World Environment Day 2015: Think.Eat.Save
I have heard of World Environment Day. We all have! But when an invitation popped into my inbox inviting me to celebrate World Environment Day (WED) with Baker & Spice at Souk Al Bahar, it got me thinking, thinking in terms of WED and food (now that I have become a food blogger, a lot of my thoughts revolve around food – I wonder why!). Where do we as individuals fit into the larger scheme of things, in terms of respecting the capacity of our planet and help manage its natural resources more efficiently? And what can we, as individuals do, in our own small way, to help make a difference.
To begin with, why do we mark one date in our calendar (June 5) to celebrate our Environment. Should it not be a daily, a regular celebration? For one, we are humans, and as humans we have a tendency to forget and so this one day is celebrated as a wake up call, a reminder, if you will, for positive environmental action. It is a day though which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment, and encourages political attention and action – and we as individuals sit up and take note.
This year’s WED theme is Think.Eat.Save and the slogan is ‘Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care’. It’s quite an impactful slogan – as kids we were all taught to dream, dream big – that was the first step. Now imagine what seven billion dreams, if they come true can do! Its starts with one dream – yours, and then grows to a collective dream for which then there will be no end.
Yes, that invitation got me reading, researching and understanding where food fit into the larger scheme of things – and above all it got me to introspect. And this is what I have learned.
According to UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner – Food production is one of the most obvious examples of unsustainable consumption patterns, with 1.3 billion tonnes of food being wasted every year, while almost 1 billion people go undernourished.
To put it a bit more in perspective, this 1.3 billion tonnes of food wasted is equivalent to the same amount produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger. If these statistics don’t make you sit up and take action, where you resolve to do your part in helping decrease food waste in your home, I am not quite sure what sort of a world our children will inherit.
So what can we as individuals do? Well reducing your food waste is the easiest personal contribution to improve the environment. What is important to remember that the fight against food waste must not only be for that one day, but every day, as much as we can.
So what do we do wrong? One of the most common mistakes is buying food sold at bulk discounts even if you don’t need it (you know what I am talking about) and then coming home and off it goes into the fridge, very often to the back of the fridge and in time we forget it’s even there. When it does register, more likely than not, it will have gone bad, or past its expiry date and the sad part is that in our minds it will cease to be called food; we will call it waste and move it to the dustbin.
So, next time you are out doing your grocery shopping, remember that YOU are in control of your grocery shopping and not the other way around. So it’s a good idea to buy what you need, consume what you need – all before it turns bad.
- Organize your fridge, freezer and kitchen cabinets – keep the oldest items in front where you can see them.
- Support local farmers and local produce as much as you can.
- Practical tip, but how many of us really do this – Make shopping lists.
- By now, this one should be obvious – buy only what you need – and use what you have bought.
- Be mindful about portion sizes while cooking, if you are a family of 4, cook for 4, not for the entire neighbourhood.
- One of the premise of healthy eating is to eat well-proportioned meals often during the day, so remember to use smaller plates and bowls – that way it will deter you from putting much more food on your plate than you can actually eat.
- Store and freeze your leftovers.
- Spread the word about stop wasting food and encourage positive action everywhere!
Let’s try and make ‘stop wasting food’ a lifestyle choice. Let’s not try and change the world, let’s just try to change ourselves. And if each of us seven billion individuals do that, the world will change, it will HAVE to.
I will leave you with the Manifesto of Baker & Spice which pretty much sums up everything I have said beautifully.