The popular adage "Eat your food, there are children starving in Africa" couldn't ring more true after the UN released a report stating 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year. This is costing the global economy about $750 billion a year, and adding 3.3 billionn tonnes of greenhouse gases to the earth's atmosphere, says the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Issues around food wastage and the global sustainability of farmlands have persisted, even though there are solutions in resolving these global problems.
In nearly all parts of the world, wealthy consumers residing in urbanized regions are mostly to blame for food wastage, totaling 602 million tons per year. This doesn't come as a surprise given these folks possess the economic means to consume (and waste) such abundant provisions, but this doesn't address the food wastage issue at hand. In other words, why are people so wasteful when it comes to food? To put it simply: because they can be. This is mostly due to an unawareness and lack of understanding on how this enduring dilemma affects an individual's day-to-day affairs, and a lack of motivation to change habits.
There is a consistent lack of communication between producers and consumers in managing the supply chain. This includes investing in harvesting, cooling, and packaging methods of food products, as Reuters reports. Think.Eat.Save launched a campaign following the devastating UN findings in an effort to increase global awareness around reducing our food waste footprint in the world. It informs the public on the detrimental humanitarian, environmental, and economic significance of the issue. Will this campaign be sufficient enough in shifting the paradigm of abiding consumer habits?
The global initiative is not just about reducing food waste, but investing in developing countries sustainably utilizing their farmlands and developing more storage facilities. Action is then needed at the federal, policy, and private sector level to improve projects in sustainable agriculture and food waste reduction. A collaborative effort in the management of communication and activity between consumers and the public and private sectors is necessary to move towards effective change.
First and foremost, it begins with an active interest for change in this area. The next time you look down at your over-sized plate of food at your favorite restaurant, take into consideration how waste actually affects us: wasted money, wasted resources, and wasted effort. Is this a reality to continue in? Discover 10 simple ways to reducing your footprint as a consumer.