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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hunger and waste

Current economic conditions have made us hyper-aware of waste. The idea that we must be vigilant against carelessness and extravagance is suddenly de rigeur.

The flipside of extravagance is hunger, pure and simple. The truly hungry person is a model of efficiency: all of his efforts are channeled into preventing starvation. We know that approximately 1.2 billion people live this way most of the time.

Consider waste again:

In the United Kingdom, a shocking 30-40% of all food is never eaten;

In the last decade the amount of food British people threw into the bin went up by 15%;

Overall, £20 billion (approximately $38 billion US dollars) worth of food is thrown away, every year.

In the US 40-50% of all food ready for harvest never gets eaten;

The impacts of this waste is not just financial. Environmentally this leads to:

Wasteful use of chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides;

More fuel used for transportation;

More rotting food, creating more methane — one of the most harmful greenhouse gases that contributes to climate change.


While we can and should all be more sensitive to waste in our lives—from our offices to the dinner table--- there is a way to address the situation that the truly hungry find themselves in. Invest in the ability of the poorest of the poor to feed themselves.

Information sourced from Globalissues.org

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