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Climate change is at a point where it’s not so easy to turn right back around anymore. We see the evidence of it in the infamous Pacific Garbage Patch, we feel it in the weather that has no business being somehow even hotter than imaginable, and entire countries are getting on each other’s bad side thanks to unlawful garbage dumped in third world countries.
But with all these corporate folks around who could care less about the environment just as long as they profit, how do we try to fight against climate change while there is still consumption?
To illustrate, there are over 15 million restaurants in the world. When combined, food that is produced by these restaurants are more or less adequate for the clientele, but even then, about 1.3 billion tonnes of food are still either lost or wasted.
According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, a UN arm concerned with studying and leading international efforts to defeat hunger, these billions’ worth of wasted food is also incredibly expensive.
In industrialized areas, the cost can climb to a dizzying $680 billion, and though in developing countries, that is only halved at $310 billion, it’s still a big amount to shoulder. It gets worse. The FAO reports that most of these food wasted are root crops, comprising 50% of the total food production, followed by 35% fish, 30% cereals, and 20% oilseeds.
Most of the wasting is done by industrialized countries, too. Though measured collectively, the numbers are close, which still makes the total food waste “more than half of the world’s annual cereals crop”, which sits at 2.3 billion tonnes. This was back in 2009 to 2010, but if restaurants and households don’t continue to do something about it, we could only see more food waste in the future.
The worst offenders of food waste are, of course, all of us. However, the FAO reports that 40% of food losses in developing countries occur at “post-harvest and processing levels,” compared to industrialized countries that lose 40% of their food through retail and consumer levels.
At this point, though, it would be too difficult to just reverse everything. For one thing, it’s frustratingly difficult to recycle or reduce waste if big companies aren’t going to stop emitting gas into the atmosphere, or mowing down entire forests to provide the world with food to satiate its hunger for cattle and coffee. Even using a metal straw is a luxury these days, and completely moot sometimes, if you think about the amount of plastic that you still have in your possession.
Nonetheless, restaurants are trying to change that as CNN World reports that restaurants in California right now are trying out a new way to fight food waste in the form of the surcharge that aims to help provide for farmers “who use practices that reduce carbon in the atmosphere.” The online news portal goes on to say that this was a program begun by the Restore California Renewable Restaurant program and that though it seems like a good idea, the initiative still made it into something that is optional for restaurants, so as to help them ease into it.
There is no guarantee that they will adopt this fully, for now, but what’s impressive is the fact that someone was concerned enough to think about it.
According to Anthony Myint, the organizer of the initiative, he wishes that restaurants do take the lead, and that they do try to do what they can to ease environmental concerns. He also shares how he wants to eventually see Restore California logos on restaurants where they boast the fact that they only go for quality ingredients that are both eco-friendly and nutritious.
As of now, while waiting for their program to begin, Myint and wife Karen Leibowitz also say they hope at least 200 restaurants sign on for their statewide program by the end of 2019 so that the said farmers could receive funding that could reach the heights of $10 million per year.
The payments will be managed by the Califonia Air Resources Board and will be used to “fund programs promoting healthier soil at farms and ranches around the state.”
In a corresponding report by the San Francisco Chronicle, Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross expresses her thanks to Myint and his initiative and the fact that he teamed up with not one, but three organizations, these being: the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the California Air Resources Board, and the Perennial Farming Initiative.
As the conclusion there is a quote from Karen Ross speech: “Farmers and ranchers have long been on the forefront of the battle against climate change,” Ross said in a statement. “This partnership is an opportunity for eaters and buyers to share in land-based solutions.”
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