Call for paper: Frontiers in Sustainability

How to Achieve a Planetary Health Diet Through System and Paradigm Change?

About this Research Topic

The call for a transformation toward planetary health diets (such as the one suggested by the EAT-Lancet Commission in 2019) is getting louder and more urgent. Such diets take into account not only human health, but also the ecological sustainability of global food systems and the natural systems that enable human societies to flourish. More recently the 2022 IPCC AR6 Working Group III report also acknowledged this point. The report suggests a shift towards more plant-based diets for high meat-consuming population groups, as these diets are considered by many to be essential for climate change mitigation and adaptation, for restoring damaged ecosystems, and for alleviating the sixth mass extinction of species.

Food-related consumer practices, consumer behaviours and characteristics (gender, class, etc.) have been the focus of significant and high-quality social science research. However, sustainability transformation in food systems is largely a political and power-related question. This Research Topic draws attention to prioritising questions of power in this context. How can we identify and influence drivers – beyond individual practices – to generate system and paradigm level change? The incumbent actors (e.g. various industries) and structures (e.g. those related to subsidies) strongly resist transformational change. For example, even when industry actors seemingly accept change, they prefer to align it with their own short-term business interests and existing technology infrastructures (e.g. monocultures) or invest in technical fixes that might help mitigate impact but not on the scale that is urgently required. The transformation is also a question of change agents at various levels and in various societal spheres including citizens and civil society organisations attempting to gain power or empowering themselves through ideas and action. Specifically, purposive change in food systems is also about discursive power, as well as about cultivating and establishing new values, norms, and paradigms, associated with the deeper, stronger leverage points for societal change. Last, but not least, it is a question of a transformation in food systems governance.

The overall goal of this Research Topic is to shed light on the above issues and challenges related to achieving planetary health diets on both a regional as well as global scale. We encourage papers focusing critically on the following topics:

• Challenging the power of the incumbent global food industry, and in particular of dominant meat industry actors
• Overcoming structural and infrastructural barriers in food system transformation
• Empowerment of various societal actors attempting radical change
• Breaking the cycle of inertia between governments, industry, and citizens, whereby inaction / low priority feeds itself
• Tackling the psychological barriers to the acceptance of the necessity of transformational food system change
• A just transition in food systems, considering the global South and the global North, as well as the indigenous peoples of these lands
• Global animal agribusiness vs. small-scale animal agriculture
• Discursive power, values, norms, worldviews, and paradigms either resisting or enabling change
• New policy tools for regulating food production and consumption, especially within governance, using principles of strong sustainability
• New business models for food industry actors, e.g. not-for-profit businesses
• The position of indigenous worldviews, land rights and politics in achieving planetary health diets
• Assessing the EAT-Lancet 2019 report on a planetary health diet and the discussion this landmark publication has generated
• Systemic transformation vs. responsibilization of “consumers”
• Analysis of the concept of “diet” regarding how it is leveraged in the context of food system transformation, and to what ends
• Historical, philosophical, societal, and cultural aspects of the idea of a diet for “planetary health”

This Research Topic welcomes original research papers, perspectives, theoretical and methodological papers, policy position papers, case studies, and reviews.

We look for abstracts between 250-300 words.

Keywords: food systems governance, planetary health diet, values, paradigms, sustainable food systems, strong sustainability, power, empowerment, just transition, plant-based diet, inertia

Abstract Submission Deadline 23 September 2022

Manuscript Submission Deadline 13 January 2023

More information:

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