Wednesday, June 5, 2013

World Environment Day (WED)

In 1972 the United Nations decided to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment by establishing World Environment Day. WED is celebrated on June 5 every year and is the final day of a year-long campaign. 

This year's campaign slogan is Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Footprint and is aimed at getting people to be aware of and act on food waste.

Think: Be a concious consumer by making shopping lists, planning meals, preparing appropriate quantities to avoid waste. Don't shop hungry and you'll avoid buying more food than you can eat before it spoils. Know the companies whose products you purchase. (A great resource are the many product guides available from Ethical Consumer.)

Eat: Eat smarter. Grow your own because you'll be less likely to waste food that you put so much effort into producing, serve leftovers before they spoil, and use fresh foods before using frozen or canned. Buy local to ensure a shorter time from field to table and food that lasts longer in your home.

Save: If you don't need it, don't buy it. And don't insist on cosmetically perfect food. You'll be helping people around the world, as well as your health, the planet, and your pocket book. 

A few stats to think about before you throw food in the trash:

  • There are 7 billion people on Earth now, and that number will be 9 billion by 2050. That's a lot of people to feed.
  • 1/3 of food produced in the world is wasted or lost before it reaches consumers.
  • There are approximately 870 million undernourished people in the world. 
  • Wasted food means hungry and undernourished people, as well as wasted natural resources (land, energy, water used to produce it) and money.
  • Rotting food in landfills accounts for a significant amount of methane emissions, which contributes to global warming.
Why is so much food going to waste?
  • Pests often get food before consumers do.
  • In poor areas, storage facilities are often inadequate to keep food for very long.
  • Ineffeciency in the supply chain often means food is spoiled before it's eaten.
  • Buyers look for cosmetically perfect food so retailers throw out specimens that are less than perfect.
  • Carelessly allowing leftovers and fresh food to spoil at home accounts for much of the food waste in developed countries. 
  • Caterers and restaurants throw away excess food that is prepped but not ordered.

For more info on the Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Footprint campaign, click here to download the WED booklet in PDF format.

The United Nations is encouraging anyone who participates in World Environment Day to share your events, photos, etc. Just click here to go to and upload your WED news. 

I'd also love to hear what you are doing to increase awareness and/or take action on food waste. Please leave a comment below if you're doing your part or planning to do your part!

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