World Environment Day 2021: Restoring our Ecosystems
On June 5th, Pakistan collaborated with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to host this year’s World Environment Day, with the theme centred on ‘ecosystem restoration’. From forest fires to landfill sites, ecosystems across the globe have suffered a great deal due to human acquisitiveness and are in much need of some love and care. Through replanting and rewilding projects, governments and NGOs are taking the necessary steps in launching a decade of ecosystem restoration. Large scale projects, such as the recent efforts by the National Trust to plant blossom trees in our cities, are giving urbanites greater access to nature. Without such initiatives, delicate balances in our environment would be disturbed, and in extreme cases cause desertification and food insecurity. But how can we at home play our part in this ten-year global initiative to restore our ecosystems? Implementing sustainable food habits and supporting like-minded businesses can go a long way to collectively realising this goal.
Cherry Blossom Trees from Pinterest
The statistics of greenhouse gas emissions related to food are alarming, with animal-related products accounting for at least half of those emissions. Switching up animal proteins with vegetable proteins such as tofu is relatively better in reducing emissions. Moreover, it minimises the need for deforested land to raise cattle, who would sadly end up being sold as beef.
The journeys that food takes to finally end up on my kitchen table is something I love discovering whenever I read the packaging of fresh fruit and vegetables. Whether it be celery from Dublin or strawberries from Spain, I am always left thinking how great it would be if I could access local produce. If you live near a farmers market, lucky you! There is something reassuring about knowing local farmers have cared for their produce and protected them from harsh chemicals, aligning with both customer needs and values. In contrast, commercially mass-produced foods normally end up on our plates without being given a link to the production chain. Consumers are not given any reason to question how their food is produced because of how fragmented and dissociated production and consumption have become. They nevertheless still remain two sides of the same coin.
Similar to many people across the successive lockdowns, I have taken my own little stand against unsustainable food practices, by turning to my garden as a sanctuary for ethically produced goods. My family and I have grown spring onions over the last year, and there is nothing comparable to sitting down to a meal, knowing that some of those vegetables are the products of your own two hands and mother nature’s will. Growing vegetables yourself do undoubtedly make them taste more fresh, wholesome and delicious.
The statistics of greenhouse gases emi related to food are alarming, with animal-related products accounting for at least half of those emissions. Switching up animal proteins with vegetable fu is relatively better in reducing emissions. Moreover, it minimises the need for deforested land to raise cattle, who would sadly end up being sold as beef. eef. .
Here is our compost patch, which we use to redirect our household food waste and reduce our carbon footprint. Mixing food peelings, such as banana and orange peels, and even tea bags, into the soil allows it to naturally decompose. The compost can then provide rich nutrients which can be placed in plant pots or different areas of the garden which are in need of some nourishment. It’s amazing how the parts of food we cannot eat or digest can be put back into our mother earth, creating a harmonious relationship between production and consumption.
After buying some mint leaves from the local supermarket, we placed them in water and waited for the stem to show its roots. Once this emerged, we planted the mint into a patch in the garden and voilà, fresh mint was at hand for flavouring water, adding to chai or cous cous.
Finally, here are curry leaves, which we purchased from a local supermarket and use to flavour cooking.
I hope World Environment Day has helped you regain touch with food sustainability, provided a point of reflection or a chance to celebrate with Luvyum your continued efforts in serving our ecosystems.