Climate Change- A global problem
Even while everyone has the right to adequate food, not all individuals get their fundamental needs met. About 2 billion people lacked regular access to sufficient, wholesome, and safe food in 2019. There are efforts underway on a worldwide scale to end hunger, but the fight to address the world’s food crisis is still far from over. Finding sustainable ways to feed our ever booming population, nevertheless, is a challenge.
Rising temperatures and erratic rainfalls have been damaging our production systems, crop yield and further threatening our food security. The evidently changing climate in India, which has 1.4 billion residents is rated 107th out of 121 nations in the Global Hunger Index, indicates a grave problem of food security. Climatic uncertainty is endangering our natural resources more and more every day, which will further destabilize our food systems and increase the likelihood of food insecurity and high costs.
Why do we need Sustainable Food Systems?
Our food supply chains add to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions while having a substantial impact on all of our ecosystems. Our decision to prioritize social and broader economic growth ahead of environmental impacts has undermined our capacity to maintain increasing agricultural productivity, sustain farmer livelihoods and assure food security for a growing population.
We need enough healthful food for our present generation and the ones to come. Because without enough nutrition, there won’t be adequate human growth, education, health, equality, or social development, which is critical to reaching the goal of Zero Hunger and building a stronger tomorrow.
What can we as consumers do to help?
From farm to fork, the journey of our food is mediated by many stakeholders in the process. This calls for a collective effort of all those involved, from producers to consumers into minimizing emissions from the food supply chain. Consumer behavior is a decisive aspect for businesses that aids them in determining the services and products they provide. As consumers, we fuel business revenue, influence industries, shape sectors and occasionally even help to create new ones.
We can shape our own lives—at home, at work, and in the community—by supporting local farmers and making local and sustainable food choices, supporting good nutrition and fighting food waste. So here’s what we can do:
Adapt and adopt a sustainable diet: There is a need to adopt and adapt to changes in lifestyle, a shift towards more sustainable eating habits and a comparatively more plant based diet which will include whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables.
Avoid excessive packaging: Reduce your usage of plastic bags and packaged goods by preparing more of your meals from scratch using whole foods which often require less packing. Wherever possible, try to purchase bigger containers of food rather than single serving sizes as they require less packaging. Use reusable or eco-friendly carry bags that you own.
Avoid waste and learn to innovate: Since food waste would fuel the fire of an already-existing hunger, limiting food waste is essential to reducing waste. Every year, over 17% of the food that is available to consumers globally ends up in trash bins, which means that food waste also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Using some culinary skills to remake the food from the previous meals and cooking only how much is necessary will assist to prevent food waste.
Meal Planning: Before you go out and make repeated, excessive purchases, check your stock. Create a list, a plan for purchases, and a budget to adhere to before you go shopping. This will not only save you from wasting time and money by avoiding the aisles of the grocery store, but it will also save food from going to waste.
Support and use local: To future proof our health, we need to think global but support local. We should support and make use of the same land, change our diets to include a greater diversity of traditional and native foods, and make better use of labor, water, and land resources. Locally grown food shall help to keep a check on the product’s carbon footprint, support local food systems, benefit farmers and foster a feeling of community while also assisting in rural development. This will make our food plate more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.
By making purchases from neighborhood vendors or Mandis, we as consumers can help the stakeholders in our community. In addition to empowering producers, this will also enable us to make better decisions and learn more about the origins of our food.
Since the health of our future, our children, depends on sustainable farming, conscious eating, and sensitive agricultural and economic policies, we need a significant change in food production and consumption to create food systems that function within our planetary boundaries and support environmental sustainability and we can begin with this change as responsible consumers.