The clock is ticking on reversing decades of serious damage and we all need to play a part.
Updated: Aug 7, 2019
by Aasim Yahya College dining halls are a breeding ground for food waste. I know because I spent the last year watching students take advantage of buffet style dining commons only to dump the majority of their food on the way out. I too was a part of the problem.
Since joining the White Pony Express team, I’ve not only become more conscious of my personal food waste but have also discovered that wasting less, is an investment in our environment.
Since the release of the IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report stating that we have only 12 years to make massive changes to our global energy infrastructure, the social awareness surrounding climate change has increased dramatically. The clock is ticking on reversing decades of serious damage and WPE is playing their part.
At White Pony Express, the core mission of the Food Rescue program is linking community service partners with the abundance (or surplus) of food all around us so that they can share this with those who do not have enough to eat. While making that connection is at the heart of our purpose, a byproduct of this process makes a positive impact on our environment by the reduction of methane emissions.
When wasted food is processed at a landfill, the decomposition process results in the emission of methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 23 times at potent as carbon dioxide. Greenhouse gases help trap heat within our atmosphere, and subsequently trigger global warming.
At White Pony Express, over 9 million pounds of food have been recovered and distributed throughout our community. Preventing this food from ending up in landfills has not only allowed WPE to serve over 100,000 people in Contra Costa but has also stopped approximately 1,242,000 pounds of greenhouse gases from tainting the atmosphere - calculated under the assumption that 1 pound of wasted food results in 0.1030 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.
While WPE's contribution to reducing greenhouse gases is small, the issue is global and all efforts add up to big changes. Humans have created climate change, but we are also positioned to beat it by understanding how our actions catalyze global warming.
Much of the focus of combating climate change is on burning fossil fuels and deforestation (as it should be). But we must also ask ourselves what can we do right now? Being mindful of how much we personally throw away, making an effort to reduce our own food waste, and supporting organizations like WPE who are working toward these same goals, is a good place to start.
Update: White Pony Express recently received the CalRecycle Grant which will help expand our School Pantry program. This expansion will include adding six new pantries to low-income communities (schools where 80% or more of students are eligible for a free or reduced lunch). As a result, 1,000,000 pounds of fresh, nutritious food will be diverted from landfills, instead becoming high quality, free groceries for children and families to access,