On World Food Day, observed every year on Oct. 16, we can all do our part to combat global hunger and malnutrition.
The United Nations' second Sustainable Development Goal calls for ending world hunger by 2030 and urges profound interventions from governments, businesses and individuals to help feed the growing number of hungry people in the world.
Last year, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) found that chronic undernourishment grew to 821 million, or one in every nine people worldwide. At the same time, adult obesity is worsening (especially in North America) with more than one in eight adults in the world considered obese.
"Conflict, extreme weather events linked to climate change, economic slowdown and rapidly increasing overweight and obesity levels are reversing progress made in the fight against hunger and malnutrition," the FAO said.
World Food Day - marked each year on 16 October - highlights the need to step up efforts to end #hunger & malnutrit… https://t.co/ltBow7EHrb— José Graziano da Silva (@José Graziano da Silva)1539252876.0
It may seem like a daunting task to reverse this trend, but the FAO advises four simple ways you can make a positive difference and help achieve zero hunger:
1. Don't Waste Food. "If you have leftovers, freeze them for later, or use them as an ingredient in another meal. When you eat at a restaurant, ask for half a portion if you're not feeling too hungry, or take your leftovers home," the FAO says.
- EcoWatch suggestion: The World Wildlife Fund advises meal planning so you only get the ingredients you need, and learning how to navigate misleading "best buy," "sell by" and "best before" labels with the FoodKeeper App to learn more about food freshness and storage options. Consider anti-food waste companies such as Misfit Juicery, which makes cold-pressed juice from fruit and veggie scraps and "ugly" produce and Copia, which picks up your surplus foods and donates it to those who need it. Try composting your food waste instead of throwing it out.
2. Produce More, With Less. "With a growing population expected to reach in 9 billion in 2050, farmers should find new, more productive ways to farm food and diversify their crops. Using an integrated farming approach will not only help farmers increase their crops' yield, and thus their profits, but can also improve the quality of their farmland," the FAO says.
- EcoWatch suggestion: Although that piece of advice is geared toward farmers, it can apply to you as well. Use your dollars on food producers and farms that practice organic, sustainable or regenerative agriculture. The HowGood app rates products on environmental, health and trade impacts by sourcing information from more than 350 organizations, including Humane Certified, Rainforest Alliance and Fair Trade USA. If it's available to you, choose locally sourced and seasonal products, shop at farmers markets and consider joining a CSA (community-supported agriculture) program.
3. Adopt a More Healthy and Sustainable Diet. "Life is fast-paced and trying to fit in preparing nutritious meals can be a challenge if you don't know how. Nutritious meals don't have to be elaborate. In reality, they can be cooked in a quick and easy way while using only a few ingredients. Share your quick nutritious recipes with your family, friends and colleagues and online. Follow sustainable chefs and bloggers online to learn new recipes or talk to your local farmer to see how they cook their produce at home," the FAO says.
- EcoWatch suggestion: Eat fewer animal products. As we recently reported, researchers recommend "flexitarian" diets that eschew meat in favor of plant-based foods. Animal products are a major contributor to climate change, require massive amounts of farmland that drives biodiversity loss and uses up lots of fresh water. The nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizer also pollutes land and water.
4. Advocate for #ZeroHunger. "Everyone has a role to play in achieving #ZeroHunger, but countries, institutions and people need to work together to reach this goal. Establish ZeroHunger partnerships, share knowledge and resources, develop innovative strategies and discover new opportunities to contribute to the fight against hunger. Raise the topic with your local and national authorities, promote related educational programs in your community and amplify the #ZeroHunger message through your network."
- EcoWatch suggestion: Support the World Food Programme, which pledges to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. You can also organize a meal packaging event, donate extra food from your pantry and be a voice in the fight. Share this video on social media to inspire action for #ZeroHunger. As the FAO touts, "our actions are our future."
World Food Day 2018 – Our Actions are our Future www.youtube.com
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By Victoria Masterson
Using one of the world's problems to solve another is the philosophy behind a Norwegian start-up's mission to develop affordable housing from 100% recycled plastic.
Sustainable Homes<p>UN-Habitat says an <a href="https://unhabitat.org/un-habitat-aims-to-use-plastic-waste-to-support-housing-for-all" target="_blank">estimated 60% of people living in urban areas of Africa are in informal settlements</a>. At the same time, between 1990 and 2017, African countries imported around 230 metric tonnes of plastic, "which mostly ended up in dump sites creating a massive environmental challenge," the agency adds.</p><p>UN-Habitat deputy executive director, Victor Kisob, said the aim of the partnership with Othalo was to "promote adequate, sustainable and affordable housing for all."</p>
Artist's impression of an Othalo community, imagined by architect Julien De Smedt. Othalo<p>Othalo's process involves shredding plastic waste and mixing it with other elements, including non-flammable materials. Components are used to build up to four floors, with a home of 60 square metres using eight tons of recycled plastic. A factory with one production line can produce 2,800 housing units annually.</p><p>Following successful laboratory tests, Othalo's factory in Estonia has started producing components to build three demonstration homes for Kenya's capital, Nairobi; Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon and Dakar, the capital of Senegal.</p><p>Othalo founder Frank Cato Lahti has been developing and testing the technology since 2016 in partnership with <a href="https://www.sintef.no/en/" target="_blank">SINTEF</a>, a 70-year-old independent research organization in Trondheim, Norway, and experts at Norway's <a href="https://en.uit.no/startsida" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">University of Tromsø</a>.</p>
Othalo founder Frank Cato Lahti. Othalo<p>Almost <a href="https://www.un.org/development/desa/publications/2018-revision-of-world-urbanization-prospects.html" target="_blank">seven out of every 10 people in the world are expected to live in urban areas by 2050</a>. More than 90% of this growth will take place in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.</p><p>"In the absence of effective urban planning, the consequences of this rapid urbanization will be dramatic," UN-Habitat warns.</p><p>Lack of proper housing and growth of slums, inadequate and outdated infrastructure, escalating poverty and unemployment, and pollution and health issues, are just some of the effects.</p><p>Mindsets, policies, and approaches towards urbanization need to change for the growth of cities and urban areas to be turned into opportunities that will leave nobody behind, UN-Habitat says.</p>
Pioneers of Change<p>Reimagining cities and communities for greater resilience and sustainability was a key topic at the<a href="https://www.weforum.org/events/pioneers-of-change-summit-2020" target="_blank"> World Economic Forum's Pioneers of Change Summit 2020</a>.</p><p>The digital event brought together innovators and stakeholders from around the world to explore solutions to the challenges facing enterprises, governments and society.</p><p>Opening the summit, <a href="https://www.weforum.org/events/pioneers-of-change-summit-2020/sessions/opening-plenary-8f731cbc65" target="_blank">Stephan Mergenthaler, the Forum's Head of Strategic Intelligence and a member of the Executive Committee</a>, said: "We need to change the way we produce, the way we live and interact in our cities to make this transition to net-zero emissions a reality…</p><p>"And as this year has illustrated so dramatically, we need to make every effort that we keep populations healthy, if we want to avoid jeopardizing all this progress."</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/11/un-africa-recycled-plastic-housing/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649069252#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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John Kerry helped bring the world into the Paris climate agreement and expanded America's reputation as a climate leader. That reputation is now in tatters, and President-elect Joe Biden is asking Kerry to rebuild it again – this time as U.S. climate envoy.
Energy Is at the Center of the Climate Challenge<p>The <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/1/" target="_blank">effects of climate change</a> are already evident across the globe, from <a href="https://theconversation.com/100-degrees-in-siberia-5-ways-the-extreme-arctic-heat-wave-follows-a-disturbing-pattern-141442" target="_blank">extreme heat waves</a> to <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/12/" target="_blank">sea level rise</a>. But while the challenge is daunting, there is hope. Solar and wind power have become the <a href="https://www.irena.org/publications/2020/Jun/Renewable-Power-Costs-in-2019" target="_blank">cheapest forms of power generation globally</a>, and technology progress and innovation continue apace to support a transition to clean energy.</p><p>In the U.S. under a Biden administration, long-term national climate legislation will depend on who controls the Senate, and that won't be clear until after two run-off elections in Georgia in January.</p><p>But there is no shortage of <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2020-biden-climate-change-advice/" target="_blank">ideas for ways Biden</a> could still take action even if his proposals are blocked in Congress. For example, he could use executive orders and direct government agencies to tighten regulations on greenhouse gas emissions; increase research and development in clean energy technologies; and empower states to exceed national standards, <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-emissions-california/defying-trump-california-locks-in-vehicle-emission-deals-with-major-automakers-idUSKCN25D2CH" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">as California did in the past with auto emission standards</a>. A focus on a just and equitable transition for communities and people affected by the decline of fossil fuels will also be key to creating a sustainable transition.</p><p>The U.S. position as the world's largest oil and gas producer and consumer creates political challenges for any administration. U.S. forays into European energy security are often treated with suspicion. Recently, France blocked <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/frances-engie-backs-out-of-u-s-lng-deal-11604435609" target="_blank">a multi-billion dollar contract</a> to buy U.S. liquefied natural gas because of concerns about limited emissions regulations in Texas.</p><p>Strengthening cooperation and partnerships with like-minded countries will be critical to bring about a transition to cleaner energy as well as sustainability in agriculture, forestry, water and other sectors of the global economy.</p>
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