Global food waste is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than any country except for China and the U.S., according to a new report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The report, Food Wastage Footprint: Impacts on Natural Resources, estimates that about one-third of all food—1.3 billion tons—is wasted every year.
Of course, the production of this food requires energy, water, chemicals and land. This means that almost 30 percent of the world’s farmland is entirely wasted—1.4 billion hectares of land per year in total—as well as 250 cubic kilometers of water, the equivalent of the annual discharge of the River Volga in Europe. According to the report, the carbon footprint of wasted food is about 3.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year—more than any country, aside from China and the U.S. The wasted food costs approximately $750 billion a year.
The food wastage problem is a complicated one. In developed countries, most of the waste comes from consumers buying too much food and throwing away what they don’t eat. In less developed countries, food waste often comes from inefficient farming and inadequate storage facilities.
The report makes several suggestions about how to reduce food waste. First, improved communication between producers and consumers could result in more efficient supply chains. Better harvesting, packaging and shipping methods could also help to reduce food waste.
While these improvements can certainly make a difference, the solution—at least for the industrialized world—ultimately lies with individuals. We must develop a greater awareness about the foods that we consume, the effect that those foods have on the environment and the amount that we are needlessly wasting. We must actively seek to eat more sustainable foods and make an effort to buy and consume only what we need.
Visit EcoWatch’s SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE page for more related news on this topic.
By Robin Scher
Beyond the questions surrounding the availability, effectiveness and safety of a vaccine, the COVID-19 pandemic has led us to question where our food is coming from and whether we will have enough.
- Can Urban Farms Prevent Hunger in 54 Million People in the U.S. ... ›
- New Report Finds Malnutrition World's Top Killer Amid Pandemic ... ›
- Oxfam Warns 12,000 Could Die Per Day From Hunger Due to ... ›
- Three Ways to Support a Healthy Food System During the COVID ... ›
- Trump USDA Resumes Effort to Cut Food Stamp Benefits - EcoWatch ›
- Pandemic Threatens Food Security for Many College Students ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Tearing through the crowded streets of Philadelphia, an electric car and a gas-powered car sought to win a heated race. One that mimicked how cars are actually used. The cars had to stop at stoplights, wait for pedestrians to cross the street, and swerve in and out of the hundreds of horse-drawn buggies. That's right, horse-drawn buggies. Because this race took place in 1908. It wanted to settle once and for all which car was the superior urban vehicle. Although the gas-powered car was more powerful, the electric car was more versatile. As the cars passed over the finish line, the defeat was stunning. The 1908 Studebaker electric car won by 10 minutes. If in 1908, the electric car was clearly the better form of transportation, why don't we drive them now? Today, I'm going to answer that question by diving into the history of electric cars and what I discovered may surprise you.
As bitcoin's fortunes and prominence rise, so do concerns about its environmental impact.
- 15 Top Conservation Issues of 2021 Include Big Threats, Potential ... ›
- How Blockchain Could Boost Clean Energy - EcoWatch ›
By David Drake and Jeffrey York
The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.
The Big Idea
People often point to plunging natural gas prices as the reason U.S. coal-fired power plants have been shutting down at a faster pace in recent years. However, new research shows two other forces had a much larger effect: federal regulation and a well-funded activist campaign that launched in 2011 with the goal of ending coal power.
- Major Milestone: More than 100,000 MW Worth of Coal-Fired Power ... ›
- Coal Will Not Bring Appalachia Back to Life, But Tech and ... ›
- Renewables Beat Coal in the U.S. for the First Time This April ... ›