World Environment Day 2020

World Environment Day 2020
World Environment Day

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) annually organizes events for World Environment Day, which encourages worldwide awareness and action for the protection of the environment. It is celebrated on 5 June in over 100 countries.

In their ‘Food Wastage Footprint‘ report, the UN FAO states that globally, the carbon footprint of food waste is around 3.6 Gigatonnes of CO2e each year and that, if food waste was a country, it would be the #3 greenhouse gas emitter in the world, after China and the USA!

One important aspect of the impact we as Nosh have as a food rescue initiative is the reduction of the overall carbon footprint of food, as well as the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG’s). Rather than letting perfectly edible and nutritious food go to sanitary landfill where it leads to the production of GHG’s like methane and carbon dioxide, we actually utilise the foodstuffs and produce we intercept and plough it back into that part of the food chain where it is most desperately needed!

Zero Waste, World Environment Day, re-purposing, food security, Carbon footprint wastage, Climate Change report, UN FAO
The highest carbon footprint of wastage occurs at the consumption phase (37% of total), whereas consumption only accounts for 22% of total food wastage. This is because one kilogram of food that is wasted further along the supply chain will have a higher
carbon intensity than at earlier stages.
Food wastage footprint & Climate Change Report – UN FAO

However, the environmental impact of food and food wasted is also not only measured in Carbon footprint and GHG emissions, but also in the tremendous chemical burden to our soils and waterways of herbicide- and pesticide use, for example. Also easily forgotten is that the amount of water that goes into producing agricultural crops is huge. According to the Water Research Commission, the volume of water used by irrigated agriculture in South Africa has been estimated to be between 51% and 63% of total water available. In a water-scarce country like South Africa, where our food waste amounts to about 30% of our food produced, the impact of this is devastating! And think of the impact of all the packaging! And the energy and fossil fuels – the list goes on and on.

As a fun activity to celebrate World Environment day and to encourage reflection on biodiversity and the impact of food waste on that environment, Nosh and the Chefs With Compassion volunteers compiled a Food Surplus Mandala on the lawn outside our current home, HTA School of Culinary Art. Disclaimer – 17 different fruits and vegetables were used but no produce was actually wasted during the process and everything ended up being cooked to fill empty tummies after the photo shoot 😉

The mandala builders in the picture are a few of the volunteers, Hanneke van Linge (Nosh), Coo Pillay (Slow Food Chefs Alliance SA), Moses Ndaba, Austine Nxumalo, Sibusiso Mchunu, Ilet Jonker (Nosh), Adarsh Maharaj, Caroline McCann (Slow Food International) and Carlson Madlala – thanks everyone, we hope you had fun playing with your food and if the dragon eggs hatch, you’ll be the first to hear about it 😉


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