Last week, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the ‘IPCC’) released its latest special report on Climate Change and Land Land use, along with energy production and transport is one of the three biggest contributors to greenhouse gases; in order to avoid catastrophic climate change, we must transform all these sectors rapidly. The report highlights that agriculture now uses 70% of available land on earth, producing about a quarter of the greenhouse gases that are rapidly changing our climate.
Whereas natural forests lock up dangerous carbon, clearing them for food production releases it into the atmosphere, contributing the ‘blanketing’ effect responsible for increasing temperatures. We are now losing soils up to 100 times faster than we are replacing it, rapidly jeopardising our ability to produce food in the future. This is all occurring in the face of growing demand; while food needs may have stabilised in the west, they will double in developing countries by 2050. And yet, around a third of all food produced globally is wasted or lost before it is consumed. While 2 billion people are overweight or obese, almost 1 billion are undernourished. Our food production systems are not sustainable, nor do they do adequately serve the needs of people.
While the facts are confronting, here in the SurfCoast we are blessed with opportunities to reduce our footprint. Innovative small-scale producers are now restoring our region’s soils while producing outstanding, high quality food. It has never been easier for individuals to produce more food at home, or to grow in shared spaces such as community gardens. Composting our kitchen waste will help soil health, reduce emissions and reduce burden on over-stretched landfill. And as consumers of food, we can halve our household carbon footprint by taking three steps; by avoiding air-freighted food, avoiding food wastage, and reducing our consumption of beef and lamb. And the best news is that by doing so, we will improve our local economy, our health and strengthen our wonderful community.