FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Ten steps towards sustainability

Our planet is heating up. Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, and extreme weather events like droughts, cyclones and floods are becoming more common. All of these events have two things in common: 1) they have the worst effect on the world’s poorest people, many of whom work as farmers, and make it harder for them to grow food, and 2) they threaten the global goal to end hunger by 2030.

The good news is that we can help. We need to waste less food, save our forests, protect the earth’s precious natural resources like water and land and consume less energy or use energy sources that cause less pollution, among other things.

You can tackle climate change by changing your daily habits and making simple decisions. Tell us about your actions to combat climate change by using the hashtag #WFD2016 on social networks!

Don’t waste water.
Take a short shower rather than a bath. Bathtubs use gallons more water than a 5-10 minute shower. And turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Cleaning your teeth with the tap running uses 6 liters of water, while cleaning them with the tap off uses less than 1 liter of water. If you notice any leaks, fix them! A leaky tap can waste more than 11 thousand liters of water in a year.

Diversify your diet.
Try to eat an all-veggie meal (including pulses like lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas) instead of one meat meal every week. More natural resources are used to provide meat than plants or pulses, especially water. Discover some recipes for tasty pulse meals and some interesting facts provided especially for the International Year of Pulses.

Keep soils and water clean.
Pick up litter and choose household cleaners, paint and other products that are free from bleach or other strong chemicals. By reducing litter and using eco-friendly products you can limit water contamination and soil degradation.

Pick ugly fruit and vegetables.
Try some ugly fruit and vegetables and make use of food that might otherwise go to waste. Funny fruits or veggies are often thrown away because they don’t meet cosmetic standards. But in fact, they taste the same, if not better.

Don’t let labels fool you.
There’s a big difference between “best-before” and “use-by” dates. Sometimes food is still safe to eat after the “best before” date, whereas it’s the “use by” date that tells you when it‘s no longer safe to eat. Check before you throw it out.

Limit your plastic.
Buy minimally packaged goods, bring your own bag when you shop, use refillable water bottles and coffee cups.

Store food wisely.
When you stack up your cupboards or fridge, move older products to the front and new ones to the back. Use air-tight containers to keep food fresh in the fridge, or close packets to prevent insects from spoiling them.

Love your leftovers.
If you’ve cooked too much, don’t throw it away! Freeze a portion for another day or transform it into something else for the next day’s meal. If you’re at a restaurant, less is more. Ask for half a portion if you think a full one might be too big and ask to take your leftovers home. Again, you’ll save food and money.

Shop local. Shop KM 0.
By buying local produce, you can support neighborhood businesses and lower your “foodprint” – for example, by preventing trucks from driving long distances.

Be rubbish-savvy.
In addition to reducing, re-using and recycling, learn about how to recycle or dispose of household items that should never be thrown in a regular rubbish bin: batteries, paints, mobile phones, medicine, chemicals, fertilizers, tires, ink cartridges, etc. These can be damaging to the environment, especially if they get into water systems.

About World Food Day
FAO observes World Food Day every year on 16 October, to commemorate the founding of the Organization in 1945. Events take place in over 150 countries across the world, making it one of the most celebrated days of the UN calendar. These events promote worldwide awareness of those who suffer from chronic hunger, and action to ensure food security and nutritious diets for everyone. The global message for World Food Day 2016 is “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must, too.”

1 September 2016, Budapest, Hungary