Mahatma Gandhi said, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”
I believe this to be true.
Today is Earth Day – April 22nd – and I am continuing in my commitment to support and honour this planet with sustainable renewable use of its resources. As we used to say in the 60s… if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. This has never been more true than in how we consume and refresh the Earth’s resources.
We produce and consume so much… there are surplus goods in some countries co-existing with a scarcity of food, shelter, water and medicine in many regions of the world.
This is in part due to human intervention… the disruption of the natural cycles of agriculture and climate, politics carving out unnatural borders, warfare creating chaos and destruction, reduction of arable lands by converting to other usages, the deforestation of huge areas (reducing the oxygen supply and destroying wildlife habitats) for further industrialization or for farms raising livestock, which then require additional fields for growing animal feed… genetic modification of our food chain…. truly a destructive cycle.
There is also enormous waste which we can prevent. So much food is thrown away every day by both consumers and the agricultural industries.
According to the David Suzuki Foundation (read full details and statistics in the “Food and Our Planet” article here) :
🍎 Close to half of all food produced worldwide is wasted — discarded in processing, transport, supermarkets and kitchens.
🍊 As much as 30 percent of food, worth about $48 billion, is thrown away in the US each year. (The average household there throws out about 215 kilograms of food each year — around $600 dollars worth.)
🍅 Over 30 percent of fruits and vegetables in North America don’t even make it onto store shelves because they’re not pretty enough for picky consumers.
Startling facts to be sure. We can all take a look at our own practices to see how we can reduce waste at home.
But not all news is dire!
Improvements are being seen!
I am encouraged by improvements initiated by the Zero Waste and Eat Local / organic food movements. We now see grocery chains starting to carry “ugly” produce. People are choosing to buy foods using their own storage containers, or in bulk/loose format, instead of prepackaged items…. are buying local fresh ingredients… are frequenting local shops and farmers markets… are buying only what they need when they need it. There is also a move towards Urban Gardening, permaculture, and choosing organic non-genetically-modified foods. We’re getting back to basics… the sustainable practices followed by our ancestors and recent generations.
There is much we can do to sustain ourselves through real natural periods of scarcity, as well as reducing waste generally in order to foster longer-term sustainability and conservation of resources using these basic principles:
What can you start doing today
to honour and sustain this planet?
There are easy ways to start – or continue with reduction of waste and mindful use of resources:
- purchase your food from ethical retailers
- buy loose/bulk items over prepackaged items
- grow what you can
- eliminate waste at home
- make your own household cleaning and personal care products
- purchase from community gardens and local farmers markets
- learn to forage
- compost food scraps
- plant pollinator flowers in your gardens and window boxes to support the bees
And remember, very day is Earth Day… not just April 22.