Celebrating World Environment Day

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Today is World Environment Day!

The theme for this year’s celebrations is an issue that is close to my heart: reducing food miles, food waste and food loss – ie. ‘Think.Eat.Save’.

I’ve written about this issue before but it’s important, on a day like today, to reiterate just how seriously we should all be thinking about our level of wastage. At a time when it feels like many things are outside of our control, this is one thing we can pay more attention to and make a real difference.

Some stats via the official WED website:

  • According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted. This is equivalent to the same amount produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger.
  • While the planet is struggling to provide us with enough resources to sustain its 7 billion people (growing to 9 billion by 2050), FAO estimates that a third of global food production is either wasted or lost. Food waste is an enormous drain on natural resources and a contributor to negative environmental impacts.
  • If food is wasted, it means that all the resources and inputs used in the production of all the food are also lost. For example, it takes about 1,000 litres of water to produce 1 litre of milk and about 16,000 litres goes into a cow’s food to make a hamburger. The resulting greenhouse gas emissions from the cows themselves, and throughout the food supply chain, all end up in vain when we waste food.
  • the global food production occupies 25% of all habitable land and is responsible for 70% of fresh water consumption, 80% of deforestation, and 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. It is the largest single driver of biodiversity loss and land-use change.

Making informed decisions about our food is an important way to help reduce our environmental impact. It means deliberately selecting foods that have less of an environmental impact, such as organic foods that do not use chemicals in the production process. Choosing to buy locally can also mean that foods are not flown halfway across the world which reduces the level of harmful emissions created as a result. The food production market runs like any other element of the economy, meaning that if there is a demand for asparagus in the middle of winter then retailers will supply it and therefore ship it in from Mexico. By choosing locally grown produce that is in season we are sending a clear message to retailers that it is not necessary to ship in grapes from the US or citrus from South America.

For more information about how you can reduce your food waste check out some of my previous posts:

Ultimately, the message here is that we all need to be conscious about our food choices and the impact this has on the environment. Every little bit makes a difference, so why not start today.

Happy Environment Day! 🙂

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