World Environment Day is Wednesday, June 5, 2013. Statistics from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization illustrate this year’s theme “Think. Eat. Save. Reduce Your Footprint” which is aimed at eliminating food waste.
- 1/3 of food produced for human consumption (1.3 billion tonnes) gets lost or is wasted each year
- 1 in 7 people in the world go to bed hungry each day
- More than 20,000 children under age 5 die daily from hunger
Global food production occupies 25% of the earth’s habitable land and accounts for:
- 70% of fresh water consumption
- 80% of deforestation
- 30% of greenhouse gas emissions
World Environment Day Background
The first World Environment Day was in 1972 at the opening of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm, Sweden.
Themes have encompassed the green economy, forests, species, climate change, melting ice, desertification, green cities, seas and oceans, and water.
World Environment Day 2013
The host country for World Environment Day 2013 is Mongolia. Events being held over a 5-day period include:
- June 1 – International Children’s Day
- June 2 – Ulaanbaatar 2013 Marathon
- June 3 – Green Development National Forum
- June 4 – Launch of First Wind Farm in Mongolia
- June 5 – Official World Environment Day Celebrations
Promoted in conjunction with World Environment Day, the “Hug a Gobi Bear” campaign is intended to bring awareness to the plight of the Gobi Bear struggling to survive in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia.
Check out the World Environment Day website to learn about food waste and what you can do about it. Tweet on Twitter using hashtag #WED2013.
U.S. Food Waste Challenge
In 2010, 34 million tons of food ended up in U.S. landfills.
On June 4, 2013, in preparation for World Environment Day, the USDA and EPA will launch the U.S. Food Waste Challenge. Producer groups, processors, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, food service, industry groups, NGOs, and government agencies are encouraged to participate in a national effort to:
- Reduce food loss and waste
- Recover wholesome food for human consumption
- Recycle discards to other uses including animal feed, composting, and energy generation
World Environment Day Individual Action
In our household, we have made some changes to eat better and reduce food waste.
- Food Shopping – we are more careful shoppers and try to buy only the amount of food we know we will eat.
- Local Food – we receive fresh produce weekly through our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share and shop at the local Farmer’s market. Local food is picked the day it is sold and does not travel across the country so stays fresh at home longer.
- Food Storage – reusable containers designed for storing fresh food or leftovers keep fresh food fresh and ensure leftovers get eaten or frozen.
- Leftovers – my spouse is excellent at making sure prepared food does not get wasted by eating leftovers for lunch and incorporating them into other meals.
- Composting – I started composting a couple years ago so fruit and vegetable scraps get recycled into soil for the garden. Interestingly this made me more conscious about making sure we only bought what we could eat and ate it before it spoiled.
There is usually room for improvement, and we could probably improve our food usage through more “formal” meal planning.
“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.”
—UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
- 5 Reasons to Try Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
- 10 Ways to Go Green for Earth Day 2013
- Community Supported Agriculture – Good for Farmers, Good for You
- Composting Part 1 – You’re Going to Do What?
- Dine In – Cooking and Eating Meals at Home is Green
- First Earth Day and Earth Day History
- Food Revolution Day – Cook It. Share It. Live It
- People’s Grocery – Healthy Food for Everyone
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
- United Nations Environment Programme – World Environment Day