There are no two ways about, 2020 has been a year that has changed the way that the global economy operates forever. In a year where more and more businesses took an oath to create a global environment that prioritised sustainability over bottom-line savings, we have seen a transformation of the public consciousness.
After decades of using our natural resources with little consideration for the next generation, the outcomes of those reckless behaviours are starting to become crystal clear, and we are seeing a change in the public consciousness. So, in a global economy that is changing at a rapid rate, what is the answer?
In simple terms, bioeconomy is the answer and solution to many of the environmental pitfalls that we have seen over the last few decades. Essentially, this practice means creating a bioeconomy that is restorative and boosts the economy in a way that preserves our natural resources for the next generation.
So, looking into 2021 as the global economy continues to recover and evolve because of the global pandemic, here is a look at the way that bioeconomy is helping to improve food production, waste disposal, and enhance personal and community nutrition.
- Reduce Food Waste
Reducing food waste has been at the centre of public consciousness for the better part of two decades. In particular, the United Nations has been forceful in pushing the view the food wastage could lead to the complete eradication of global hunger and reduce poverty and starvation.
The new approach of bioeconomy put the responsibility on the individual and businesses to make informed decisions when it comes to food wastage. With growing populations and exploding mega cities, cutting down on food wastage also plays an essential role in reducing the amount of rubbish that is accumulated. According to a leading Rubbish Removal Company, food wastage is one of the leading contributors to green waste globally. In an economy that prioritises the use of sustainable food practices, we could see the amount of wastage significantly reduced.
- Plastic Continues to Plague Us
The global effort to cut down on plastic usage over the last five years has been noticeable. In Australia, supermarkets have eliminated free plastic bag usage and, in doing so, reduced their total plastic bag consumption by more than 92%. By charging customers a small, nominal fee to acquire a plastic bag, the number of bags that are used has gone down significantly and customers and increasingly bringing reusable bags from home to reduce cost and waste.
One of the major goals of sustainable bioeconomy is to increase the use of materials that are produced using sustainable materials. As such, plastic falls right in the firing line. Not only are plastic items especially hard to dispose of, but there is also a pervasive number of plastic products that used in agri-food systems globally.
- Reducing Meat Consumption
It takes a little over 10,000 litres of water to raise a cow up to the age when it is killed for human consumption. A comparable amount of vegan or vegetarian protein sources uses less than 1/10th the same amount of water to yield a similar dietary beneficial intake.
In addition to reducing the impact on the global environment, diversification of dietary sources also improves overall health and boosts personal nutrition. In many agricultural communities, people rely on crops to be harvested to feed. In times where there are no crops, there are no food sources for locals. Boosting the promotion of lesser-known food sources outside of the traditional meat, dairy and wheat can also mean year-round nutrition for less fortunate communities around the globe.
- Land Restoration
Many communities rely on the well-being of their livestock for food and commerce in communities around the world. This isn't just in smaller, third-world countries, this also goes for communities in rural areas where livestock is the primary source of trade.
Sustainable livestock and land management practices are set to change the way that land is cared for in 2021 and beyond. Many local government initiatives are looking at ways to educate farmers about the financial benefits of land restoration and ensuring that the land that they are farming on is treated with respect to reduce ongoing expenses and ensure that it can be used for generations to come.
Achieving a sustainable bioeconomy that can be enjoyed by the current generation and for generations to come does not happen overnight. However, the steps that are taken now will have a big impact on the starting point of the next generation. To create an environment that allows the next generation to nurture the work of this generation, the push needs to start now. The events of 2020 and the ongoing global pandemic will only continue to reinforce the need for a global bioeconomy.