World Environment Day 2013
Think. Eat. Save.
That is this year’s theme for World Environment Day. The goal of this year’s campaign is to reduce food waste by encouraging people around the world to reduce their “foodprint.”
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year – enough food to feed sub-Saharan Africa. The UN FAO also estimates that 1/3 of global food production is either wasted or lost. Meanwhile, 1 in 7 people around the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger.
This year’s theme aims to bring attention to this enormous imbalance and to the impact that growing and wasting this much food can have on our environment and food supplies. Food waste can be a significant drain on natural resources and a contributor to various negative social and environmental impacts.
When food is wasted, all of the resources used in the production of the food are lost as well. For example, it takes about 1,000 liters of water to produce 1 liter of milk and about 16,000 liters go into a cow’s food to make a hamburger. In addition to wasting that much of our most precious resource (water), the resulting greenhouse gas emissions from the cows themselves, and throughout the food supply chain, all end up in vain when we waste food.
Some important stats on global food production:
- It utilizes roughly 25% of all habitable land
- It is responsible for 70% of fresh water consumption
- 80% of deforestation can be attributed to it
- 30% of greenhouse gas emissions are blamed on it
- It is the largest single driver of biodiversity loss
We encourage everyone, especially those in the developed world where money and food are plentiful, to take action to reduce food waste and minimize the environmental impact of food production. Let’s all make more informed food decisions and watch our collective actions add up to reduce chemicals used in food production and mitigate climate change.