Sunday, June 2, 2013

What a waste...

My whole life I've always tried to clean my plate - because I think of those in the world who don't have anything to eat, and feel bad throwing it away.  Of course, everyone cites the argument "What are you going to do, send it to them?", and the reality of it is true (and thus absurd that I feel the need to eat it all).

However - I read this in the summer 2013 edition of World Vision's magazine, and it really hit home.

Up to half of all food produced in the world never reaches a plate.  Between 1.3 and 2.2 billion tons of food are wasted each year due to lost harvests, inefficient storage practices, and retail and consumer waste.  In industrialized regions, almost half of the total food squandered - more than 330 million tons of edible food - would be enough to feed the estimated 870 million hungry people in the world.
So no - you can't scrape your leftovers into a carryout carton and mail it to India.  However - we can be smarter about our purchasing/eating habits, and more aware of those in the world around us, and make a difference, indirectly.  Be more aware of waste.  Buy efficiently, consume efficiently, and use those monetary savings that are sure to result to support a cause you believe in - like an organization that feeds the hungry.  It is a shame to waste when there are so many who go hungry.

Living on the most remote wildlife refuge in the lower 48 has made me much more efficient/less wasteful.  When you must drive 4 hours round trip to the grocery, and in the winter only make the trip once/month, you learn to be extremely organized, efficient, and waste nothing.  But, this is a skill I will carry on, even once we're in civilization again.  Making a month's worth of menus, and a grocery list to obtain all the needed ingredients, and being smart about making the fresh meals first and the canned/frozen later, makes sure you use everything before it spoils and waste nothing.  I think the convenience of grocery stores encourages over-buying and thus waste.  Think about the people in the world who do their shopping daily or weekly at the local market, buying everything fresh for that day/week, and using it immediately.  I suspect they waste much less.  We could all adopt a lifestyle more in line with this.