Rising global temperatures are negatively impacting natural systems; large-scale weather phenomena such as droughts, super storms and bushfires are among some of the extreme weather events occurring with greater frequency. From Australia’s unprecedented bushfires, California’s wildfires right through to rising sea levels threatening the lives of people who call the Pacific Islands home, it is clear that no country is immune to the effects of a changing climate.
Sadly, the most vulnerable people in developing countries such as those in Africa and Asia will bear the brunt of these impacts. The island nation of the Philippines, home to roughly 106 million people, was hit by five powerful super cyclones in the span of just one month. The largest and most populous island in the Philippines, Luzon island, was hit hardest; extreme flooding displacing millions of people, destroying buildings and property and leaving many families with no homes or jobs to return to.
And while the country’s carbon emissions are miniscule compared to other high-emitting countries such as the United States, China and India, the devastating impacts of climate change have forced local NGOs, environmental charities, businesses and conscious individuals with no other option but to come up with quicker, effective solutions, put pressure on governments to enact climate policies and raise public awareness of these crucial issues.
Environmental charity WWF Philippines together with food waste composting company Green Space teamed up to launch the Sustainable Diner Project addressing food loss, food insecurity, encouraging the reduction of food waste and tackling the hunger epidemic. Recently they announced a composting subscription service via their mobile app called SoilMate.
While the Sustainable Diner Project aims to bring stakeholders such as the government, restaurants and the dining public into the fold, the efforts to integrate sustainable production and consumption into the country’s national and local policies are painstakingly slow.
Globally, the food sector is responsible for 75% of global deforestation, an issue further depleting the soil’s nutrients and worsening the climate crisis. One of the best solutions being offered by scientists and experts is the concept of regenerative agriculture which aims to put carbon back into the ground by way of protecting and nourishing the soil via cover crops, applying natural soil conditioning, compost and reducing use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
In Metro Manila alone, about 800,000 tonnes of food end up in landfill every year. According to the UN, if food waste were a country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter. If global food waste and the problems of the agricultural sector could be better managed and improved through regenerative agriculture, the world would stand a better chance of achieving the goals set out in the Paris Agreement and limit global warming to under 1.5 degrees Celsius.
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For World Soil Day, observed annually on December 5, the WWF Philippines organized a Food for the Soil: Be a SoilMate webinar to bring awareness to soil health and introduce its IT solution, the SoilMate app, to help tackle the country’s food waste problems.
This mobile app, which is scheduled to launch in 2021, connects businesses in the food sector to food composting services through Green Space’s Bokashi composting amenities. The goal is to prevent a higher percentage of the nation’s daily food waste from ending up in landfills so as to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and improve understanding of soil health and regenerative agricultural practices.
Some of the SoilMate app’s main features are:
- serves as a decision-making guide for businesses seeking evidence-based solutions on resource management and waste reduction;
- uses readily available technology to promote an easy-access circular economy;
- provides real-time monitoring of waste diversion; and
- supports social inclusion, local livelihoods and cleaner food production.
What is even better is that users don’t need to be in the food industry to participate. Green Space has developed a pick-up and delivery service for people and businesses that don’t have space to compost their food scraps and waste.
Here’s how the services works: after you’ve filled your Bokashi bucket with 10kg of food scraps and waste and applying the bokashi composting technique (learn more here), just book a bucket exchange for the Green Space riders to pick your bucket up and exchange it for a new and empty one. These buckets will be delivered to to Green Space’s composting site known as Luntiang Bakuran located in Plaridel, Bulacan and eventually making its way to the rapid composting facilities in Quezon City, Antipolo and Makati City.
So, if you’re committing to practical sustainability whilst creating social and environmental change, be a soil mate and compost your food scraps to ensure raw materials are available for regenerative agriculture in the Philippines. Subscribe to their composting services or apply regenerative agricultural practices in your home. The solution to slowing down the rate of climate change is under your feet and in your hands.
To learn more about the project and app, click here.
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Cover image credit: Kiss the Ground.