“DON’T WASTE OUR FUTURE! Building a European youth alliance against food waste and for new sustainable models of development and consumption” is a Development Education and Awareness project directed at European young people and local authorities to raise awareness of topics about food waste and the right to food, in order to encourage young people towards more responsible models of consumption and development.
Financed by the European Union, the project will last two years and will involve approximately 80 primary and secondary schools across 7 European Countries, thus directly reaching approximately 2800 students, 160 teachers, and 40 municipalities.
The idea for the project began with the realisation that about 1/3 of global food production is wasted every year; that is, 1.3 billion tonnes of food based on data from the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation, and the knowledge that this situation may even worsen in the future. According to the United Nations, the world population will exceed 9 billion human inhabitants in 2050; so then, food production will have to increase by 70% in order to satisfy global food needs.
It is a common belief that people die for hunger because our system doesn’t produce enough food to feed the hole Planet; indeed we already produce adequate calories to feed every single man in the Earth.
In this context, Food Wastage is a paradox and one of the social, economical and ecological worst aberration vexing the Planet. While 805 millions of people are affected by hunger and malnutrition,1/3 of foodstuffs is abandoned in the fields or thrown away in the wastebasket: that is really unacceptable.
The DON’T WASTE OUR FUTURE project founds itself on the awareness that the huge quantity of food wasted every year is above all a concrete obstacle to the global fight against hunger and poverty, both in countries afflicted by serious development problems and inside Europe, while the progressive global population increase asks for more and more food.
Since hunger is not the result of food lack but of iniquity, and food security is fulfilled when “all people, at all times, have physical, economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary need”1, food waste jeopardizes the right to food and the guarantee of adequate nutrition for all.
Furthermore, food waste also causes the avoidable and useless waste of natural resources: during the food chain value, soil, water and energy are wasted and they are becoming increasingly scarce. Abandoned wasted food produces CO2, which deeply contributes to the Earth global warming.
Climate change effects, increasing food demand linked to demographic pressure and unsustainable usage of available resources are pushing us towards a critical situation beyond which the consequences for society and the environment may become irreversible.
These problems are universal and interconnected, and they can only be addressed by the cooperative engagement of public, private and associated stakeholders, together with all citizens, notably including all young people across the globe.
The project actually aims to affect both individual changes, promoting responsible and aware consumer and citizens, and social changes, building alliance and engagement between students and Local Authorities, in order to achieve concrete actions in the hole community.
1 FAO (1996), The State of Food and Agriculture, Rome.
The DON’T WASTE OUR FUTURE project will focus mainly on food waste prevention and reduction in Europe; in addition to the production, distribution, transformation and selling phases.
A key element of the problem emerges from current patterns of consumption and consumer behaviours, often caused by a lack of knowledge and understanding of the underlying issues.
The prevention and reduction of food waste is a challenge that concerns every one of us, and this project is designed to contribute in a concrete manner to the defence of our Planet and all our futures.
The main objective of DONT WASTE OUR FUTURE is to improve critical understanding, responsibility and agency of young European citizens in relation to sustainable development at a local and global level.
In particular, the project aims to increase awareness among young Europeans regarding food waste, responsible consumption, and the connection with the global right to food in order to make them responsible agents of change.
Furthermore, the project commits to building a European alliance of students, schools and local authorities against food waste, and to support new development models and sustainable life styles that will be put into effect through the joint implementation of a manifesto for action: “THE DON’T WASTE OUR FUTURE CHARTER 2015 – A joint European Manifesto of Young People and Local Authorities to promote Food Waste Reduction and the global Right to Food”.
At the same time, the project aims to raise awareness among Local Authorities and several public, private and key stakeholders in the participating territories about the topic of food waste, and the role that they must play in the sphere of their respective competences, and in the creation, more generally, of sustainable human development; beginning locally but thinking globally.
More broadly, the project has a wider objective of promoting young people’s participation in public life and increasing their democratic engagement with local institutions, particularly with the municipalities and local authorities to which they belong.