June 5th is World Environment Day (WED). The theme for this year is Think. Eat. Save, an anti-food waste and food awareness campaign.
There is an enormous imbalance in lifestyles around the world. Every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted while at the same time 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry. Shockingly, more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die each day from hunger.
Our precious planet is now trying to feed 7 billion people (growing to 9 billion by 2050). It is estimated that a third of global food production is either wasted or lost.
Just this morning my own child casually mentioned that they were not ‘in the mood’ for their toast. I’m sure you can imagine my response as I bombarded him with the facts and figures!
Factory farming in particular is a huge drain on resources and is an inefficient way to produce food. For example, it takes about 1,000 litres of water to produce 1 litre of milk and about 2,400 litres of water to make a hamburger. More than 70% of the grain grown in the USA is fed to factory-farmed animals.
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.
After all of these resources are diverted to factory farms and crops to produce our food, for it to be wasted at our tables and ultimately end up in landfill is a travesty.
This year’s WED campaign rallies us as individuals to take action in our homes and then witness the power of the collective decisions we make to reduce food waste, save money, minimise the environmental impact of food production and force food production processes to become more efficient.
We can all make positive changes towards a less wasteful food system through the choices we make each time we shop.
Quick tips for sustainable consumption:
- Choose organic and free-range products that have less of an environmental impact (see www.consumewithcare.org to learn more).
- Buy locally grown food to minimize the carbon emissions involved in flying foods across the world to your table.
- Eat seasonally: Do you really need cherries from the USA in the middle of our Aussie winter?
- Choose quality over quantity.
- Plan your meals so there is less food waste.
- Compost what waste you have and make soil for your own veggie patch.
- Eat less meat. There are many ways to get quality protein and essential nutrients from plant-based foods.
- Download a shopping app to help you make quick decisions such as www.sustainableseafood.org.au; www.ethical.org.au; www.choosecrueltyfree.org.au
This World Environment Day is a great time to kick-start some new habits and join the movement for a less wasteful, more sustainable future.
Happy Sustainable Shopping!
Reference: FAO (Food and Agricultural Organisation of the USA)