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If Food Waste Were a Country, It Would Rank No. 3 for Greenhouse Gas Emissions
There’s a consensus that we must act urgently, if we are to avoid a four-degree Celsius raise and total systems collapse.
First we should safeguard, restore and wisely manage our life-support systems, including uncontaminated water bodies and sources, soil and seeds and practice conservation and efficiency.
Known climate-destructive practices must be phased out as soon as possible, including extreme forms of fossil-fuel extraction (e.g. fracking, SAG D, deep-water drilling surface mines, mountaintop removal and tar sands projects), ocean trawling, overfishing, crop burning and endangering nature’s protective resources like mangroves, coral reefs, forests and peat land.
We must also immediately wean ourselves off fossil fuels; coal, natural gas and oil—and invest in a combination of decentralized renewable energy; solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, micro-hydro and liquid fuels made from waste and other sustainable feedstocks.
Water-intensive, mono-crop, petrochemical industrial agriculture has decimated our topsoil and created dead zones in the oceans. The simplest, most natural and likely, the most effective way to sequester carbon is to rebuild soil. Regenerative organic farming practices build soil. Some of the methods used to accelerate nature’s intelligent soil development process include compost, bio char, brown coal, Micorizal fungi, vermaculture and managed livestock.
If food waste was a country, it would be the third biggest greenhouse gas emitter behind the U.S. and China. Diverting organic waste from landfills and livestock manure from ponds in anaerobic digesters, compost and pyrolysis can amend soil vitality while reducing methane.
While these changes might seem challenging, we do have the capacity—if we can only galvanize the will. Many communities have already begun implementing some of these solutions. But top-down change is also essential, if we are to address the climate crisis with the speed and scale needed. For this to happen, citizens must insist on getting the influence of money out of politics and the legislative process.
Maximizing regional self-sufficiency with these agricultural practices and energy production methods will strengthen local economies, make them more resilient, help prevent global conflict, and ease the sense of scarcity and the economic burden increasingly felt by the majority.
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On a farm in upstate New York, a cheese brand is turning millions of pounds of food scraps into electricity needed to power its on-site businesses. Founded by eight families, each with their own dairy farms, Craigs Creamery doesn't just produce various types of cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss and Muenster cheeses, sold in chunks, slices, shreds and snack bars; they're also committed to becoming a zero-waste operation.