A good eight billion people live on earth – the new record was reached in November 2022. Each of them needs carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, trace elements and a lot of clean water. As we all know, these resources are not distributed fairly. On the contrary: Some people, especially in industrialized nations like ours, eat excessively, which shows on their stomachs and hips. Others – still well over 700 million people – are suffering from hunger.

Agriculture currently accounts for two thirds of global fresh water consumption, three quarters of the over-fertilization of our rivers and a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. If this situation continues, the so-called planetary limits would be exceeded within a few decades – with fatal consequences such as the loss of biodiversity, water reserves and forests. And that’s in addition to the climate crisis.

A few years ago, an international commission developed the “Planetary Health Diet”, a nutritional recommendation that is healthy for both the individual and the planet. The experts are not calling for a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle – rather a nutritional style like that of “flexitarians”, who only eat meat or fish a few days a week.

For an average day, the recommendation includes, among other things, 200 grams of fruit, 300 grams of vegetables, a good 230 grams of whole grains and around 75 grams of legumes – but only 14 grams of beef, lamb or pork, 29 grams of poultry, 28 grams of fish and 13 grams of eggs. The latter dishes are probably only on the program once a week.

The “planetary health diet” aims to keep ten billion people healthy and at the same time comply with the Earth’s limits by 2050. But one thing is clear: it is a model, and it can hardly be expected that all of humanity will convert to it soon. It shows us limits – and opportunities as well.