Zhou Jinfeng: Good Food Changes the Earth, Slows Climate Change and Biodiversity Crisis
2019/7/24 11:37:00 本站

[Editor’s note:] The following is based on a live speech by Dr. Zhou Jinfeng (consultant of the Peking University Youth CEO Club, the Secretary-General of China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation, a 80s Alumni in the Chemistry Department of Peking University) while attending “The 18th Unnamed Startup Stars Forum – Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Environmental Protection Industry” hosted by the Peking University Youth CEO Club on July 17 2019. The content is not verified by the speaker.


There is a Good Food Fund under the Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF), "good food" in English. As the name implies, it means good food. We are not advocating vegetarianism but advocating good food. But what is the core of good food? The core is the vegetable diet priority.


There are several big reasons. Human evolution has been hundreds of thousands of years. There have never been so many opportunities to eat so many animal diets as in the past few decades, so this sudden change in diet is in conflict with the state of human evolution, and in general, it is unhealthy.


Not only the simple truth but also data support. Some students just said that a large number of diseases are directly related to excessive animal diets. There are already many very simple and direct scientific evidence.


In terms of Chinese, the "Guidance on Chinese people's Meal Nutrition" issued in 2016 gave dietary guidance advice on the nutritional health and basic needs of our citizens. This data includes rural and poor areas. Nowadays, the animal diet that people eat in China has more than doubled in the national average guide recommended by the Chinese government.


Therefore, the obesity problems, cardiovascular problems and diseases caused by animal diet are increasing year by year in China. According to China's current development model and the growth rate of this economy and wealth, the trend in the future will be more serious. So we talk about the priority of plant diet is good for everyone.


Someone just asked, is it necessary do not to eat meat? "Good food" is not equal to vegetarian food. We are not advocating vegetarian food but good food.


For example, we advocate vegetarian food on Monday or vegetarian food for a certain time. All kinds of vegetarian food are positive and meaningful.


Vegetarian food is good for the entire planet. When Mr. Ding Bo talked about the question, "why do you suddenly want to sort garbage? "This question is the same reason as "Why do you want vegetarian? food ". Why do we want to promote change today? Because human has reached a very serious moment today.


Last year's "the Earth Overshoot Day " was 1st August. That is to say, on 1st August of this year, the total amount of renewable natural resources in the earth has been used up this year. That is, those days after 1st August are overdraft, non-renewable, and consumed by future generations and yourself. It is the consumption of our descendants’ and your future resources.


Every year, scientists calculate the Earth Overshoot Day, and they find that the day keeps moving forward. How about this year? The Earth Overshoot Day is on 29th July, two days earlier than last year, and every year it comes earlier.


This is a very terrible thing, not just an ecological overload. From the primitive civilization, mankind has progressed and entered the agricultural civilization. Agricultural civilization has progressed and entered industrial civilization. With the beginning of industrial civilization, mankind has made new progress. There are several major signs of progress, including the widespread use of petroleum-power which caused greenhouse gas emissions. The use of chemical fertilizers on a large scale, and the excessive pesticides in food. These are all products of industrial civilization.


To what extent has industrial civilization reached today? Today, there is no place on our planet that is not polluted - whether it is air, water or soil, whether it is the Antarctic Pole, the North Pole, or the Himalayas, no place is not polluted. There is not a sip of water, no bowl of rice is not contaminated.


Industrial civilization has reached such an extreme level. The consequences of climate change on earth are more than just flooding a few cities. When I gave a speech in Hong Kong last year, just happened to meet the Super Typhoon Mangkhut, which happens once in a hundred years. I said that maybe every year you will suffer a rare typhoon like this.


Why am I saying this? It is simple, the temperature rises. The ocean area is large in global. 73% of the earth's surface is the ocean. When the temperature rises one degree, it will evaporate more water. The energy of evaporate equals several atomic bombs’ energies. These energies are evaporated into the air. And the 73% fall to the ocean, but there are still 20%, where will it fall? On the land.


So, in the past, everyone thought that the United States often has tornadoes, but China has very few. Now China also began to appear tornadoes, many people haven't seen it before, this time they can see it. In the planning and design of the building, the designer often says that his building is resistant to the worst flood in a century. How come it happens once in a hundred years? It happens a lot, you know the past is fluctuation. It is possible to plan for the peak of the last 100 years. However, it is not fluctuant anymore, but it is an upward fluctuation. You cannot do it the way you used to. More severe climate condition is awaiting us.


There is also a biodiversity issue. Because of these actions by human beings, it will bring the sixth extinction of the earth. Everyone sympathizes with dinosaurs, which were extinct in the fifth extinction during the Cretaceous Period. Because of this extreme destruction of the ecological environment, we are now in the sixth extinction.


Just now, a guest mentioned a report released last year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). According to “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (IPCC)”, the average global temperature will be 1.5 ° c higher by 2052 than before the industrial revolution. Before 2052, the global average temperature will be 1.5 degrees warmer than the pre-industrial period.


Biodiversity and climate change are two major crises we face.


Another authoritative report published by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) announces that about one million species will go extinct in ten years. What does it mean? It means that human beings are in the irreversible process of Mass Extinction. Joint efforts made by both international and national organizations have failed to slow down the extinction rate of biodiversity.


Therefore, it is high time to change the lifestyle and production mode.


In the past, waste was usually disposed of without any classification. But the situation is different now. If we stick to the obsolete lifestyle, then the climate change and species extinction will be more severe than before. Over the past twenty to thirty years, global efforts have been devoted to tackling these challenges with slow progress. We have set new goals and come up with new slogans, advocating people's participation in the earth protection. For instance, we have submitted suggestions to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).


I let my team file litigation against six leading food delivery companies about two years ago, including Baidu and Eleme. Many people regarded my decision as an unreasonable choice, and they didn't understand why I did so. One day when I ordered a food takeaway online, I found that there was no "no disposable chopsticks" choice on the App even though customers may not need them. After negotiating with them for several times but witnessing no optimistic action, I finally decided to charge the six giants in collaboration with other organizations.


At that time, the relevant authority said I was wrong because the food enterprises were entitled to provide disposable tableware with customers. But the past two years have witnessed the significant change in environmental protection. My opinions are reflected in the two newly implemented documentation on waste classifying and disposable tableware control in Shanghai. It is recommended to provide disposable tableware only when there is such a need, and thus avoids resources waste and environmental pollution. This mirrors the reality that people are changing their views.


It is the same with waste. The government should score points for those who classify recyclable garbage like paper boxes. Someone just mentioned about straw which facilitates our daily life. However, Europe Union has begun to prohibit the use of disposable straws because it is the high time to make changes, which is vital to the fate of human beings. The rise or fall of a civilization is closely tied to its relationship with nature. The obsolete will lead us to the brink of extinction. So, it is necessary to take all these factors into a bigger picture.


We are like Shen-Nong-Shi who taught his fellow mortals how to farm and led them to enter into the era of agricultural civilization, thus improving their life.


Nowadays, the young generation is gathering together for a new lifestyle and exploring the new civilization for sustainable development of human beings.


Thank you




(Photo credit: CBCGDF)

Original Chinese article:


By / Zheng Nanyu, Wang Yanqing