Food for Thought on Earth Day 2021
Change a habit, plant a tree or fill a garbage bag on your local hiking trail April 22 (and every day after).
It was 1970.
The Beatles disbanded and Jimi Hendrix died. There were just over 3.6 billion people in the world. The Boeing 747, the first jumbo-jet, made its inaugural flight from New York to London. Nixon was president. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was born.
And people around the world celebrated the first-ever Earth Day.
It was the culmination of a decade of strong environmental action from Presidents Kennedy and Johnson - the Clean Water Act of 1960, the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Clean Air Acts 1963 and 1967, and the Water Quality Act of 1965.
The most potent flow of energy into the American environmentalism movement came from Rachel Carson’s best-selling Silent Spring, which sounded the alarm over use of the insecticide DDT in food-agriculture.
And 51 years later, on April 22, agriculture and food sustainability are back on the Earth Day agenda as one of the five pillars of this year’s Restore Our Earth theme.
Foodprints for the Future
Food production is a resource-intensive business.
It’s grown, harvested, processed, transported, stored. Every step takes time and space and energy. And each of those steps contribute to what’s known as your foodprint. The environmental impact of the food on your plate.
The short version is this. You can reduce the impact your dinner has on the planet this Earth Day by:
- Filling Your plate with food produced locally.
- Saving your leftovers for lunch tomorrow, or compost them.
- Cutting your meat consumption.
Why take these steps? Because agriculture is responsible for about 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions. And one of the 2021 Earth Day goals is to reduce that number.
- If food waste were a country, it would be the 3rd largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China and the US, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.
- Animal agriculture accounts for 80% of all agricultural emissions (or 20% of global greenhouse emissions).
- According to research from the WorldWatch Institute, the average meal in the United States travels 1,500 miles before reaching your plate - even though a farmer is growing carrots just down the road.
This Earth Day, calculate your family’s foodprint and sit down with your kids to figure out how you can make it smaller. If they find it interesting, they might even help with dinner!
More than food
- Earth Day 2021 isn’t just about food.
- The Canopy Project pillar is a reforestation project with sites across the globe.
- The Great Global Cleanup is a grassroots initiative to get local communities together to pick up waste.
- The Global Earth Challenge, a citizen science initiative focused on how insect populations like bees are changing.
- The Climate Literacy Campaign, which seeks commitments from ministries of education to provide high-quality environmental education to students.
- If you can’t lower your foodprint, there are plenty of ways to engage with Earth Day this year.
- We will, and we hope you join us.
- For more on Earth Day, visit the website.