A Wildlife Article from All-Creatures.org

How Food Waste Hurts Wildlife

From Take Extinction Off Your Plate / Center for Biological Diversity
July 2024

The supersized, meat- and dairy-heavy American diet is one of the greatest threats to biodiversity on the planet.

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Food waste doesn’t just affect the 1 in 7 Americans who go hungry — wasting food also wastes natural resources that native, often endangered wildlife need to survive.

In fact, the supersized, meat- and dairy-heavy American diet is one of the greatest threats to biodiversity on the planet.

And it is no small matter: Americans waste 40 percent of the food we produce — including all the greenhouse gases, air and water pollution and habitat loss that went into producing that food.

Deadly Dining: Food waste attracts bears and other wildlife, which often has lethal consequences. The more we throw out, the more wildlife come to rely on the buffet of edible food in our trash cans, drawing them closer to the places where people live. This leads to human-wildlife encounters that can result in damaged property or injury as the animals search for new food sources. In most cases the large animals involved in these encounters — or even those that just get too comfortable among humans — are considered a threat and killed.

Predator Potluck: There are 1.6 billion tons of food left in fields, sent to landfills or otherwise thrown away around the world, plus 7 million tons of fishery discards dumped back into the sea. This newly introduced food source can throw off the balance of ecosystems by allowing some species populations to surge. For example, a recent study found that fish-eating birds like western gulls around Monterey Bay have been feasting on fishery discards and landfill garbage, and the resulting increase in their population is contributing to the decline of steelhead trout. A marine ecologist at the University of California at Santa Cruz estimates that as many as 30% of juvenile steelhead trout are falling to prey to the booming gull population.


Please read and share this PDF HOW FOOD WASTE HURTS WILDLIFE, including:

  • Climate change
  • Habitat
  • Water
  • Pesticides
  • Phosphates
  • Bycatch
  • Meat and Dairy
  • Landfills


Posted on All-Creatures.org: July 8, 2024
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