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On Food and Water

by on September 12, 2013

On Food and Water

A good example of how a lot of our environmental ills are connected.


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  1. This article was a particular interest to me because we are currently discussing this topic in my Christianity and Cultures class. In this class, we heavily focus on the fight against poverty and the many ways that we can do things to understand, develop, and help people suffering from hunger. Although my Christianity and Cultures class takes a more religious perspective and this course, obviously, takes a more environmental perspective, they are similar in that they both involve ethics. Why waste food when many people in the world are starving? Why waste food when it is not only morally and economically wrong, but also when it is negatively impacting the environment (which is already vulnerable)? The solutions to these questions seem obvious and easy to fix, however, it most certainly is not if everyone does not contribute to the cause. We, as a population, need to collaborate and stop being so wasteful. We need to understand and acknowledge the impacts our actions have on both society and the environment and make a course of action to help positively make a difference. If we do not make a change and start developing programs to focus on equal food production for consumption our land, water, and climate will take an even bigger hit than it already has and more people will die from starvation.

  2. After reading this article, the last paragraph, mentioning that consumers in richer countries buy a lot more food than they need, and that they pay too close attention to “best by:” dates struck me. In my house, my parents and I have had many conversations about “best by” or “best before” dates on food items. My siblings, mostly my sister, are the type of people where it will be two days after the date on the product and they feel as though it is no longer good and go to through it away. We like to joke with her saying that the date is only a “suggestion” and that it doesn’t really mean that the food has gone bad. I know that there is definitely more people out there with the same problem that my sister does, hence the huge numbers of waste provided in the article. I just think back to all the parties and events that people go to, and all the food that they end up ordering, and all the extra food that they have left over. Where does that all go? Unfortunately wasting is so ingrained into our everyday lives, and people don’t realize how badly it is affecting the earth. I think that there should be strong efforts to educate people on the affects of their waste. Maybe convincing them to cut back on over consuming food, and also being more conscientious about the amount of food they are actually throwing away. I think that people should think before they toss.

  3. Last year in the global cluster, students participated in a “Hunger Banquet”. This “banquet” highlighted the problems Americans and the rest of the world face with food. This brought the problem a lot closer to home. We learned that a good portion of people couldn’t afford enough food to feed their families everyday while a small percentage were given too much food that they couldn’t even finish eating. We demonstrated this difference by being placed into groups that reflected the percentages nationwide. The “rich”, the smallest group wasted about 9 pounds of food while the two smaller groups barely had enough food for one course. This reflects exactly what was said in the article about how in developed countries, individuals are more likely to throw away food. The most shocking part about this article was that wasting food causes CO2 to be released into the environment- a problem already being enhanced by our dependence on fossil fuels.

  4. This article really stood out to me because it truly demonstrates our society’s lack of conservation efforts. The article opens up by stating how we waster over one third of the food produced each year; however, the article then goes on to discuss how we will need to increase food production by 60% by 2050 in order to feed everyone. This demonstrates society’s inability to practically utilize resources; as a result, there is wasted food. Besides food being wasted, it is important to recognize the greater costs imposed on the environment when this happens. In order to grow food, we place a great amount of strain on the environment; for example, cereals and rice have some of the highest carbon footprint of any commodity. The article claims that rice requires large quantities of land and water; consequently, the waste of this food is especially damaging and contributing to environmental degradation. This article was particularly difficult for me to understand; the solution seems so practical- we must find a way to distribute the food more efficiently among the poor and rich. If not, food will go to waste and devastation to the environment will continue from our cultivation of crops. I fully agree with FAO, who believes that if we make better use of the food we have grown, there will be less of a need to increase food production. By lowering food production, we will lessen the harm imposed on the environment; for instance, methane will now longer be released into the air as a result of rice crops. This article highlights the importance of how society must take conservation efforts into their own hands; we must know longer be such great contributers to this waste.

  5. When reading this article, a few different points stood out to me, We discussed similar material in my Ethical Consumerism class last year. It is important to know what goes into making the food that we eat, not just in terms of resources, but in terms of labor as well, As Americans, we are separated from the production of food, it is an out of sight out of mind kind of thing. We continuously buy buy buy based off of what we want, not always what we need. With the globalization of food it has come increasingly difficult to understand where the food we eat comes from and how it is produced. As a supermarket employee myself, I see all kinds of food go to waste each and everyday before it even leaves the shelves. I really was able to connect with the article when it mentioned the “best-by” dates. A socially constructed system that facilitates the waste of foods based off government and corporate regulations. Although the solution seems simple, clearly it is a complicated problem that has many factors to it. On an individual level, I believe that in being more conscious consumers, we can begin to aid the issue, but this is by no means a solution.

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