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COP26 Food and climate change

November 2021

Head of Food and Nutrition, Brigid Alpers, gave a brilliant presentation on how our food habits can impact the climate – and when thinking we are doing the right thing is actually making matters worse. 

“The food we grow, rear, process, transport, package, eat and waste has huge implications for climate change. Food contributes to around 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions. These gases are released into the atmosphere when we air freight avocados, when forests are cut down to make land for livestock, when cows emit methane, when we drive our car to the supermarket, when oil is used to make plastic packaging and when 30% of the food we waste is left to rot.

 

World leaders need to invest in decarbonization and greener energy, but what we do at home also makes a difference. Whether we start relying less on meat or dairy or shop wisely to reduce food miles and food waste, we can all play our part. It is not always straight forward; for instance if everyone in the country drove their cars to local farm shops to buy apples it might cause more carbon emissions than buying a crate of apples shipped from New Zealand! That’s why it is important to keep up with the latest science and think about how you or your family could reduce your eco footprint when it comes to food.”

 

Waste not, want not.

Following the presentation, our Year 9 got straight to work coming up with ways to reduce food waste at home and in school. They used some stale croissants to make a bread and butter pudding and leftover vegetables to make spiced sweet potato soup with a dash of coconut cream. In western countries such as the UK we waste a shocking 30% of all food that is produced. That food rots and causes methane gas, but you also have to count the greenhouse gases produced when the food was grown, reared, manufactured and transported. It is up to all of us to try to reduce food waste.

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