Reduce your footprint

June 5, 2013 

It all started when I began to clean out my refrigerator.

It was a bite of this and that. There were some leftovers. It was unbelievable!

How wasteful.

So I did some research and found that the theme of this year’s World Environment Day, celebrated on June 5, is “Think. Eat. Save: Reduce your footprint.”

In the United States, 30 percent of all food, worth $48.3 billion, is thrown away each year. It is also estimated that about half of the water used to produce this food also goes to waste since agriculture is the largest human use of water. In the United States, organic waste is the second highest component of landfills, which are the largest source of methane emissions. I also found rich countries waste almost as much food, 222 million tons, as the entire net production of Sahara-Africa (230 million tons.)

The impact of food waste is not just financial. Environmentally, food waste leads to wasteful use of chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides, more fuel used for transportation and more rotting food, creating more methane – one of the most harmful greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Methane is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. The vast amount of food going to landfills makes a significant contribution to global warming.

The campaign, supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization and others aims to reduce food loss along the entire chain of food production and consumption and specifically targets food wasted by consumers, retailers, and the hospitality industry. In a world of seven billion people, set to grow to nine billion by 2050, wasting food makes no sense. I totally agree with that.

Way to go, Coach!

On another note: Congratulations to my neighbor Dick Sipperly for coaching the Charlotte Latin Hawks to a lacrosse state championship.

Have a comment or story idea for Pat? Email her at pateudy09@carolina.rr.com.

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