World Environment Day 2013: Think.Eat.Save Hot
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The theme for this year’s World Environment Day celebrations is Think.Eat.Save.

Think.Eat.Save is an anti-food waste and food loss campaign that encourages you to reduce your foodprint.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted. This is equivalent to the same amount produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger. 

Given this enormous imbalance in lifestyles and the resultant devastating effects on the environment, this year’s theme – Think.Eat.Save – encourages you to become more aware of the environmental impact of the food choices you make and empowers you to make informed decisions.

World Environment Day | ©Arne Purves
1. Supporting local food growing initiatives is a great way to contribute to local livelihoods programs.

While the planet is struggling to provide us with enough resources to sustain its 7 billion people (growing to 9 billion by 2050), FAO estimates that a third of global food production is either wasted or lost. Food waste is an enormous drain on natural resources and a contributor to negative environmental impacts.

This year’s campaign rallies you to take action from your home and then witness the power of collective decisions you and others have made to reduce food waste, save money, minimise the environmental impact of food production and force food production processes to become more efficient.

World Environment Day | ©Arne Purves
2. The Abalimi | Harvest of Hope initiative in Cape Town provides fresh, organic vegetables through a box delivery scheme.

If food is wasted, it means that all the resources and inputs used in the production of all the food are also lost. For example, it takes about 1,000 litres of water to produce 1 litre of milk and about 16,000 litres goes into a cow’s food to make a hamburger. The resulting greenhouse gas emissions from the cows themselves, and throughout the food supply chain, all end up in vain when we waste food.

World Environment Day | ©Arne Purves
3. Fresh organic produce. Healthy, nutritious and improving livelihoods.

World Environment Day | ©Arne Purves
4. Seasonal vegetables are delivered freshly picked, to your chosen pick up point in the City

In fact, the global food production occupies 25% of all habitable land and is responsible for 70% of fresh water consumption, 80% of deforestation, and 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. It is the largest single driver of biodiversity loss and land-use change.

World Environment Day | © Arne Purves
5. Neglected open space is turned into productive, living, food providing spaces. Providing local food security and a source of income.

Making informed decision therefore means, for example, that you purposefully select foods that have less of an environmental impact, such as organic foods that do not use chemicals in the production process.

Choosing to buy locally can also mean that foods are not flown halfway across the world and therefore limit emissions.

So think before you eat and help save our environment!

Source: UNEP

Abalimi Besekhaya is an urban agriculture (UA) and environmental action (EA) association operating in the socio-economically neglected townships of Khayelitsha, Nyanga and surrounding areas on the Cape Flats near Cape Town, South Africa.

Abalimi means: "the Planters" in Xhosa, the predominant language among their target community. They assist individuals, groups and community based organisations to initiate and maintain permanent organic food growing and nature conservation projects as the basis for sustainable lifestyles, self-help job creation, poverty alleviation and environmental renewal.

Harvest of Hope

....boxes of freshly packed, organically grown vegetables, produced to the highest standards, with love and care, in the food gardens of Cape Town’s townships….

25 years ago Abalimi Bezekhaya planted a seed of hope. That seed grew into abundance; the abundance overflowed into a harvest of plenty, and the overflow became ‘Harvest of Hope’. Join their growing community and enjoy a weekly supply of the freshest, seasonal vegetables, while at the same time supporting sustainable, dignified, healthy livelihoods.

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Arne Purves
Author: Arne PurvesWebsite: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Arne's passion for the environment, wildlife and conservation was instilled from an early age, leading to a career in nature conservation, first as a game ranger in the Natal Parks Board, a conservation officer with CapeNature and today in the City of Cape Town's Environmental Compliance Department. Photography is his creative medium of choice.