailed study of how plants use 'doubles' of their genomes reveals. The findings could help current efforts to improve existing crop varieties.

report of the research is published this week in the journal Genome Research.

Read more...

Researchers can, and are already, playing a major part in supporting leaders to create new policies that can help improve food security. A new article in Global Environmental Change provides valuable lessons that can be helpful in attempts to better connect food security science with policy-creation.

Read more...

The Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI) recently published an update of their Global Multidimensional Poverty Index. This is an international measure of acute poverty covering over 100 developing countries. It complements traditional income-based poverty measures by capturing the severe deprivations that each person faces at the same time with respect to education, health and living standards.

Read more...

A new study, published in Climatic Change, analyses the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the diets of meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians and vegans using the EPIC-Oxford baseline dataset.

It shows that the greenhouse gas emissions for a meat-based diet are approximately twice as high as those for vegans and about 50% higher than for vegetarians.

The study by researchers at the British Heart Foundation Centre on Population Approaches for Non-Communicable Disease Prevention and the Cancer Epidemiology Unit, both part of the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, looked at the diets of 2,041 vegans, 15,751 vegetarians, 8,123 fish-eaters and 29,589 meat-eaters aged 20-79 using a food frequency questionnaire.The greenhouse gas emissions of these diets were then estimated using a dataset of greenhouse gas emissions for 94 food commodities in the UK, with a weighting for the global warming potential of each component gas.

The authors concluded that "dietary GHG emissions in self-selected meat-eaters are approximately twice as high as those in vegans. It is likely that reductions in meat consumption would lead to reductions in dietary GHG emissions."

The study used data from EPIC-Oxford, a cohort study of 65,000 men and women living in the UK, many of whom are vegetarian, which examines how diet influences the risk of cancer.

Read the full article in Climatic Change.

Read more...

New FCRN report - Changing what we eat: A call for research & action on widespread adoption of sustainable healthy eating

Government leadership and substantial investment in research are needed to shift global consumption habits towards eating patterns that are both healthy and sustainable, say academics, industry and NGOs representatives in a new report.

The report, Changing What We Eat, published by the Food Climate Research Network (FCRN), part of the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, outlines the work needed to shift societies to consumption patterns that can meet both public health and environmental goals.  

Research is now needed in three key areas, say those involved in the report:

  • What are healthy sustainable eating patterns?
  • How do we eat now, why, and what are the health and sustainability implications?
  • How do we achieve positive change?
Read more...

By Kyle Turner, University of Oxford and Boyd Swinburn, Deakin University

The most comprehensive global study ever undertaken for obesity was just released and the need for serious population-wide action is no longer up for debate. The study’s key findings make for grim reading – not a single country saw a decline in obesity over the past 30 years.

Instead, between 1980 and 2013, the prevalence of global overweight and obesity increased by 27.5% among adults. What is even more worrying still is that overweight and obesity in children soared by nearly a half (47.1%) in just three decades.

Read more...

Pages