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Building the #ZeroHunger Generation

Unit 1: Seven areas for change

We will look at seven different areas related to food and agriculture where change needs to happen if we want to deal with climate change. This is the only way that we can end world hunger. 

Forestry

Many people around the world live in forests or depend on them for food. Forests not only provide shelter and food for people and other creatures, they also produce oxygen, clean the air we breathe by absorbing gases like carbon dioxide, and give us plenty of fresh water. Our forests are quickly disappearing, with thousands of trees being cut down each year to clear land for farming, among other uses. We have to protect and care for our forests to keep our planet and those who live on it healthy. 

Agriculture

As  the  climate  changes,  the  way  food  is  grown  and  produced  must  change  too.  Climate  change  is  making  it  harder  to  grow  food  because  of  natural  disasters,  like  floods,  droughts,  and  warmer seasons.  Food  and  agriculture  need  to  adapt  to  the  effects  of  climate  change  in  order  to  produce  more  for  a  growing  global  population  in  a  sustainable  way.  Many  of  the  world’s  poorest  people  are  farmers,  who  are  hit  hardest  by  the  increase  in  natural  disasters  caused  by  climate  change.  We  need  to  strengthen  their  ability  to  prepare  for  bad  weather,  but  when  it’s  particularly  bad  and  disasters  are  unavoidable,  we  need  to  help  them  recover  by  reducing  the  damage  and  losses.

Livestock Management

The way that farmers look after animals, including cows, goats, sheep, pigs, donkeys and camels, produces most of the greenhouse gases that come from agriculture. Changing the way farmers look after these animals is an important step in making sure they produce less harmful gasses. This is especially important, considering that we will need even more animals in the future to feed the growing population. More natural resources are also used to provide meat than vegetables or pulses (e.g. lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas), especially water. Eating at least one meat-free meal every week is something you can do to help.

Food waste

A large amount of greenhouse gases are released to produce the food we eat every day. But the worst thing is that over one third of the food produced worldwide is lost or wasted. Wasting food means wasting the money, labour, and resources such as energy, land and water that go into producing the food. Wasted food usually ends up in landfills where it rots, and rotting food is harmful to our environment, because it releases methane gas, one of the most powerful greenhouse gases. You can throw away less food by saving leftovers, freezing portions of food, helping your parents to plan your meals, buying only what you need at the supermarket and trying to buy ugly fruits and vegetables.

Natural Resources

At the moment, we’re using far more natural resources than we need to produce food. There are only a limited amount of these resources and they need to be available for families in the future. We’re also using the earth’s precious resources poorly and damaging important ecosystems. We’re cutting down forests, polluting our water systems and ruining our soils. When managed sustainably, soils can store a large amount of carbon and therefore they have a huge potential to decrease the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. If we manage our natural resources sustainably, not only can we help to end hunger, but we can also fight climate change.

Fisheries

Many people around the world depend on oceans and wetlands to make a living and feed their families. Oceans also store a large amount of carbon dioxide in their depths and are home to over half of all life on earth. Rising ocean levels, warmer water temperatures, pollution and over-fishing mean that our oceans and wetlands are no longer healthy, and that among other things, we will run out of fish soon, unless we do something. Changing how we fish and what fish we eat will help to keep our oceans full of fish for years to come.

Food Systems

One of the things that will help us to end hunger by 2030 is to make sure that we create sustainable food systems. What is a food system? Food goes through many stages before making it onto your plate, travelling from farms and fields to the market and supermarkets, and finally to your home. This long process is linked like a chain and is known as a food system. If a link breaks (or doesn’t work like we expect it to because there isn’t enough food for example), the whole process is interrupted. A sustainable food system can feed our growing population without damaging the planet. It’s the key to ending hunger for good and becoming the Zero Hunger Generation. You can help by choosing to buy food that is sustainably produced, locally grown and has the fair trade stamp.