Nation to Nation

By: Alaina Morman

When I say I traveled around the world and back, I’m not exaggerating. The summer of 2014 will go down as one in which I learned the most about the world and about myself. It’s comical in a way how four months can put four-plus years of higher education to shame. Or rather, I should say, one might think they’ve grasped the workings of the world—until they travel abroad and realize there is so much more to learn by experiencing cultures in situ.

This summer I was fortunate enough to experience the cultures of Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Crow Nation.

My journey began with the Balkans study abroad trip hosted by Ohio University and facilitated by International Peace Park Expeditions. The purpose of the Balkans trip was to study cross border collaboration efforts among Albania, Montenegro, and Kosovo with regards to environmental peacebuilding. Environmental peacebuilding is a frame through which to analyze the environmental predicament of a certain region and assess how strategic moves can be made to aid in the development of peace and stability, rather than the escalation of conflict.

As one of the last biodiversity hotspot in Europe, the tri-country region is teeming with breathtaking landscapes which are home to a host of unique flora and fauna. From these former Soviet bloc nations—a region recovering from a decade old civil war and emerging from over 60 years of communism—stakeholders are finding ways to communicate and support each other and their local communities in order to protect the environment. Entrepreneurship opportunities, many centered around ecotourism, are providing an alternative model for sustainable development and livelihood creation, especially in rural areas that have historically been neglected. From national parks to mountaineering clubs to environmental education non-profits, everyone has a stake in preserving the integrity of the landscape.

The adventure was complemented by vigorous hikes, warm hospitality, and eye-opening experiences. One such experience was seeing numerous historic bunkers and learning how a bunker architect was selected (suffice it to say it was not through a typical application process). I also got to savor many delectable traditional dishes, such as a number of different burek recipes. The food is one main reason I would recommend going and one that keeps me wanting to go back as soon as possible.

Immediately upon landing back in the States, I jumped in my car and headed cross country to Crow Agency in southeastern Montana to begin my Student Conservation Association (SCA) position with Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument (LIBI) as the cultural resources intern. For someone who has been interested in Native American studies since starting college, this was a dream. LIBI is located in the heart of Crow Agency, the area designated by the United States federal government for the Apsáalooke (the word for crow in the traditional language) people. In addition, the Northern Cheyenne reservation is to the northeast of LIBI. Early in my internship I had the opportunity to attend an activist gathering in Northern Cheyenne territory working to raise awareness of a proposed coal mine that would compromise Otter Creek, a sacred site and local water source.

Environmental justice issues like Otter Creek are the focus of my thesis research. I am researching the effectiveness of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) through a postcolonial lens and my target population includes native peoples of North America. The UNDRIP has numerous articles addressing the environmental rights of indigenous peoples, but the jury is still out as to whether or not these articles can be used successfully in remedying environmental injustices. Attending the Northern Cheyenne gathering helped me begin to understand the issues tribes face and establish relationships with people who will be critical to my research.

Among the most exciting events of my internship was the 138th Anniversary of the battle and the rededication of the Indian Memorial. The day, filled with events from sunrise to sunset, is the most important for LIBI and for the Native American tribes which fought in the battle. I designed a site bulletin for the Indian Memorial, and am honored to have had the opportunity to highlight it for such a special event. Additionally, I worked on some interesting projects with LIBI’s museum curator and in-house archeologist. The National Park Service is often undervalued in terms of all that it does for American society—there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to educate and preserve our natural and cultural heritage.

The events of the summer made me realize how much I still have to learn. I implore you to be a lifelong learner, as the path to learning is full of adventure. Whether you go abroad or to the other side of the country, I encourage you to wander outside of your comfort zone and off the beaten path. These trips comprised the first serious travel I have ever done and now I do not want to stop. I hope everyone, at some point in their life, gets bitten by the travel bug.

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Saving the Earth one bicycle lane at a time: Active Transportation and the Environment

By: Jeremiah Asaka

Earlier this week I was privileged to attend Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s 2013 Summit on Sustainability and the Environment. The conference was themed “Building resilience for a climate of change. “

The conference was segmented into three tracks: community, business and local government. All the tracks had sessions going on concurrently in the morning, mid morning and afternoon.

In order to get the best out of the conference I attended three sessions — one from each track. At one of the sessions, titled “Pathway to a Resilient, Energy-Efficient Economy,” I was pleased to see the contribution of the Voinovich School in fronting an energy-efficient-economy paradigm recognized by Dr. Fiksel of Ohio State University.  This recognition was done alongside that of Millennium Initiative and Ohio State University.

However, a discussion on active transportation really caught my attention. Active transportation is defined as any means of transport that involves the active involvement of one’s muscles, such as bike riding and walking.  According one of the panelists at the session titled “Active Transportation Is for Everyone,” active transportation has several advantages including, but not limited to, healthy living, reduced risk of obesity and heart disease.  As a panelist described it, “Walking and biking is a significant part of a healthy community.”

While active transportation is not a new phenomenon, its popularity as a central part of transportation has reduced over the years among most communities in the United States who prefer motorized transportation. The discussion at the conference centered on bringing active transportation back to its past glory. A major starting point suggested by one panelist was having every individual reserve short-distance travel for active transportation. For example, it was suggested that going to the neighborhood grocery store should be done either by biking or walking — depending on which one suits the scenario at hand.

Panelists at the discussion also shared experiences from different areas, mainly Chicago, Columbus, and Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Compared to Columbus, Chicago was said to be way ahead of the game with the city mayor recently mandating the construction and protection of bike and walkways on nearly all major roads within the city. This, one of the participant said, has attracted major blue chip companies like Motorola to the city because of the convenience such options offer to their employees. The City of Calgary was touted as a better model on which to base future active transportation plans for Columbus..

The session also addressed some of the challenges faced by those already engaging in active transportation. Some the challenges include unprotected walkways, limited walkways and bike lanes, and, as one panelist put it, “motorists who don’t know that cyclists don’t belong to the sidewalks.”

If the discussions that I listened to were anything to go by, there is a lot of opportunity in the realm of active transportation and any community that chooses to make active transportation a big part of its culture stands to gain a lot in this era of living with our means.

Lastly, the conference did not conclude without a stab at the climate change debate. I must say it is a great source of hope for me whenever I see such a huge group of Americans gather to discuss climate change as a real threat to their existence and try to find solutions that can augment their resilience.

One of the speakers at a lunchtime panel discussion on climate change ushered conference attendees into the now highly politicized debate. The speaker, Ben Gelber — an NBC4 metereologist — said, “Climate change debate has been politicized. And that’s unfortunate. We are better than that as a society.” In agreement with Mr. Gelber, I think the politicization of any issue is actually the greatest misdeed that we as individuals can ever proffer upon humanity. The politicization of the cause and threat of climate change is costing humanity and life on earth dearly. The sooner we all realize that the better.

Just to give a glimpse of how much cost we are talking about here, another member of the panel, Kevin Reardon of the American Red Cross, had this to say: “One dollar spent on preparedness equals four dollars spent on response.” Imagine that!

We had all better agree that climate change is costly, real and that we have played a part in propagating it. Planning early enough for any eventuality even as we work on mitigating our impacts on the climate is surely the way to go


Dung Beetles and Global Warming

By: Jeremiah Asaka

As a young boy growing up in a livestock-rearing community in the Lake Victoria region, dung beetles fascinated me. I used to wonder why of all the things in this world, rolling cow dung was dung beetles’ favourite hobby. It was only later that I learnt that dung beetles actually feed on dung and use the dung rolls as egg-laying grounds.

And who thought dung beetles could ever even come close to saving the world from the effect of global warming? Well, by the mere fact that they feed on others’ waste, they are already performing a vital ecological role—vital enough to make the world a better place to live in (See an African Dung Beetles at work).

Closely related to this role, a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Helsinki has connected dung beetles to the battle against global warming.

Approximately 2.6 billion people, 40 percent of the world’s population, depend on agriculture for their livelihood. But as far as global warming goes, agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas. The livestock industry alone contributes about a third of global emissions of methane, a gas that makes up half of farming’s contribution and is even more potent than the much-maligned CO2.  

Against such a backdrop, researchers at the University of Helsinki conducted a study to examine the impact of dung beetle activities on the amount of methane produced by decomposing cow dung. They compared the amount of methane released from a dung beetle-free sample and a dung beetle-infested sample. Their study revealed that the test sample that was exposed to dung beetle activity produced 40 percent less methane over a summer period than did the dung beetle-free sample.

The beetles’ magic comes about as they dig and turn the cow dung. Methane is produced in environments with little or no oxygen by bacteria that feast on decomposing organic matter, such as grasses and wood. So as the beetles dig and turn the dung they aerate it and subsequently change conditions so that less methane is produced. The ultimate effect is less methane released into the atmosphere.

The foregoing makes the dung beetles look like instant heroes. But another dimension of the study sheds more light on the reality of the situation. The study further revealed that the presence of the beetles in aging cowpats increased the release of another greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide.  This is counterproductive to say the least. Scientists do not know how counterproductive it is yet, but it will be a great basis on which to design future studies aimed at investigating the effect of dung beetles’ activity on dung green house gas emission.

This beetle story reminds me of an idea I picked in a sustainability class at the Voinovich School last year. The idea was that planet Earth functions as a socioecological system where all components are linked through some sort of a feedback mechanism. As complex as life on Earth may seem, it is all interlinked. The action of the beetles on the cow dung, for example, has an effect on the well-being of human society directly through reduction in the amount of cow dung on fields and, indirectly through the effect their action has on the emission of global warming-causing gasses.

Therefore, the moral of the beetle story is that we need to live on Earth knowing that we share it with others who are not necessarily human. Who our unchecked actions may be deleterious to, generating feedback that ends up jeopardizing our very own peaceful and fulfilling existence here on Earth.

Taking a break

Every week for the past three months or so I have been sharing with you things making news across the world in the environmental management realm.

Today I wish to diverge a little bit and share news of my election last week Saturday as the new President of the Ohio University African Students Union. Considering that I am a student at the Voinovich School, I believe my new position will serve to promote the name and good work of the School not only to other students of Ohio University but even beyond the United States.

In line with the foregoing development, I wish to share a few interesting programs that will be taking place during this week’s Ohio University annual African Cultural Week.

Event: African Language Performance
Description: People will perform pieces in various African languages
Date: Monday 8
Time: 7pm
Venue: Gordy Room 205

Event: African Roundtable
Description: A discussion on the Mali geopolitical situation
Date: Tuesday 9
Time: 6-9pm
Venue: Baker Room 220

Event: African Arts and Games
Date: Wednesday 10
Time: 6-8pm
Venue: Baker Ballroom

Event: African Dance Night
Description: Come dance to African music
Date: Saturday 13
Time: 10pm-2am
Venue: Jacky O’s

I look forward to welcoming members of the Voinovich School at these events.

Around the globe segment resumes next week.

Around the globe: New York warns investors against climate change impacts as China’s environmental costs keep rising

This past week, New York became the first state in the union to warn investors about the dangers of climate change to investments. According to an article published in the New York Times, ‘the administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has started to caution investors that climate change poses a long-term risk to the state’s finances.’

As carried in the article, ‘the warning, which is now appearing in the state’s bond offerings, comes as Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, continues to urge that public officials come to grips with the frequency of extreme weather and to declare that climate change is a reality.

In part the warning notes that recent storms like Hurricane Sandy, “have demonstrated vulnerabilities in the state’s infrastructure, including mass transit systems, power transmission and distribution systems, and other critical lifelines… Significant long-term planning and investment by the federal government, state and municipalities will be needed to adapt existing infrastructure to the risks posed by climate change.”

The state, which is prone to storms because of its coastal location, is in the process of developing several coping mechanisms. For example, the government of Governor Cuomo has proposed a home buyout plan for those living in the flood prone areas. Such a plan will give the state an opportunity to reconsider the development of its coastlines taking possible climate change impacts into account.

Moreover, the state budget that lawmakers are expected to approve this week also includes a provision requiring some gas stations to be wired to accept generators that could be used in the event of a power failure.

While New York is grappling with climate change, on the other side of the Atlantic China is struggling with rising environmental cost attributed to explosive economic growth in the past decades.

According to a recent report of the Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning, which is part of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, ‘the cost of environmental degradation in China was about $230 billion in 2010, or 3.5 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product — three times that in 2004, in local currency terms.’

It is no doubt that China’s explosive economic growth has had enormous impact on the country’s natural resource base. Logic would require that the government reconsider its development model with the aim of accounting for externalities as much as possible. But this has not been the case. In contrast, all forms of pollution have continued to rise. For example, early this year it was reported that air pollution in north China reached record levels, well beyond what Western environmental agencies consider hazardous.

As if that’s not enough, recent reports pointed to the discovery of at least 16,000 dead pigs in rivers that supply drinking water to Shanghai, which has raised concern over water quality. Last week, China Central Television reported that farmers in a village in Henan Province were using wastewater from a paper mill to grow wheat.

In spite of all these impacts, the government is still focused on economic expansion without changing its development model, and it officially estimates that its G.D.P., which was $8.3 trillion in 2012, will grow at a rate of 7.5 percent this year and at an average of 7 percent in the five-year plan that runs to 2015.

I don’t know what the future holds for China, in fact, no one can precisely say what China’s future will be like. But if the country continues in its current development path, then your guess is as good as mine. I know the pollution is a concern to the Chinese government, but it is high time some concrete action was taken to address the rising environmental costs, which is now jeopardizing the quality of ordinary Chinese life.

Around the globe: Achebe’s demise and the days of Forests and Water

Last week we lost one of the World’s greatest storytellers of our time in one great son of Africa, the late literary icon Chinua Achebe of Ogidi village, Eastern Nigeria.

As a true African at heart it would pass as the greatest form of injustice on my part not to dedicate a portion of this segment to the glorification of Achebe’s literary prowess and contribution towards the Africanisation of post-colonial Africa. So allow me to scribble a few lines about one of my greatest sources of literary inspiration who is now no longer with us, but whose work will forever inspire even the future generations of African children and the world at large.

The great Achebe authored over 20 books primarily dedicated to telling the African story through an African eye or as we conventionally call it, an African perspective. And to show how impactful his work was, for a long time – and I want to believe to a large extent even now – if one mentioned the phrase “things fall apart” anywhere across the African continent he/she could, with the highest degree of certainty, be sure that Achebe’s name/book would be the first thing on his/her listener’s mind.

“Things Fall Apart” is by no means Achebe’s greatest literary work. And this is not to say his other books are any literary underdogs. If you want a feel of some real African life and culture, not the one you see or read about in the international media; not the one you’re told by your westernized African colleagues here on campus; but the real deal most of which sadly has now gone with ‘modernization’, I would recommend “Things Fall Apart” for a start, and if you don’t pick the next available Achebe’s book after you’re through with “Things Fall Apart” then drop me a note below this post and I’ll buy you lunch. What I am trying to say is Achebe’s work is magically irresistible. You will always want more and more of it.

At 82, he goes to rest as a true African hero. May his soul rest in peace. Amen!

On to the environmental front, I gathered a few important news tidbits that I wish to share with you guys.

How many of you knew that the World marked the first ever International Day of Forests last week? Well, this happened on Thursday last week and in his message the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon reiterated the importance of forest ecosystem to life on Earth even as he also articulated that there are several threats to this ecosystem as urbanization and large-scale agriculture can exacerbate the rate of forest and biodiversity loss. Key was also the call for the need to intensify forest protection efforts, including by incorporating them into the post-2015 development agenda and the sustainable development goals.

The International Day of Forests came to existence through a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly and is primarily aimed at celebrating and raising awareness on the importance of forests. March 21, according to the resolution, was set aside as the day this event will be marked on an annual basis across the World. It follows the same conceptual framework that informed the formation of such others as World Water Day (March 22) and World Environment Day (June 5) etc.

Hot on the heels of the International Day of Forests, World Water Day was marked last Friday just a day after the former.

Some have argued that water will dominate world natural resource politics by the end of the twenty-first century much as oil dominated the late twentieth century. Whether that would come to pass I leave to time. But what is certain is that, water scarcity is growing across the globe. The reasons for concern are summed up in the Worldwatch Institute’s (WI) Vital Signs report: “Some 1.2 billion people — almost one fifth of the world — live in areas of physical water scarcity, while another 1.6 billion face what can be called economic water shortage.”

Potable water has increasingly become harder to come by especially in developing economies like Sub-Saharan African countries. And even more fundamental, ‘the global water crisis isn’t just about simple supply and demand — it’s an issue related to women’s rights, global development and preventable deaths.’

Finding a lasting solution to the world water crisis requires cooperation at the highest level of governments and amongst other major players including corporations and local communities. It is in recognition of the foregoing fact that ‘cooperation’ was chosen as the theme for this year’s World Water Day celebrations. The impact of the UN’s declaration of 2013 as the international year of water cooperation is as much your concern as it is mine.

Around the Globe: Africa Adaptation Knowledge Network (AAKNet) And A Week Like No Other

By all means this is not an ordinary week. This week President Obama visits Israel, China’s new President visits Russia, and Iran’s supreme leader delivers a speech for Iran’s New Year even as the 10th anniversary of US invasion of Iraq is marked. Amidst all the hustle and bustle, let me take this early opportunity to wish my Iranian friends on campus a happy New Year!

Moving back a little bit to the previous week(s), news from UNEP’s news desk reveals the endorsement of the Africa Adaptation Knowledge Network (AAKNet) as a key tool for creating a coordinated approach to climate change adaptation in the vulnerable continent.

According to UNEP, AAKNet was established in April 2012 – to create a pool of knowledge that would enhance effective adaptation measures across Africa – and aims to support planning and implementation of climate change adaptation through sharing valuable knowledge and experiences with governments, regional authorities, and communities facing similar climate challenges, along the way overcoming such obstacles as fragmentation, lack of alignment of practices, insufficient understanding of end users and overlap.

Africa is particularly susceptible to climate change for a variety of reasons: its reliance on rain-fed agriculture, limited supply of fresh water, widespread poverty and disease, weak institutions, variable access to information and technology, complex disasters and conflicts, and inadequate access to basic services.

It is my considered opinion that with considerable support from development partners and political goodwill on the part of the African governments, AAKNet will prove very resourceful in so far as spurring real action on climate change in the continent is concerned. Through the network, member countries will learn from each other’s experiences by sharing success stories and even learning from hiccups in the process, for example the case of Kenya’s Climate Change Authority Bill that was fronted by the Kenya Climate Change Working Group.

Now on to a slightly different topic, allow me to use this platform to once again call on the international community and other friends of Kenya to continue being even more supportive of the country and its people as they journey through this very delicate yet important moment in the country’s history. And to Kenyans from all walks of life, the onus is on you to ensure that the politicians do not ruin your lives and nation-state with their selfish political interests veiled in words such as democracy and justice. Best wishes my country wo/men!

Around the globe: Kenya’s radio station builds pastoralists’ climate change resilience

Spring break is over and done with. I hope you all had a wonderful break. Now we’ve got only about seven weeks or so to the end of the semester. But while we were away, a few developments took place that I wish to share with you.

First, my fellow country wo/men went for a general election on 4th March 2013 to elect new political leaders who will form the first government of the second Republic of Kenya. The first republic ended on 27th August 2010 when Kenya’s new constitution was promulgated and replaced the independence constitution. Contrary to media reports and international community’s fears, the election was largely peaceful but not free from controversy just like witnessed here in the 2000 Presidential elections – the Florida 2000 case. But unlike the case in the US in 2000, the just concluded elections have left Kenya very polarized along ethnic lines.

As at the time of penning this article, the runner-up was set to file a petition in court challenging the credibility of the elections. This has very little precedence in the country’s history and goes a long way to underscore the gains made in the quest for a democratic society. Being a Kenyan citizen I feel it is my responsibility to share the Kenyan story and call on the world to rally behind the Kenyan people to support a peaceful sail through these very delicate moments in the country’s history.

Now on a slightly different note, the second development, last week Kenya launched a project geared towards enhancing the resilience of pastoral communities to the devastating impacts of climate change that experts say have already began to weigh down on the populace especially those in the marginalized regions of the country. The project is focused on building a radio station that will disseminate weather forecast information to the pastoralists living in Northern Kenya in their local languages. The radio station, known as Badada FM, is expected to reach almost a million people from the Borana, Gabra, Samburu, Somali, Turkana and Rendile communities in northern Kenya.The idea is part of a larger drought early warning system initiative aimed at forewarning pastoralists about imminent drought and floods.

It has been touted as a great step forward from the conventional use of print media and TV, which experts say are not effective, as few people own TVs and most pastoralists are illiterate. The project will additionally build links between pastoralists and researchers, weather experts, policymakers, government officials and aid agencies. It will also map grazing fields and community watering points, and will empower pastoralist communities to better manage and utilize these resources.

Technology now seems to be at the center of climate change adaptation in Africa. One of the most revolutionary technologies in Kenya is the mobile phone technology. It would be interesting to see how the just launched initiative blends in with advances in mobile phone technology in the country to further enhance pastoralists’ resilience. Considering that an increasing number of Kenyans are owning mobile phones, probably the radio station could develop an SMS system that sends messages, preferably audio messages recorded in local languages to reach even a larger audience. Or better still just send the messages to community elders who will in turn communicate them to community members either through word of mouth in public meetings or through emissaries.

Happy spring break from around the globe: Be sure to connect with nature

Isn’t it amazing how time flies? Who imagined we would get to spring break this soon. I know the break comes as a sweet relief for most of you who have been pretty busy working on class assignments or independent research projects.

Well, in the spirit of spring break, I am not going to bore you with a lengthy article detailing how some rural farmer is adapting to Climate Change in a far flung village of Western Kenya or how the Mongolian government has reformed and embraced environmental stewardship or even how Voinovich School is partnering with other stakeholders to advance knowledge in clean energy technology in the country.

Instead, this week I am suggesting a few things that you may pick on to spice up your spring break experience. I am going to table the suggestions in a short while, but before that allow me to assert that you are free to be innovative so that this is personalized and the experience made more memorable and of course enjoyable.

Now to the suggestions, lets see how our minds shift by looking at our energy sources:
• Think about where the electricity you use in your apartment or at your parents’ house comes from (Think in the line of Solar, Natural gas, Coal and not the electricity companies).

• Do a little Internet research, (Research? Jeremiah, it’s spring break, duh? Well, I know this kinda sucks but do it anyway ), on how and where your electricity is produced. Be sure to check the work of non-profits in those regions as well i.e. what is their focus? Etc.

• When all is done, assume your home was in one of these production areas. Would you have viewed the world differently from how you view it now?

Enough on the electricity, weather permitting, how about you and your best friend(s) take a few hours break from the computer games and take a walk in the woods? Be sure to take some amazing pictures and then share with your friends on the social media and post some as comments below this article for us to see as well.

Lets see what you come up with.

Until next week, stay eco-conscious and have a happy Spring break!

Around the globe: Global food wastage, why normalized wastage is the easiest to overlook and most difficult to tackle.

World Environment Day (WED) is marked every year under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). WED celebrations began in 1972 and have grown to become one of the main vehicles through which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and encourages political attention and action. The 2013 theme for the event is Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint. And Mongolia has been selected as the host country for the 5th June 2013 event.

Cautious not to sacrifice the developed nations for their hard and smart work – that has earned them the plenty in terms of food and other consumables – allow me to share a personal experience with you.

Since I moved to the US from Kenya about two years ago, I have gradually grown to love their cuisine. One of my favourites is Jimmy John’s ‘Big John’. On average, I eat it about twice every week because of my awareness of the place of beef production in the Climate Change problem.

However, when the “Think. Eat. Save. Reduce your Foodprint” campaign was launched I decided to be a bit critical of my favourite dish. So I visited Jimmy John’s and placed an order. Then stood there to observe how ‘Big John’ is prepared. I realized the French bread after being slit open, had one side of it cleared of the soft parts on the inside until only the hard crest was left. This process as I later learnt was meant to create room for the stuff that the sandwich gets stuffed with. The soft “insides” were thrown into a trashcan conveniently set below the preparation table. When I probed one of the workers a little, I got a response to the effect that those were waste and would form part of the City’s general waste load.

Well, I doubt if I would be wrong to assume that the average American may likely not recognize the food wastage occurring during the preparation of ‘Big John’ because such food wastage has been normalized here to the extent that it is unperceivable. It has become the new normal. And one may even be accused of being backward if they insist that such wastage be addressed and stopped at best.

I agree that on its own such wastage may have negligible impact. But when we look at the cumulative effect and extrapolate it to a global scale and then bring in the question of the growing human population and increasing inequality, then the impact begins to be perceivable and becomes significantly big.

That is why I believe whereas it is important to look at the larger picture when we talk about addressing global food wastage, the most important area that we also need to look at and that keeps being forgotten is the smaller picture that is more close to most people’s heart, which has the greatest chance of causing a ripple effect. As UNEP/FAO put it, simple actions by consumers and food retailers can dramatically cut the 1.3 billion tonnes of food lost or wasted each year and help shape a sustainable future.

I hope this simple act and words reach the proprietor of Jimmy John’s so that he/she may talk his/her workers into stopping food wastage. They can either ensure the soft “insides” are used to feed other animals or better still they can manually apply pressure on the soft “insides” by pressing them so that space is created while food is saved.

Until next week, stay eco-conscious!