Thank you Barbara Hirsch for great research and inspiring articles!
Ecofacts V.12 n.220 Drawdown 4
A review of Drawdown‘s solutions to reduce the carbon in our environment over the next 30 years (actually 2020-2050):
1 = Education of Girls combined with Family Planning – 120 gigatons emissions
2 = Managing refrigerants is on the top of individual solutions – 90 gigatons
3 = Wind Power, combining onshore and offshore – 99 gigatons
Ranking third in Drawdown’s individual solutions but 4th here is Reducing Food Waste – 70.5 gigatons – which currently accounts for about 8% of anthropogenic (human caused) emissions and is about one third of all food produced. About 1 in 9 people are undernourished around the world, but this reflects much progress since the early nineties, when it was closer to 1 in 5.
The problem exists in both low and high income countries, but much more in the latter, where most of it is produced. In poorer regions, poor infrastructure for transporting and storing food, lack of refrigeration, packaging, spoilage from heat and humidity are all unintentional losses.
In higher income regions, the losses are often intentional or economically motivated, such as food left in the field due to the fluctuating prices of a crop. After harvest, distributors, then markets, then consumers reject imperfect veggies and fruits, which are often tossed rather then sent to charities or even composted. Markets and restaurants over purchase in order to keep the shelves filled, the menu items available. Sell or use by dates are unregulated and often very conservative. Finally there is the food purchased and uneaten institutionally and individually. We throw away about a third of the food we buy in high income countries. (Have you ever noticed in restaurants the tremendous amounts whisked away from the tables?)
France and Italy recently passed laws preventing markets from tossing unsold fold, it now must be given away or composted.
If Food Waste were a country:
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Barbara Hirsch, eco-nut
Santa Barbara, California
“Unless someone like you cares a whole lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss