In 1972 the United Nations (UN) designated June 5th as World Environment Day; a day to raise worldwide awareness on the environment. Each year there is a different theme chosen to encourage action and focus political attention. The theme for this year’s World Environment Day celebrations is Think.Eat.Save. In a nutshell – waste less food and reduce your FOODPRINT! What a great and accessible way to get your kids thinking and involved in how your family CAN make a difference.
3 food facts to share at dinner or at a family meeting:
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) every year 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted or lost; this is equivalent to about 1/3 of TOTAL global food production.
1 in every 7 people in the world goes to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die DAILY from hunger.
Global food production uses 25% of all useable land and is responsible for 70% of fresh water consumption, 80% of deforestation, and 30% of greenhouse gas emissions.
Remind your kids that if food is wasted, it means that all the resources and inputs used in the production of that food are wasted too. For example, according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) it takes about 1,000 liters (264 gallons) of water to produce 1 liter (1 quart) of milk and about 16,000 liters (4227 gallons) of water to grow the food a cow needs to eat to make just ONE hamburger. So, the greenhouse gas emissions from raising the cow, and throughout the food supply chain, all end up lost when we waste food. Not so fun fact, gas from both ends of the cow really does add up and is a significant source of global greenhouse gases!)
How and what you eat, where it comes from and how you prepare it all contribute to your foodprint. Explain to the kids in your life that in order to slow down climate change, scientists tell us we need to reduce our greenhouse gases. Challenge your kids to come up with ways your family can make wiser food choices. Share your family’s ideas with us and with others in your community!
3 possible ideas and actions:
Idea: Food Miles.
Action: Visit farmers markets and buy local foods. Get to know your local farmer. Ask them questions about how they grow their crops and raise their animals. Take note of what locally prepared foods are being sold at your grocery and what fresh local foods are offered each season. If you don’t see local foods offered, ask your grocer why not? How far did your food travel to get to your table and how did it get there?
Action: Take note of portion sizes and how much food waste is generated at each family meal both through preparation and from what is left on your plates at the end of the meal; make adjustments accordingly.
Idea: Home Gardening.
Action: Plan a trip to a “U-Pick” farm and let your kids see where their food comes from and how it grows. Do your kids know how asparagus grows? (Hint: no bush, no tree, it grows up from the ground in individual stalks!)
Think.Eat.Save, you CAN make a difference