The Environmental Food Crisis: A Closer Look

Last week, the UN Environment Programme released a dramatic report (see the press release for condensed reading) on food and climate change. Among other things, The Environmental Food Crisis found that unless we make some dramatic changes, world food production will decrease by as much as 25 percent. If there’s less abundance, wasted food willcourtesy of UNEP become an even more serious problem.

On the topic of food waste, the report basically says if we’re going to squander so much food, we may as well use it to feed animals or create energy (see page 31). Also included is a useful digest (see page 32) on world food loss, featuring these sad stats:

In many African countries, the post-harvest losses of food cereals are estimated at 25% of the total crop harvested. For some crops such as fruits, vegetables and root crops, being less hardy than cereals, post-harvest losses can reach 50%.

The report also suggests changes in the way we grow, manage and discard food to be more environmentally sensitive. One particularly wasteful instance happens at sea: 30 million tons of fish are discarded at sea.

The study’s authors wisely recommend using these discards and other food waste (post-harvest losses/waste) in animal feed, reducing the amount of fresh cereal crop we feed to livestock.

Finally, I was pleasantly surprised to find my name in the references (page 96) for this Culinate piece. I suppose if the Food Waste Czar position doesn’t materialize, I can fall back on a UN post…

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  1. By Schwasted « naturally selected on February 24, 2009 at 10:17 am

    […] Via the awesome Wasted Food blog, a new report from the United Nations Environmental Programme on food and the environment called The Environmental Food Crisis. […]