One of the most common concerns I hear my peers voice about climate change is their inability to make an impact. Climate change is an issue that doesn’t have borders; it affects everyone around the world, and negotiations concerning it take place at local, regional, national, and international levels. So what could anyone possibly do at an individual level that could be potent enough to actually have an effect on the climate?

My response is always this: everyone eats food. We are all consumers, and most of us are guilty of wasting food on occasion. When I was at COP23 last month, I learned so much about the impact of the agricultural industry on climate, and in contrast, the impacts of climate on the agricultural industry. For me, a key takeaway of the conference was that food and climate are more interconnected than I had previously thought.

Panelists at COP23 listen to Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, the Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa, speak about how food security and malnutrition are affecting her country.

This newfound understanding was especially timely, given the unprecedented agriculture decisions made at COP. According to the decision, subsidiary bodies of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will research climate change’s effects on agriculture in order to create specific, action-oriented plans to announce in 3 years, at the COP26 negotiations.

If we do not slow down the current rate of climate change, our planet will soon be plagued by increasing levels of food insecurity and malnutrition. But we can stop this by decreasing our food waste through easy steps.  Storing food correctly, planning meals ahead of time, composting, and viewing expiration dates as guidelines rather than strict deadlines are all easy ways for us to contribute

Even though many people do not always think about the impact that they have when they eat a meat dish for dinner or choose to throw leftovers into the landfill rather than saving them or composting them, I believe this is a standard that needs to change. Though one individual’s dietary choices may not have an extreme influence on the climate, his or her choices may impact someone else, whose choices will, in turn, impact someone else. With one small change, you can create an influx of attitude shifts in your community.

I wrote this white paper and created these infographics in an effort to ignite change within my community and to help others understand these connections between food and climate. Reducing food waste is something that I feel very passionately about, and I hope that I can convince others to feel the same. Even as individuals, we can all have an impact.

Finally, see the infographics I made to learn more about climate change, food and nutrition security, and food waste below:  

Download a copy of my white paper by clicking here: Climate Change & Food Security- Furthering Inequalities and Harming Health.

Climate Change & Food Security- Furthering Inequalities and Harming Health

To learn more:

Read more about my experiences at COP23 through my blog posts on the stories I heard at the conference and my reaction to protests I saw while I was there!

In the white paper, I also suggest agroecology as a potential adaptation strategy for decreased food security and increased malnutrition. For Hybrid Vigor, an interdisciplinary science magazine at Emory, I wrote an article about the roles agroecology can play in food production, which you can download here to learn more. In the paper, I also address how reduction of food waste can be both a mitigative and adaptive strategy to combat climate change, which you can read more about here

See the transcript for my podcast here:

“Climate Change & Food Security_ Furthering Inequalities and Harming Health” Podcast Script

These videos, which were created at COP23, does a great job of explaining how agriculture and reduction of food waste are appropriate strategies for dealing with the issue of climate change. 

Featured Photo: Frutas e Vegetais / Olearys / Creative Commons