WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY 2013

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Haribon Foundation joins the world in celebrating World Environment Day 2013 on June 5 this year with the message: “Think before you eat and help save our environment.”

According to the United Nations Environment Program, 1.3 billion metric tons of food is wasted every year, the same amount produced in the whole of sub?Saharan Africa. Meanwhile, one in every seven people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger.

But at the same time, data on the UNEP website show that global food production occupies 25 percent of all habitable land is responsible for 70 percent of fresh water consumption, 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and 80 percent of deforestation.

These figures give us an occasion to realize that our food choices have a corresponding environmental impact on the climate, on the forests and on marine ecosystems. And this also means that we need to properly manage our resources so that they continue providing for our basic needs.

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Haribon is thus calling on our leaders, both in the current and the forthcoming Congresses, to champion worthwhile causes for the sake of the environment, and show their concrete support. Specifically, we are calling on the Senate to pass the National Land Use Act which is up for third reading this week, when senators hold their last two session days.

The National Land Use Act stands for the proper management of land resources. At its heart is sustainable development applied to the wise use of land. For our part, we hope that the new law, if passed, will assist in the protection of all-natural and restored forests. We also need to provide for the expansion of natural forests by providing buffer zones or restoration areas, and the protection of key biodiversity areas.

Doing all these will help ensure that we get a food-secure future. Because again, issues of biodiversity and land use are linked with food production—food production is the largest single driver of biodiversity loss and land—use change, according to the UNEP. Proper land use should help ensure that what’s intended for agriculture will remain with agriculture, the same with our forests that serve as home for biodiversity and that provide ecosystem services.

Thus, finally, we also need better laws for the protection and rehabilitation of our forests—or one that would prioritize forest protection, restoration and community—based management, and we call on our leaders, fresh from their victories last May, to step up and make good on their promises for the betterment of their constituents. We need to consume food wisely and come out with policies that will protect our food source.

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