Over ninety per cent of people unaware of environmental impact of food

91 per cent of people fail to recognize that how we eat, produce and waste food is the single biggest threat to our planet, warns WWF in new research. The food system consumes natural resources and emits greenhouse gases.

The food system is both the single biggest user of natural resources and the single biggest greenhouse gas emitter, responsible for around a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions.

It uses 34 per cent of our land and 69 per cent of our freshwater and is the main cause of deforestation and other habitat loss, according to new research conducted by WWF.

Yet 91 per cent of people do not consider the food system to pose any threat to nature. Among 18 to 24 year olds, a total of 40 per cent believe the threat is less than significant.

“If food is produced more sustainably, distributed fairly and consumed more responsibly, we can feed everyone without destroying more forests, rivers and oceans. We need to increase people’s awareness of where food comes from, and change our behaviours to ensure the proper functioning of our food system,” commented João Campari, WWF Food Practice Leader, in a statement.

The survey of 11,000 people was carried out in Australia, Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Netherlands, South Africa, UK and US – all countries identified as having their food security threatened by damages to nature and as contributing significantly to these damages through high-impact food production, consumption or waste. One third of all the food produced is never consumed.

With the Food 2.0 initiative aiming to transform the way we eat, WWF already has close to 100 food-related programmes running across the world in partnerships with governments, food producers, businesses and other non-governmental organizations.

“By working together to realise Food 2.0, an evolved food system, we all have the power to bring food to the top of the conservation agenda and help protect our global food security,” concluded Campari.

Photo credit: Dean Hochman/ CC BY 2.0

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