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Peer-Review Record

The Post-Anthropocene Diet: Navigating Future Diets for Sustainable Food Systems

Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2355;
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Reviewer 3: Anonymous
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2355;
Received: 9 January 2020 / Revised: 11 March 2020 / Accepted: 15 March 2020 / Published: 18 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue After the An­thro­po­cene: Time and Mo­bil­ity)

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

Dear author,

thank you for the opportunity to review this very interesting article. This conceptual article addresses the topical question of unsustainable diets and discusses indigenous ontology and object-oriented ecosophy as guidelines for a sustainable, post-Anthropocene diet. The abstract got me enthusiastic to read the article and I am glad to say that the article lived up to this expectation. This is a solid, comprehensive and carefully presented article. Having said that, I have some comments that I hope are helpful for the author in revising the article.

My main suggestion concerns the fluency of the text. While the writing style is very thorough, it is in danger of becoming too dense and heavy at times. I had to read some parts of the article many times to understand what was said there. I see that this is due to long sentences and to sentences that at the same time discuss new content and seek to give further definition for the concepts. I see that at times, such writing style is necessary to keep the text compact – but when most of the sentences are dense, it affects the fluency. So, I suggest for the author to reduce conceptual heaviness (i.e. do not over-define the concepts – focus on what is needed for your argument), to simplify sentence structure and to clarify the use of concepts. For example, the abstract includes “non-anthropocentric” and “de-anthropocentric”; ow are these two concepts related; do you need both? Do you need strong sustainability and deep ecology is this article? If so, please define there terms clearly and link to your main concepts. Also an English language editor could be helpful in editing the fluency of the text.

I suggest that the author pays more attention to the de-centering of human eaters mentioned in the abstract. This seems rather central to the article’s argument but this remains mostly interlinear in the article. Again, discussing this more explicitly in the article would strengthen the argument and communicate it more clearly for the reader.

In the introduction, I would like to see a presentation of object-oriented ecosophy, as it is central to your argument. If I understood correctly, the article proposes that both indigenous ontology and object-oriented ecosophy are needed to make the sift to sustainable diet. This point could be more clearly laid out in the article, as now I only understood that towards the end of the article. In the first parts of the article, you mostly discuss a “shift in ontology”, whereas later on it is “re-framing ontology”. Which one it is? At times, the use of “shift” is vague; a shift to what? Or does shift refer to turn (e.g. ontological turn)? Please revise this – also in Figure 1 -  to communicate your meaning more clearly.

Minor comments:

Figure 1: ”Consider temporality”; perhaps “temporality consideration”?

I find the questions with “you” perplexing. Why such sudden focus on the individual? Moreover, on p. 2 ln 93-94 “consumers create a sustainable food system” – I find this focus and faith in consumers baffling. Do you need such remarks? Isn’t it the society in general where these changes take place, not just in consumer activities? Also, I have understood that the argument here is against the current, consumer-oriented society and diets. Isn’t it against your argument to say that the consumers create a sustainable food system.

p. 4, ln. 175 mentions “thesis”. Perhaps this is an unintended error?

Is “indigenous ontologies” spelled with lower case “i” on purpose?

p 8 ln. 364-5 “essential qualities: autonomy, intrinsicality, uniqueness and/or through indigenous worldviews”; this would need a reference.

Author Response

Please see the attachment.

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Reviewer 2 Report

Some detailed comments:


In my opinion, this part of the article needs to be changed. It is worth considering a more traditional layout of the abstract, namely - what is the purpose of the article, how the goal was achieved and what are the results and conclusions. I suggest entering information about three periods and then focusing more on the changes and their consequences. As many as 10 times “Antropocene” was used in various forms in this section.


This part contains many issues, which were presented in a rather arbitrary manner. I propose to organize the content: presentation of individual epochs along with the characteristics of diets appropriate for them and their consequences. The author has suggested that deeper philosophical perspective shifts will be needed (line 56). It is worth presenting possible approaches. Introduction ends with a description of what will be presented in individual sections. In my opinion, this is superfluous. At the end of this part I would like to read the purpose of this article.

Why does Table 1 present a different order of epochs than in the article? Maybe it is worth considering change?

The title of Table 1 is too descriptive, also the title of Figure 1.

In my opinion lab-grown meat is not good example of technology for sustainable consumption – line 382-384 – I suggest skipping this example.

Line 384 ‘to these markets” – which markets?

I suggest not mentioning references in the conclusions.

Line 430-437 – In my opinion these are not conclusions. This is the rationale for writing the article and should rather be found in the Introduction

I do not deal with a philosophical approach to issues related to diet, maybe that's why I assess the text as interesting, but difficult to read. I encourage the author to do the necessary simplifications, among others indicating what approaches are presented, what their essence is, and then their application in explaining the specifics of the epoch.

Author Response

Please see the attachment.

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Reviewer 3 Report

The paper focuses on the sustainability of current diets. The topic is interesting, relevant and fits with purposes of the journal. Despite it, the paper is not suitable for the publication in the current form. The article is built upon a robust methodology, and the description of the past-current and present food systems are not convincing.

Further details follow.

The first sentence is too general, and it gives a catastrophically view of the food system. The following quotations do not support the statement. Please argue better with evidence comparing the different sectors. 

The introduction should benefit for a using a fresher quotation about the evolution of concepts on food system (i.e. global production ecosystem (Nyström et al., 2019) and full-supply chain policy- (Kanter et al., 2019)).

The proposed change selected are is not enough motivated against other solutions.

A discussion about the feasibility of shifts in ontologies against other solution is needed. On this point, there is a lot of literature (for example (Lusk and McCluskey, 2018)).


Section 2

Anthropocene is a debated concept in academia. While social scientists use and abuse this concept, other disciplines still argue about its validity. The multidisciplinary nature of the journal would suggest paying attention to this debate in presenting the idea of Anthropocene.

The section fails in describing the current structure and evolution of the food system, as this food system represents the frame of the analysis.

The comparison between pre and post Anthropocene address marginally the complexity of food systems. Several aspects of the debate are not discussed, giving a not convincing explanation. For example, technologies, movement of goods, food preferences, society evolutions are needed (check (Lusk, 2017)for a discussion about this point).

The paper does not present a methodology used. The absence of a methodology is a relevant weakness of the article. The methodology should explain how ontologies are obtained and their validity. The debate about transition to sustainability is more complex than the one proposed in the ontology. I suggest authors to develop a sounding scientific methodology (for example, a systematic literature review) to derive rigorous and robust ontologies.

Moreover, the framework of the analysis is still not provided. For example, why do the authors used the three dimension of table 1.

The ontologies (pre-Anthropocene; Anthropocene and post-Anthropocene) are too radical and fail to provide a convincing representation of the past and present complexity of the food chain. A lot of literature describe the current food system from a multilevel perspective, and this is not convincing how is described.

Kanter, D.R., Bartolini, F., Kugelberg, S., Leip, A., Oenema, O., Uwizeye, A., 2019. Nitrogen pollution policy beyond the farm. Nat. Food.

Lusk, J.L., 2017. Evaluating the policy proposals of the food movement. Appl. Econ. Perspect. Policy 39, 387–406.

Lusk, J.L., McCluskey, J., 2018. Understanding the impacts of food consumer choice and food policy outcomes. Appl. Econ. Perspect. Policy 40, 5–21.

Nyström, M., Jouffray, J.B., Norström, A. V., Crona, B., Søgaard Jørgensen, P., Carpenter, S.R., Bodin, Galaz, V., Folke, C., 2019. Anatomy and resilience of the global production ecosystem. Nature 575, 98–108.

Author Response

Please see the attachment.

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Round 2

Reviewer 3 Report

the authors have addressed most of my comments

Author Response

Dear Pasi and Guest Editorial Team,

Thank you for your revisions and suggestions. We have made the above changes to the manuscript and attached them here. There is a version with tracked changes, one with changes accepted, and the PDF of changes accepted as well.

  • We have made sure each of the headings and sub-headings is properly capitalized.
  • We have added a verbatim research question in the abstract, introduction, and conclusion.
  • We made a few minor copy edits throughout (see tracked changes).
  • We have also updated the title since the initial submission, so please also reflect this in the submission system.
  • We have removed the figure as suggested. However, we would like to posit the suggestion that this image be used as the graphical abstract for the article. You will also find this attached in the zipped folder.

Please let me know if you need anything else from me for this submission.

With much appreciation,
Rachel Mazac

On behalf of the authors

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