21. April 2021

Earth Day 2021: How environmental protection and our food are connected

International Earth Day is celebrated on April 22nd under the motto "Restore our Earth".

Earth Day has been taking place at the end of April for 51 years. Environmental protection is important every day of the year. But April 22nd is used as a day of action to specifically point out a more environmentally conscious and sustainable way of life. This year, the actions under the motto "Restore our Earth" are about the restoration of destroyed ecosystems, the reforestation of woodlands, the renaturation of marshlands and swamps or innovations in the field of green technologies.

Many campaigns, workshops and panel discussions in 2021 - you've probably guessed it already - will take place online. On Earthday.org you can follow a live event where people from politics, grassroots activism, non-profit organizations, art, music and many other areas come together to exchange ideas for a more sustainable world.

Earth Day in Germany in 2021 will focus on the topic of sustainable food.

The German Committee e.V. on Earth Day International was founded in 1994 as a non-profit, independent environmental initiative. The motto of this initiative for Earth Day 2021 is: "Every bite counts. Protect what you eat - protect our earth. Live consciously and sustainably. Organic, regional, fair." Quite a long motto, but the topic of sustainable food is also a big topic after all. For all of us who are not completely self-sufficient, it is usually not that easy to say where the food that we consume every day is grown, bred, fished, transported, stored and processed. How and what we eat has far-reaching effects on our climate. Let's use Earth Day 2021 to give some thought to our food:

Sustainable nutrition means that our food has as little negative impact on the environment as possible and that it helps both present and future generations to lead healthy lives. So it's not just about what we eat, but also about where our food comes from, how it was made and how it is sold.

Shop consciously and avoid packaging waste

Every person in Germany produces an average of over 220kg of packaging waste per year. When you look into your trash can, you might notice that most packaging is food packaging. In many cases, buying more sustainably is not that difficult. For example, use loose fruits and vegetables instead of those wrapped in plastic. Opt for the yogurt in a deposit jar instead of the one in a plastic cup. If you have your own bag or backpack with you, you also save the tote bags that you would otherwise have to buy new every time.

Also, when shopping, make sure you only buy what you will actually use. According to figures from the Federal Ministry of Nutrition and Agriculture, every person in Germany throws away an average of at least 55 kilos of food per year. Overall, only half of all food produced is actually eaten. Sustainable nutrition therefore also includes not wasting food. Find more information on how to avoid rubbish here.

Find local and regional products

To buy food more sustainably, it is worth going to the local weekly market. Or go shopping directly on the farm. On the one hand, you support local traders and farmers instead of large corporations. On the other hand, the transport routes for regional food are much shorter, which saves CO2 emissions. In many cases it is also healthier; local fruit and vegetables usually have fewer pesticide residues than imported food.

At local markets or directly on the farm you will mainly find seasonal products, especially fruit and vegetables that are ripe and can be harvested in the respective season. In Germany, for example, this means that you cannot buy fresh blueberries at any time of the year just because you feel like it. But let's be honest - is your need for it really so great that you absolutely have to eat blueberries flown in from South America in February ...? In NABU's seasonal calendar, you can see which fruits and vegetables are in season in Germany and when.

Use plant-based instead of animal-based foods

If you have already been to one of our workcamps or trainings, the topic of sustainable nutrition is sure to be familiar to you. As far as possible, we use organic, seasonal and regional or fairly produced food in our training courses. The catering at IBG seminars is largely vegan, i.e. without any animal ingredients. So we do almost completely without milk, eggs, cheese or butter. What has never been part of IBG recipes for several years: meat. Read here why we use plant-based foods instead of meat and what that has to do with environmental protection.

We consciously cook vegetarian and, to a large extent, vegan at events and seminars, not because we want to prohibit you from consuming meat, but because we want to encourage more conscious consumption. Also, because with vegan food we can usually take very different eating habits and / or allergies into account. And of course, because we know a lot of really good vegan recipes.

Exchange your ideas with us!

What tips do you have about sustainable nutrition or sustainable living? IBG has had a working group on sustainability since 2017. The group is a place for everyone who would like to exchange ideas on the topic of sustainability or are looking for suggestions and tips for more sustainable living and working. You can find more information about sustainability at IBG on this page.