World Environment Day (WED)—the United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment—is about doing something positive for the environment. This year’s theme is “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care.”
WED encourages you to share your action with others on their website. In 2014, a total of 6,437 pledges and over 3,000 activities were registered online, more than three times as much as in the previous two years. As UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon says,
Although individual decisions may seem small in the face of global threats and trends, when billions of people join forces in common purpose, we can make a tremendous difference.
Here’s the official (and awesome) short video about WED 2015
CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION
Danielle Nierenberg of Food Tank recommends that we focus on food consumption and production for World Environment Day as it’s one of the biggest culprits in our overuse of natural resources. The good news is that we already know where to look for solutions to our problem: food waste.
It turns out that food consumption in the US uses
- 10% of the energy
- 80% of the freshwater
- 50% of the land use
According to I Value Food, 26% of meat products end up in the landfill, enough to feed 8,600 children for a year. Here’s a video from I Value Food describing the problem.
HOW TO DECREASE WASTE
Here are some suggestions from Food Tank on what you can do to decrease food waste and eat more sustainably:
- Inventory the food you already have on hand before heading to the store.
- Plan meals.
- Buy only what you need and will realistically use.
- Repurpose leftovers and food scraps.
- Portion carefully. See The Healthy Eating Plate.
- Freeze or preserve excess food before it goes bad.
- Donate good food to food banks before throwing it away.
- Compost the food you don’t use in any other way.
- Buy organic when you can.
- Choose food with less packaging.
- Buy in bulk.
- Shop with reusable grocery bags.
- Eat fewer industrial meat products. According to the Water Footprint Network, one pound of beef requires almost 1,000 gallons of water.
- Grow your own.
- Support your local food system: farmer’s markets and local growers.
- Make responsible, conscientious food choices. For example, buy fruits and vegetables that have traveled the shortest distances. When buying fish, follow the recommendations of Seafood Watch.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
And, here are some innovative, creative and inspiring writers and websites to help you learn more about food waste:
- Feedback has been working hard to combat the global food waste scandal and end waste at every level of the system.
- Food Recovery Network works on college campuses all over the US to salvage food that would otherwise have been thrown away.
- The Food Waste Reduction Alliance works to decrease food in landfills and increase food distribution to those in need.
- Jonathan Bloom’s blog, Wasted Food helps consumers learn how to cut food waste.
- The ministry of the Society of St. Andrew salvages food from America’s farms and delivers it to food pantries.
Peggy O’Mara is the editor and publisher of peggyomara.com. She was the editor and publisher of Mothering magazine from 1980 to 2011 and the editor-in-chief of Mothering.com from 1995 to 2012.. The author of Having a Baby Naturally; Natural Family Living; The Way Back Home; and A Quiet Place, Peggy has conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League, and Bioneers. She is the mother of four and grandmother of three.