Preparing to write my blog post, I dive deep into my lukewarm gelatinous minestrone soup. Bouncing off the walls of the cardboard cup, I find carrots that are much too orange, unidentified translucent vegetables, and artificial flavors that leave me yearning for the earth. As the worker at Spoons throws plastic silverware (wrapped in plastic) and twenty napkins in my bag I ask where the soup was made – – she has no idea.
Among many other issues surrounding food security, the disconnect from our food is addressed in the streaming video “Food for Thought” on day 6 of the World Parks Conference in Sydney, Australia.
The crisis: as the global population races toward nine billion, how do we provide nutrition for this many people while protecting the biodiversity of the ecosystems upon which we depend? The ‘Food for Thought’ panelists discussed many possible solutions that need to be explored soon in order to address this pressing issue.
Some solutions discussed by panelists:
1) Efficiency – The statistics concerning wasted food are staggering.
- 3 billion tons of food are wasted every year
- Amount of land needed to produce this wasted food 1.4 Billion hectares (twice the size of Australia)
- Amount of water needed to produce this wasted food is 3 times the volume of Lake Geneva
2) Eat less animal products
- Extensive cattle ranching accounts for 80% of current deforestation
- Concentrated amounts of waste, hormones and antibiotics severely harms river and stream ecosystems.
- Carbon emissions from livestock, transportation, and grain production to support the demand for meat are enormous
- Often in developed countries, eating animal product is a choice and a luxury
- The conservation of biological diversity on agricultural lands can be supported while farmers simultaneously benefit.
- Farmers can have a diversity products, creating financial stability
- Agroforestry can be implemented within protected areas, acting as a solution to the social/ecological issue of food security and biodiversity loss.
As the global population and demand for food soars, the degradation of biological diversity continues to be compromised. New and innovative solutions need to be explored to work toward supporting both of these issues concurrently. Speakers at the World Parks Congress are taking steps toward solutions by discussing efficiency and the need to reconnect with our food sources. Protected areas may be a large part of the solution by acting as a managed source of food while simultaneously providing economic resilience to local communities.