Traditional Cultures Can Show Wasteful World How To Preserve Food


Ahead of World Environment Day, UNEP Showcases Methods such as Condensing Cows, Storing Seabirds in Sealskins and Freeze-Drying Potatoes in the Open Air.

From condensing the meat of whole cow to the size of a human fist, to preserving seabirds in sealskins, there are hundreds of ways in which traditional cultures can teach the wasteful developed world how to preserve and conserve one of our most-precious yet most-squandered resources: food.

Each year, an estimated one third of all food produced—an astonishing 1.3 billion tonnes, worth around US$1 trillion—ends up rotting in the bins of consumers and retailers or spoiling due to poor transportation and harvesting practices.

Aside from the moral implications of such wastage in a world where almost 900 million people go hungry every day, unconsumed food wastes both the energy put into growing it and the fuel spent on transporting produce across vast distances.

Added to this, significant amounts of the powerful greenhouse gas methane emanate from food decomposing on landfills, while livestock and forests cleared for food production contribute to global warming—for example, agriculture and land-use changes like deforestation account for over 30 per cent of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

World Environment Day 2013, whose global host is the government and people of Mongolia, is focused on the new UN Environment Programme and UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) campaign Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint, which is aimed at slashing this wastage.