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How to waste less food, end world hunger and save pollinators?

Experts at the Sustainable Development Forum gave their advice on what each of us can do to contribute to a more sustainable future regarding food production and climate change.

Helen Saarniit / Published on 15 December 2016

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A plate with miniature fruits and veggies by Stéphanie Kilgast via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
“70 days of miniature fruits and veggies” by Stéphanie Kilgast via Flickr

The Sustainable Development Forum held in Tallinn last month concentrated on the interlinkages between food and climate change.

For example, it might come as a surprise to many of us that much of our food depends on the hard work of pollinators. Bees and other pollinators help to fertilize over 75% of crops, such as fruits, vegetables, coffee or cocoa, ensuring the diversity of our diets. However, pollinators are under threat, for a number of reasons, including climate change.

Simon Potts, of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), shared three simple steps that each of us can follow to help pollinators: put lots of flowers in our gardens, provide places for bees to live, and choose products that come from farms that use pollinator-friendly practices.

Food waste is another global problem that is having a negative effect on both our finances as well as the environment. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), about a third of food produced for human consumption is currently wasted.

Therefore, food waste has a considerable carbon footprint, as a lot of resources go into producing food. Emilie Wieben from FAO gave tips on how to turn this process around and motivate people to waste less food. Food waste does not require innovative solutions, but rather common-sense basic measures, she said, such as good planning while buying, preparing and ordering food.

Wieben added that reducing food waste is the easiest way for consumers to take responsibility and contribute to sustainability.

Ending world hunger by 2030 is one of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by world leaders in September last year. Madeleine Fogde, of the Swedish International Agricultural Network (SIANI), said the key to delivering on this goal is collaboration and dialogue.

Fogde also underlined the importance of understanding that we all have a role to play in the eradication of hunger. What we do locally has a global impact, since our consumption choices will determine opportunities in other markets in other areas.


Read also about how to halve the per capita food waste in Estonia by 2030?, a panel discussion held during the Sustainable Development Forum.

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