Thoughts on greening by reducing food consumption and food wastage
In reading through this section, I was struck by one persistent idea that was not addressed.
At the conclusion of "An Inconvenient Truth" when the credits roll, the makers suggest ways of going green - the usual ones reduce, reuse, recycle. Missing among them in my opinion was food consumption.
How can food consumption be linked to greening the earth? Radical approach you say?
First the facts. The US is the world's largest market and consumer. It harbors 5% of the world's population and consumes 85% of its resources. But the US also wastes vast amounts of resources notably food either at home, work or entertainment.
One common thing we are taught from our childhood is not to waste food through the proverbial hungry children outside the US' stories. As adults we have cast those myths aside in the face of overwhelming reality food is abundant, a concept reinforced by ballooning proportion sizes. We also live in a society where trends are ethereal. Fashion experts point to food consumption as the number one culprit behind burgeoning waistlines and lesser takers for their latest designs.
So, one fashionable Friday night in the town becomes a spiral of bar hopping (a sip here, a sip there), dining (order a full course and waste three quarters) and night cap (a huge tankard of coffee sip some, throw the rest).
Per person, this works out to approximately 7 lbs of unconsumed food per night due to a variety of reasons! Alcohol equals weight gain, food was not up to the mark and the coffee was not roasted right. In a bid to be with the crowd' that one night in the town cost us money, made us waste food.
We have not lived through scarcity of food witnessed during Depression years. Thus, that 7 lbs wasted per person on a Friday night adds to our regular pattern and in a week we have wasted approximately 126 lbs. Now, imagine that per person per day and multiply that with the current US population. And then think about the annual food wastage.
Agricultural practices have become more efficient and it does take lesser resources and time to produce more food per iota of land. But it doesn't necessarily mean lesser energy was consumed to produce that quantity of food.
Now this. Wouldn't you agree that wasted food equals futile expenditure of resources on zero consumption? It thus stands to reason, that automated gas guzzling tractor trailer that tilled hundred hectares of land in early spring which produced that corn that you found inedible on a late fall fashionable Friday on the town amounted to consumption of energy with zero results. This in turn contributes to emission of greenhouse gases from that tractor, from your commute, from degraded food that will be thrown and an increasing violation of the atmosphere.
Nature designed us to optimally utilize its resources. Would you say that this scenario highlights optimal use of resources?
What can you do to curb your food intake?
So, you could be dieting or perhaps allergic. Go for food that you enjoy but in quantities that are optimal for you. Left over food is not great-tasting or healthy. Plus, this is a great way to watch what you consume.
Don't like the taste of food? Take it home and jazz it up with your favorite spice. And viola, that inedible pile has become lip smacking weeknight dinner. Perhaps, you are religious and the restaurant mixed food groups. Offer to buy that dish for another diner. Your child splattering mac and cheese at the walls? Curb their habit until they learn to eat exactly what is put on their plate and your walls will be splatter free. Did Fido throw up on the carpet again? Clean up, compost and you have manure for your garden.
Get creative, curb your food consumption and go green!