Why World Leaders Are Starting to Eat Garbage

October 5, 2015
When it comes to tackling climate change, one of the greatest challenges we face is understanding the myriad factors that influence our warming planet. Addressing some while ignoring others will only allow the mercury to continue to rise. And while threats like carbon pollution and environmental degradation feature prominently into any discussion about solving this crisis—and rightfully so—there’s still at least one significant factor that remains noticeably absent from our discourse: food.
Wasted food in particular, and there’s a lot of it. Globally, nearly 30% of all agricultural land produces food that is ultimately lost or wasted. That’s more than 1.3 billion metric tons of edible food—a sizable slab of the roughly 6 billion tons of total global agricultural production for both food and non-food use.
Waste appears throughout the supply chain, from produce damaged at farms to retail packages that don’t properly store food, to our very own eating habits that lead us to discard food before it has passed its prime. And when this food goes uneaten, we waste the water and energy needed to produce it, harvest it and bring it to market. We allow for unnecessary nitrous oxide emissions from the fertilizer used to grow crops, and then we dump the wasted food into a landfill where it emits methane gas.
Read Rep. Grijalva's full op-ed in Time Magazine here.