By Jacob Alexis Betmou
One third of our food is thrown into the garbage. Enough to feed all the hungry people in the world three times! But how can that be? And what does our disposable behavior actually has to do with climate change? We live in a society that food is everywhere, it´s inconvenience store; so that when we waste we feel it is okay because there is still so much more. We ignore that the food we don’t consume occupied 1, 4 billion hectares of our soil.
With regards to agriculture, the point was that the cost of food is strongly linked to the cost of energy. The drive to make land agriculturally more productive tended to increase the demand for energy. All energy technologies will be directly or indirectly affected by climate change. In the last decades, the effects of extreme weather and climate change have become an undeniable problem. They also have a high cost to the environment by affecting soil quality, water quantity, and biodiversity. FAO says food wastage across the world – totaling 1.3 billion tons of food annually – is the largest source of global greenhouse gas emissions after China and the USA. So food waste has a strong impact on climate change.
On the 16th of June, the Droste-Hülshoff-Gymnasium in Berlin organized different workshops on the issue of climate change. I took part with the theme: “The impact of food waste on climate change”. With a literal footprint and a world map, I showed the school children aged from 12-14 years old, the footprint on carbon dioxide and food waste of one person per year of each continent. The children were surprised by the footprint of Sub-Saharan Africa that was quite small. This is due to the fact that consumers are very cautious not to waste any food because they don’t have a lot of food and they can´t afford to buy new food. They only waste 6kg per person/year. Still, to the region of Sub-Saharan Africa a lot of food is wasted as food often does not reach the consumers, they already deteriorated to the path of court between harvest and sale because of poor infrastructure, lack of transportation and storage. In total the print wastage is 210 kg CO2 per person per year; compare to Europe 680 kg CO2 which is caused to a big extend by the consumers.
Afterwards, we talked about the causes and the effects of climate change. For producing food, we need a lot of resources: water, soil and oil. The food and farming systems rely heavily on fossil fuels. Oil is used in almost all aspects of food production , from the creation of fertilizer, planting, to irrigation, cold storage and transport. In addition, when food is dumped in a landfill and decomposes on contact with air, it emits methane, a gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide to trap heat. So they realized that food waste has a negative impact on our water, soil http://www.teller-statt-tonne.de/2016/visit-in-weltacker/ and environment. Before lunch time, they discovered how tasty “smoothies” with dark spots banana, bent cucumbers are. They made it by themselves. This is already a solution to prevent food waste.
Finally, with different materials, I gave them opportunity to draw or fine a solution, how they can fight against climate change and food waste .They made wonderful and great poster presentations. At the end, they exposed them in their classroom.