© Nancy Standlee

Today was a good day. I ate the leftovers from yesterday’s pie, yum! still delicious! I didn’t throw out or waste any food, well only the orange peels from this morning’s breakfast. So, for today my food waste CO2 emissions are low, so tonight I’ll have sweet waste free dreams! XoX

Let me explain. A couple of weeks back, while I was researching on food waste related topics, I came across ‘The Food Waste Calculator for households’ (FAO, 2013). This initiative is part of the European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) which usually takes place in the last week of November each year. Now, I didn’t really want to wait eight months to write about this, so I decided to go ahead and fill my food waste diary for seven days.

It turned out to be a pretty simple thing to do. I downloaded the excel file from the EWWR website, I read though the instructions and filled in my details. After that I started to keep track of my food waste. All I needed was a balance to weigh the food waste, and a piece of paper to list the weight daily. I would then enter the information in the excel file under the appropriate cell, either leftovers or spoiled food. This would add up to my weekly food waste (mine came to 2.2 Kg), and then converted in its CO2 equivalent. It also compared me my CO2 equivalent of my food waste per year with the climate compatible annual emissions budget per person.

These are my results:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a bit silly but I was a little annoyed at the beginning that the numbers were so low, I really wanted to have a bigger discovery at the end of the week-long experiment. It turns out I’m pretty good at avoiding waste (for that one particular week), most of the food waste was unavoidable i.e. fruit and vegetable peels. There was only one sad savoy cabbage promised for delicious vegan kimchi that went bad before I could even try, oh well!

This was a truly uncomplicated way to become more aware of household food waste at the most localised personal level. However, the issue of food waste is a global one which extends beyond the individual and involves multiple agents; governments, businesses, and producers. Globally it is estimated that a third of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted through production process and after consumption (FAO,2013). The quantification of this loss and waste is essential to adequately reduce and avoid wastage of food as well as the waste of natural resources in production.

In 2013, FAO coined the term ‘Food Wastage Footprint’ in order to calculate the environmental and social costs associated with natural resource loss and environmental degradation (FAO, 2013). In this case, food wastage specifically refers to any food lost by deterioration or discard, thus the term “wastage” encompasses both food loss and food waste.

 

“The Food Wastage Footprint (FWF) project… calculates the impact of food wastage on natural resources such as water, land and biodiversity. This includes the natural resources used across the food chain, from growing to distributing food which is finally not eaten, the impact of food wastage disposal on natural resources, and the impact of GHG emissions from food wastage on the atmosphere.”  –  (FAO, Food wastage footprint Impact on natural resources Summary report, 2013)

 

Once the parallels between landfills overflowing with edible food, and malnourished communities on separate parts of the globe were drawn, the issue of food wastage was impossible to ignore (FAO, 2013). Studies were carried out, which showed us that one-third of all food produced for human consumption if wasted, and this is costing 1 trillion USD out of our pockets each year. (FAO, 2014) Still, these high figures overlook the total cost of food wastage; economic, social and environmental. That is where The Food Wastage Footprint comes in.

KNOW.

The Food Wastage Footprint provides a more complete and accurate understanding of the food supply chain. As it unveils hidden environmental and social costs and provides a clear illustration of any distortions within the global food system (FAO, 2014). It also heightens and improves our knowledge of the implications of our food production and consumption patterns.

ENUMERATE.

The Food Wastage Footprint does this by monetizing unpriced natural resources such as land, water, air, ecosystems, and biodiversity, along with the related ecosystem services. Usually natural resources are prey to the Tragedy of the commons’, a concept which Willian Foster Lloyd wrote about back in 1833, it loosely states that resources which are freely accessible are depleted through self-interest over-consumption for short-term gain (Vugt, 2009). By going beyond market pricing, the Food Wastage Footprint incorporates societal welfare costs related to the loss of natural resources.

MITIGATE.

The Food Wastage Footprint therefore serves as a powerful tool for effective mitigation of global food waste. It equips us with a thorough understanding of food wastage at different levels (global, national, local), and the role of various agents (producers & consumers). This is necessary as only by knowing exactly what, where, and how can we successfully reduce food waste and design targeted measures (Fao, 2013).

 

In its study FAO provides calculations for prominent social and environmental costs of food wastage, these are also broken down by geographical region, commodity (cereals, meat, fruit, & vegetables), and phases of the global food supply chain (FAO, 2014). Its findings highlight that in addition to the USD 1 trillion of economic costs per year, environmental costs reach around USD 700 billion and social costs amount to USD 900 billion.

 

 

Some of the most notable findings include;

  • 3.5 Gt CO2e of greenhouse gas emissions. Based on the social cost of carbon, these are estimated to cause USD 394 billion of damages per year.
  • Increased water scarcity, particularly for dry regions and seasons. Globally, this is estimated to cost USD 164 billion per year.
  • Soil erosion due to water is estimated to cost USD 35 billion per year through nutrient loss, lower yields, biological losses and off-site damages. The cost of wind erosion may be of a similar magnitude.
  • Risks to biodiversity including the impacts of pesticide use, nitrate and phosphorus eutrophication, pollinator losses and fisheries overexploitation are estimated to cost USD 32 billion per year.
  • Increased risk of conflict due to soil erosion, estimated to cost USD 396 billion per year.
  • Loss of livelihoods due to soil erosion, estimated to cost USD 333 billion per year.
  • Adverse health effects due to pesticide exposure, estimated to cost USD 153 billion per year.

Source:  FAO, Food wastage footprint Full-cost accounting Final Report, 2014

 

 Key global environmental impacts of food wastage by regions

[Values in million tonnes wastage, millions ha land occupation, million tonnes GHG emissions, and km3 water use, all on the same axis.]

Source: FAO, Food wastage footprint Full-cost accounting Final Report, 2014

 

The Food Wastage Footprint highlights the sheer magnitude of the global food waste problem through valuing our ecosystems, the commons and all related invaluable services they provide. This is not an attempt to put a price tag on nature but rather these calculations allow prioritising actions and defining opportunities for various actor’s contribution to resolving this global challenge (FAO,2013) . However we may choose to look at it, reducing food wastage makes sense economically, environmentally and socially. It also raises the question that, with increasing world population, higher standards of living and limited natural resources, are the costs of food wastage something we can really afford?

 

P.S. For our readers, we encourage you to participate and fill in YOUR food waste diary and feel free to let us know how it went!

Sources

FAO. (2013). Food wastage footprint Impact on natural resources Summary report.

Fao. (2013). Toolkit reducing the food wastage footprint. 

FAO. (2014). Food wastage footprint Full-cost accounting Final Report. 

Fao. (2014). Mitigation of societal costs and benefits of food waste.

Vugt, M. V. (2009). Averting the Tragedy of the Commons

How will we sustainably feed 10 billion mouths by 2050? That was the question we asked ourselves during the Wasteless Culture Monday the fourth of March; one of the weekly events that Taste Before You Waste (TBYW) organizes. A TBYW volunteer presented the broader subject of our future food system in relation to  its’ connection with consumers’ dietary habits with the overall aim of both informing and providing a platform for discussion about the ‘sustainable future diet’.

Gerelateerde afbeelding

© NextGen Policy

Questions that were addressed during the presentation and group discussion included; is there a way to feed 10 billion people by 2050? And if so, how can we establish that without exploiting the planet even more? What environmentally sustainable choices can we make? How do you create a large-scale shift in diet?

 

In accordance with the philosophy of Taste Before You Waste, the event provided insight into the  role that the bottom-up movement plays in the wider context. It addressed the responsibility that us, as individuals, have for the health of the planet. And, the things we can do on a daily basis to maintain a healthy planet. One thing we learnt is that as consumers, we can have a massive influence on climate goals by making changes to our eating habits. However, the path towards it is an inherently complex one. For instance: we all know we should eat a little less meat. However, it remains a controversial subject to discuss. Eating culture is such an emotional one after all. We have however done the best we can to leave you with some new insights and ideas on how to change your diet into sustainable one: good for your and the planet’s health.

 

The problem

Our current food system is failing. Population is growing on a planet on which resources are exhausted, causing a risk of failure to meet the dietary needs of all these people. All the processes and infrastructures that are required to feed the population are threatening the stability of the climate and resilience of the ecosystems. In other words: The food system goes beyond the planetary boundaries, irreversibly damaging the environment (Willet, W et al, 2019). Whether you are familiar with Taste Before You Waste, who actively commits to tackling this problem, or not, this is a problem that addresses not only ourselves but future generations.

 

Food has the potential to be a powerful lever to optimize human health and environmental sustainability on earth. However, food is currently threatening both people and planet. The rise of the middle class the previous century in Europe and North America, and currently in Asia, coupled with urbanization has driven a transition from traditional diets to diets that contain large amounts of refined sugar, animal protein and fats. This is the exact diet that will cause an estimated 80% of increase in greenhouse emissions by 2050 (Tilman & Clark, 2014).

 

Consumers as part of the solution

The depressing part is over now. The problem may seem overwhelming, there are however solutions! By now, there is a lot of scientific evidence that emphasises the link between diets and environmental sustainability. Unfortunately, this has not yet resulted in large scale policy that works to transform the global food system. Until early this year, when EAT-Lancet, a commission of 37 scientist from sixteen different countries, published a report to set the first steps towards such goals and ways to achieve them. On the consumption end of the global food system there are improvements that should be made that basically entail; making a shift to a largely plant-based diet (Willet et al, 2019). The less animal protein is consumed, the better for the environment. So: in the future sustainable diet, fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and legumes (chickpeas, beans, peanuts etc.) are at the core and should, according to the authors of the report, be doubled in global consumption. The consumption of red meat should be cut in half (Willet et al, 2019).

 

What can YOU do?

There are several things you, as a consumer, can do to contribute to both physical and planetary health. First of all, we can agree that cutting down on meat is a rather controversial subject, due to multiple reasons. Not everyone can cut down meat straight away, and for many cultures meat is deeply ingrained in the diet. We can not expect everyone to cut down on meat cold turkey (😉): therefore here follow some tips on how to be be as environmentally sustainable as possible while still eating meat.

 

The sustainable meat-eater

The first thing you can do is choose wisely. Lamb and beef are by far the greatest creators of greenhouse gas: to produce one kilo of beef, 27 kgs of greenhouse gases are emitted. Lamb ranks first in the list, emitting 39.2 kgs of greenhouse gases The better choice would be to eat pork (12.1 kgs) or chicken (6.9 kgs). Chicken also needs very little space and can be fed more efficiently than cows: chickens need about 2kgs of feed to get 1kg of meat. Cows need 30kgs of feed for the same amount of meat! (Olthuis, L., 26th Jan. 2019. Slopen mijn boodschappen de wereld? | De Volkskrant. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6ISYyZN0qI&t=290s)

 

To give you an idea of the difference with plant-based protein-rich foods: the carbon footprint of many legumes rank very low on the list. Black beans emit 2.0kgs of greenhouse gases and lentils are the ultimate winner with 0.9kgs of greenhouse gas emission. Surprisingly, per serving black beans and lentils contain more protein than a serving of beef! (Bohrer, 2017) But then; what about dairy and eggs? They rank somewhere in the middle: the Co2 equivalent for cheese is 13.5 kgs and eggs 4.8 kgs. So: a vegetarian diet would be a step in the right direction. A final tip for decreasing pressure on the environment when you still want to eat meat: choose local! Imported meat impacts the environment with greenhouse gases that are emitted in the process, therefore meat from the local farm is the better option.

Various assortment of legumes - beans, soy beans, chickpeas, lentils, green peas. Healthy eating concept. Vegetable proteins. Dark concrete background copy space top view banner format

Choose local

However, if we really want to sustainably feed 10 billion mouths in 2050, we need to stick to the plant-based diet. Another important thing to keep in mind while doing this, is to choose locally. The closer to home; the less energy-use in transportation. Tropical products cost a lot of energy to get to Europe, especially when they are flown in. Choose products that are shipped in.

Choose seasonal

Another, maybe even more important aspect to consider in buying your fruit ‘n veg’ is seasonality. Buying strawberries from the Netherlands in March gets the lowest score on the sustainability-ranking. You’d best get them from Spain in this month, as the energy cost from growing them in a greenhouse in the Netherlands is much higher compared to sun-grown strawberries from Spain, even considering the environmental costs of transportation (March 2019, retrieved from: https://groentefruit.milieucentraal.nl/milieuscore-van-groente-en-fruit/)

 

It sounds like quite a lot to comprehend, I know. To make things easier, here’s a helpful tool in checking what to buy and what not to buy. Milieucentraal developed a fruits- and vegetables calendar where you can check how environmentally friendly a product is in each season. Check out https://groentefruit.milieucentraal.nl/ to see what the best products are to buy considering the use of fossil fuels, contribution to climate change, land use and water stress. So leave those blueberries and raspberries for what they are in November, and enjoy them when the sun decides that they are ready to be grown locally. Taste the season!

© Stichting Permacultuur Advies

The sustainable plant-based diet: check your waste

Finally, needless to say it is a good move to reduce your food waste to be more environmentally sustainable at home. First of all: check the fridge! What do you have and how can you and your creative brain prepare a meal with what you already have? Secondly, measure the quantities of how much you need or freeze in what you can’t have. It might seem like no-brainers, but considering the fact that a European households on average waste about 4 kilograms a week (Quested & Johnson 2009;), there is much room for progress!

 

Conclusion

No sugar coating when it comes to the future of our food system: it is failing, it has irreversibly damaged the planet’s ecosystems and will do so in the future if big changes will not happen soon. That’s the bad news. The good news is, we have a choice, and the privilege to make an educated decision about how we choose to deal with problems that address all of us, and our common future. Shifting our diets to a more plant-based one seems like a good place to start towards a sustained planet that inhabits 10 billion people by 2050. You, too can contribute to the health of the planet by shifting your diet to a more plant-based one, choosing local and seasonal products, shop smart and use what you have at home so that you don’t have to throw anything away. It sounds like a lot, but all small bitAfbeeldingsresultaat voor shopping basket vegans help, and remember: we don’t need a few people to do it perfectly, we need everyone to do it imperfectly.

Coincidentally, this blog is posted during the National Meatless week (https://weekzondervlees.nl/) in the Netherlands. Comment below to share your opinion and ideas! Do you think a large-scale shift in diets is possible? And if so, how? How do you make sure you keep yourself in and the planet in good health with the things you put in your shopping basket? Keep an eye out for the coming blogs, as a bunch of recipes will follow where the planetary health diet can be put into practice!

 

 

References:

  • Bohrer, B. (2017). Review: Nutrient density and nutritional value of meat products and non-meat foods high in protein.
  • Quested T, Johnson H. (2009) Household food and drink waste in the UK. wrap. Banbury UK. 2009. ISBN:1-84405-430-6
  • Tilman, D. And Clark, M (2014). Global diets link environmental sustainability and human health. Nature, International Journal of Science. Volume 515, pages 518–52
  • Willet, W. et al. (2019). Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. The Lancet Commissions. Volume 393, Issue 10170,  pages 447-492.

 

“We are either going to have a future where women lead the way to make peace with the Earth or we are not going to have a human future at all.”

Vandana Shiva

This famous quote by Indian environmental activist Vandana Shiva underlines the essence of sisterhood, who may not be biologically related but embodies a strong bond between women environmentalists, dedicating their lives to defend the planet. Similarly, the leading ladies behind Taste Before You Waste resonates the sisterhood vibe through their collective support and action towards combating food waste. Follow through the exciting journey of the leading ladies behind Taste Before You Waste and how their roles and responsibilities have changed over the years.

How Luana started the journey of TBYW:

 

Taste Before You Waste started in late 2012 with Luana, who – inspired by a documentary on food waste – went out to her local grocery shops in Amsterdam East. To her amazement, most of the shop owners were more than happy to give her all their surplus food. Initially working closely with the refugee community and the squatting community to redistribute the rescued produce, Luana decided to start her own initiative: Taste Before You Waste! Starting with bike pick-ups, food waste dinners in the neighbourhood and markets on campus soon after, our community grew quickly.

Involvement of Sophia with Luana during 2016-17: 

Luana & Sophia© TBYW Media collection

In 2016, Luana and her friend Sophia, becoming ever more involved, officially registered the organisation as a foundation and dedicated themselves full-time to the development of Taste Before You Waste.

For almost two years they worked love, sweat and tears together, always learning from each other and always taking on new challenges, such as developing an educational programme on food waste and teaching it to school kids or providing professional catering services.

Sophia & Luana ©TBYW Media Collections

 

Luana’s new position as Chair of TBYW’ Board from 2017 :

Luana left the Netherlands in 2017 to travel Asia in search of knowledge and experience in communal living, self-sufficiency, co-creation and permaculture with the aim of starting her own project in Portugal. In her new position as Chair of TBYW’s Board, Luana now advises the coordinators with her expertise and gets to enjoy how the organisation keeps on growing to new heights, while she is traveling. 

Sophia’ current role as Co-founder and Former Coordinator: 

Sophia Bensch (Co-founder, former Coordinator)

Sophia, for her part, dared to hold her position alone, ensuring continuity for all the activities, consisting of weekly wasteless dinners, markets, workshops, and occasional social caterings, lectures and school programmes. With such frequent activities and our belief in community, we were able to cultivate a space for sharing experiences, best practises, knowledge and world views on food, sustainability and environmental justice. We extended the invitation to engage with these topics to our guests by introducing a second weekly dinner with cultural programming. 

Sophia in action towards food rescue ©TBYW Media Collection

Lara as the General Coordinator from 2019: 

Lara Egbring (General Coordinator)

In search of a partner to eventually pass the torch to, Sophia found Lara, a particularly engaged and connected team member, who is ready to lead our community and stand up for the people and the environment. Since the beginning of 2019 she is officially coordinating TBYW and her fresh ideas are not waiting around.

Her belief in environmental activism steers TBYW in a direction in which empowerment of the people, one of the core values of the foundation, plays a central role in creating more awareness regarding food waste.

Lara (on the right) in action at the Food Market ©TBYW Media Collections

 

 

How the TBYW is growing under our sisterhood? 

Seeing our community at our current location in Amsterdam is steadily growing we want to follow our mission of ‘Revolutionizing the food system one neighborhood at a time’ and spread out to help communities around the city to reach more positive environmental impact, while engaging the people in delicious neighborhood dinners. More specifically, we strive to help communities set up their own TBYW Wasteless Dinner with the aim of them taking over once they are ready. Through this, we hope to encourage citizens to take initiative in the strive towards a more environmentally conscious city. Our end goal is to reduce the food waste one neighborhood at a time, while building up a network of similar organisations and partners. 

Sophia & Lara ©TBYW Media Collections

Now, in February 2019, Sophia is excited to go travelling for 2 months, meeting Luana in the Philippines. When she gets back, Sophia is eager to join Lara’s team and get cracking on a political strategy, advocating for social and environmental justice. 

These three women, Luana, Sophia and Lara, have given rise, shape and direction to Taste Before You Waste over the years. We believe female leadership is vital for a more inclusive and sustainable future. We are sisters in the fight against a wasteful food system, sisters in the fight against capitalism, sisters in the fight against the patriarchy. 

 

Click on the below video to find out how Taste Before You Waste is shaping under our sisterhood:

 

 

 

TBYW at the marches

Leading up to this weekend, with The Women’s March on Saturday, and The Climate March on Sunday, TBYW members have been active organising a number of informative events. On the 18th of February our Cultural Monday dinner welcomed a special guest from The Women’s March organisation for a talk on this year’s theme, and the link between feminism and environmentalism. Following that, a banner making event was held on the 26th of February were people got together armed with paint, paper, and plenty of slogans, such as Don’t be a fossil fool, or The Future is Feminist.

On the 9th of March, TBYW members join The Women’s march at Dam square decked out in aprons and banners. The following day, 10th of March TBYW members and all those who wish to join, will gather at Dokhuis Galerie and then at 12:30 start walking together towards The Climate March at Dam square. 

The call for social change, and the betterment in individuals’ and communities’ living conditions, is what drew TBYW to participate in these marches. Our mission to address and reduce food waste is a single expression of the various areas which require social change. As an organisation we believe in grassroots actions are a definitive means for structural change, which both of these demonstrations embody. Awareness of pressing social and environmental issues are part of our core values, so what better way to raise awareness than to take to the streets?

The Women’s March

We at TBYW will be participating in The Women’s March because of the shared belief that a more equitable and just world is possible, and we have a role in making it so. This year’s march focuses on Intersectionality, (keep reading for more on this theory) which goes beyond gender and holds as one of its core principles, environmental justice. By this it is meant, that each and every individual retains the right to clean water and air, and access to and enjoyment of public lands. Our environment and climate must be protected, and natural resources cannot be exploited for corporate gain or greed – especially at the risk of public safety and health.

©Nynke Vissia

A brief history of the Women’s March;

The Women’s March originated in the United States back in 2017, on the 21st of January, between 3,267,134 and 5,246,670 people attended the largest ever single-day protest in the U.S. The aim of this march was to advocate for policies and legislation regarding human rights in general and other specific issues, relating to gender, health care, reproductive rights, racial equality, LGBTQIA rights, workers’ rights, immigration, environmental justice and freedom of creed. As one of the organiser states “It’s about basic equality for all” (Felsenthal, 2017). This march developed into a global movement, and on the same year over seven million people participated in sister marches worldwide.

This 9th of March, The Women’s March is being held here in Amsterdam. People are invited to gather at Dam square at 12:30 p.m. and then proceed to peacefully march towards Museumplein where the march will conclude at 15:00. This year’s focus is on Intersectionality within the movement, the march aims to protest multiple forms of inequalities which individuals experience based on their particular identities.

©Salmon Design

Intersectionality is a theory which states that individuals experience layered discrimination particular to the multiple minority stratifications they fall under, such as; class, gender, race, age, sexual orientation, religion, and ability. Meaning that for example, the experience of sexism for a young queer woman are different from that of an elder cis-woman, and these differences matter. Intersectionality provides a broader spectrum with which to understand and analyse the multiple forms of oppression, which is essential in addressing it. The term intersectionality was first used in a feminist theory context by theorist Kimberle Crenshaw in her paper “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics” (1989). Though the idea of interlocking discrimination had been discussed in previous feminist work, such as the Grimke sisters (Davis, 1983).

The feminist movement is made up of individuals who fall under multiple identify factors; queer women, black women, poor women, this is to say that individuals are not hyphenated identities but a totality of their plurality (Lorde, 1982). If the movement were to only focus on the gender issue it would erase the layered discrimination they experience. For a social movement to truly emancipate their people it needs to recognise that all struggles are inseparable (Davis, 1983).  Therefore, Intersectionality proposes a space within movements, where individuals belonging to multiple minority stratifications can articulate their story and theorize their experience and analysis of oppression (Crenshaw, 1989).

 

The Climate March

The atmospheric changes that we are presently experiencing are a result of neglect and misuse of our natural environment, the issue of food waste provides a clear example of this. The production of food contributes to 30% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, yet half of the food we produce is thrown out. Besides GHGs, this accounts for the loss of water, energy, and land resources which would have been required for production.  Finally, the decomposing food emits methane, a greenhouse gas that is twenty-one times more potent than carbon dioxide. Considering that climate change will only worsen food access and security, we are responsible for our future generations to act now and hold our leaders accountable for their inaction. Therefore,TBYW only saw it fit to attend the Klimaatmars to bind forces and contribute towards a wider movement towards food security and climate justice. 

On Sunday the 10th of March, the streets of Amsterdam will be filled with environmentalist, nature-lovers, climate activists and all those demanding a more sustainable future. People are to gather on Dam square at 1 p.m. and proceed to walk towards Museumplein where the march will wrap up at 16:00.  This demonstration is an initiative of a collection of local environmental organisations including; Milieudefensie together with FNV, Greenpeace, DeGoedeZaak , Woonbond and Oxfam Novib, calling for immediate climate action from authorities. The march itself is a result of multiple other actions, such as rallies around the Netherlands, information sessions and discussions on fair climate policy, organizing meetups to recruit volunteers, distribute local posters and flyers, even organising group travel to Sunday’s march.

©Eino Sierpe

©Nel Berens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On their event page, the organisers state that the aim of The Climate March is a fair climate policy.  This is meant as a wake-up call to authorities and representatives to step up their responsibilities in mitigating and adapting to climate change, and for big polluters to be held accountable for pollution. Climate change has been debated on a global level for decades, yet reaction from governments has sadly, not matched the urgency of the matter. Now we are left with much less time and a much bigger issue to face.The march wants to show that people are watching their governments and are unimpressed with their insufficient action to address climate change deliberately.A change in the present way of addressing climate change is called for, with more concrete agreements need, creation of green jobs, and the implementation of the Polluter Pays Principle (PPP).

OECD (1997) defines the Polluter Pays Principle as “… the polluter should bear the cost of measures to reduce pollution according to the extent of either the damage done to society or the exceeding of an acceptable level (standard) of pollution.

© EESC glossaries

The principle assumes that an acceptable state of the environment must be maintained, if polluters degrade this state, the victims of pollution are entitled for financial compensation. Impacts of climate change tend to be felt especially by the weakest and most vulnerable, who often have contributed least to changing the global atmosphere. This compensation is then used to reverse the degradation and re-establish an acceptable state of the environment. When polluters, knowingly or unknowingly cause irreversible environmental degradation they bear full responsibility of the impact. In exchanging environmental degradation into financial costs, polluters are bound to internalize environmental costs in their activities. An example is for greenhouse gas emissions to be priced at such a level to avoid dangerous climate change(Dellink R., 2009).

Seeing the connections

The individual issues of food waste, climate justice, and feminist intersectionality, collectively concern the sustainability and equity of our society. We have to come to the realisation that we do not live in a single- issue society. Through our experiences we are not subjected to one issue exclusive of all other, rather we go through life experiencing or witnessing different struggles simultaneously. In broadening our perspective and identifying the interlinkages between environmental, social, and gender issue, we increase opportunities for understanding, and finding alternative solutions.

As a foundation TBYW believes that marching is an important medium to create positive change regarding social and environmental justice. Food is only an accessible entry point (everyone consumes food) for a wider discussion about sustainability and social change. While TBYW strives for empowerment of the people to consume consciously and treat each other equally we also seek to pressure authorities to support local initiatives and prioritise food and gender equality in a structural manner. Therefore we are involved in broader social issues and supportive towards a wider social justice movement. Ultimately the more we actively include everyone in the creation of alternatives, the more successful will the outcome of a sustainable and equitable future, be.

Sources

Adewunmi, B. (2014)

Crenshaw, K. (1989)

Davis, A. Y. (1983)

Dellink Rob, d. E. (2009)

Felsenthal, J. (2017) 

Lorde, A. (1982)

Vercillo, S. (2016)

Kimberlé Crenshaw – On Intersectionality  – keynote – WOW 2016