June 5 marks World Environment Day | National Union of Public and General Employees

June 5 marks World Environment Day

Think before you eat and help save our planet.

Ottawa (05 June 2013) – The theme for this year’s United Nations (UN) World Environment Day celebrations is Think.Eat.Save.

1.3 billion tonnes of food wasted every year

Think.Eat.Save is an anti-food waste and food loss campaign that encourages you to reduce your foodprint. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted. This is equivalent to the same amount produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, one in every seven people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of five die daily from hunger.

Be aware of the environmental impact of food choices

Given this enormous imbalance in lifestyles and the resultant devastating effects on the environment, this year’s theme – Think.Eat.Save – encourages you to become more aware of the environmental impact of the food choices you make and empowers you to make informed decisions.

While the planet is struggling to provide us with enough resources to sustain its seven billion people (growing to nine billion by 2050), FAO estimates that a third of global food production is either wasted or lost. Food waste is an enormous drain on natural resources and a contributor to negative environmental impacts.

This year’s campaign rallies you to take action from your home and then witness the power of collective decisions you and others have made to reduce food waste, save money, minimise the environmental impact of food production and force food production processes to become more efficient.

When food is wasted, resource and production costs are wasted, too

If food is wasted, it means that all the resources and inputs used in the production of all the food are also lost. For example, it takes about 1,000 litres of water to produce 1 litre of milk and about 16,000 litres goes into a cow’s food to make a hamburger. The resulting greenhouse gas emissions from the cows themselves, and throughout the food supply chain, all end up in vain when we waste food.

In fact, the global food production occupies 25 per cent of all habitable land and is responsible for 70 per cent  of fresh water consumption, 80 per cent of deforestation, and 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. It is the largest single driver of biodiversity loss and land-use change.

Wise food choices can have positive effects on environment

Making informed decision therefore means, for example, that you purposefully select foods that have less of an environmental impact, such as organic foods that do not use chemicals in the production process. Choosing to buy locally can also mean that foods are not flown halfway across the world and therefore limit emissions.

More information: 

United Nations Environmen Programme

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE