Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Food waste as an environmental crisis

Environment News Service: Over half of the food produced globally is lost, wasted or discarded as a result of inefficiency in the human-managed food chain, finds a new study by the United Nations Environment Programme released today. This staggering amount of waste plus environmental degradation is putting an end to a 100-year trend of falling food prices, the study warns. Food prices may increase by 30 to 50 percent within decades, forcing those living in extreme poverty to spend up to 90 percent of their income on food, findings that are supported by a recent report from the World Bank.

The UN report was issued at the UNEP Governing Council and Global Ministerial Environment Forum taking place in Nairobi through Friday. The environment ministers are focused on finding solutions to the world's environmental, financial, food and energy crises through the emerging concept of a green economy. The report looks ahead to 2050 when the global population is expected to be close to 9.5 billion, up from the 6.76 billion people on Earth today.

"There is evidence within the report that the world could feed the entire projected population growth alone by becoming more efficient while also ensuring the survival of wild animals, birds and fish on this planet," said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. Losses and food waste in the United States could be as high as 50 percent, according to some recent estimates. Up to one-quarter of all fresh fruits and vegetables in the United States is lost between the field and the table….

Gluttony, of the seven deadly sins (1592), by Jacob Matham

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