According to Love Food Hate Waste “the UK throws away 7 million tonnes of food away every year, half of which was still good to eat”. Such figures are hard to comprehend on the face of it, and might make some actually feel less guilty about not finishing up their leftovers; because well…everybody else is doing the same, what does my waste matter?
However, when viewed alongside figures from the World Food Programme that “795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead an active healthy life”, it puts the reality of food waste in this country in a global context. Most of these people are from developing countries, and the stark contrast between their lack of food and our over-abundance is a reminder of why food waste is symptomatic of far bigger global issues.
Food waste is therefore not just an environmental issue it is a moral issue. Most people in the UK or other developed countries will no doubt identify with pangs of hunger, when their daily life delays the ability to eat for longer than their body cares. But imagine that being a daily or hourly occurrence, spread over not just a few days, but over weeks, months and years. This is even more distressing when processed alongside an awareness of our own food profligacy.
In truth, one can’t really ‘imagine’ that, it can only be understood when lived. But one can imagine how much food they waste a day or week, and then times that by the 64 million odd people who also have access to the UK’s food abundance to realise that in our globalised world. Not to mention the fact that many of these so called developed countries only have such plentiful resources by buying cheap commodities from these developing countries where food waste is only a sick dream or nightmare.
As somebody who is forever questioning and always searching for some form of answer, however limiting it will be, I am already certain that no answer to why this reality exists is morally ok, regardless of what moral compass you live by.
This is exactly why I am getting involved in Zero Waste Week, and have pledged to reduce my own food waste at home. Because I’m sure we are all too aware that a small morsel of food waste may mean nothing in the grander scheme of things to us, but when it is times by 64 million it is a stark reminder that every bit of food could mean life or death for others.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” – Margaret Mead
Tomorrow is the start of Zero Waste Week (5th-9th Sep) an annual campaign started in 2008 by Rachelle Strauss designed at raising awareness about the amount of waste in our world today, with the aim of helping to reduce the scary amount of materials which end up in landfill.
In our ever disposable global culture this is a vitally important campaign which challenges us to ask the question: where does something go when we throw it away?
As somebody who is forever asking questions, I find this campaign deeply inspiring and this year to coincide with launching my blog I will be supporting the campaign by sharing my experiences as I join the zero waste team.
As somebody who often tries to prepare in advance, I often end up buying more food than I really need, and therefore use, resulting in unnecessary waste. My pledge is to use every single last bit of food I buy this week and not throwing a bit away! It may be a small gesture, but every well intended gesture, however small, has the ability to make a difference. Watch this space to learn how I get on.
If you care about the planet, our future and about making a difference please join me and many others in making a pledge to tackle waste in any small way you can! Every action, however small, makes a difference.
Visit the website here to find out more about the campaign, and also a host of great tips and advice for joining the movement.
I recently watched the documentary ‘Unlocking the cage’, a film focusing on the ‘Non-human rights project’ and their quest to promote legal rights for, at least some, non-human animals. The organisation, led by Steven Wise and his team, are shown constructing a calculated campaign to utilise the ambiguity of certain terms used in law to present their legal case. Namely that a number of specific chimps are being held in conditions which are unfit detention, and which they argue is allowed only because nobody has brought forward a case against the practice before on their behalf.
‘It’s a hell of a war, there’s going to be a lot of battles in the war, but it’s time to begin’ Steven Wise
Using the findings from more recent cognitive and behavioural research with non-human animals (such as chimps, elephants and dolphins), which suggest a far higher level of cognition and consciousness than previously thought, they target a small number of chimps who are known to be kept in confined conditions, and build their case based on the ‘habeas corpus law’.
A few weeks back England crashed dismally out of the European Championship in France at the expense of the tournament minnows Iceland who, we were repeatedly informed during the television coverage of the match, had a population of just over 300,000 people, the same as Walsall or something. The consternation in the TV studio from the presenter and pundits seemed mildly elitist. While I was disappointed at England’s exit as a fan, I was also quite proud of Iceland and their team spirit, hard work and confidence. If truth be told Iceland were the better team and deserved to progress.
What was all the more newsworthy about the defeat was the fact that Iceland had never reached a major tournament before. In the build-up to the tournament much was made of the expansion of its format to include more qualifiers.
On Thursday the nation I call my own voted to leave the EU. I was not impressed. I voted to remain and was a strong believer that the case to Vote Leave was weak and misguided. Waking up on Friday morning to the news I felt mildly depressed all day, not just at the vote but also the consequences that followed.
In a few weeks the UK will vote on whether to leave or remain within the European Union, and unsurprisingly the media here are currently saturated with debate, argument and bluster surrounding this vexed and thorny issue. So like a true sheep I join the party!
Driving home from work yesterday I flicked on the radio for some solace to the disaster of a day which I had dreamt my way through, only for my ire to be raised a further notch. A story reported that a female receptionist had been sent home for refusing to wear high heels. You can read and hear more about the story here.
I must confess I am biased in this situation. I absolutely hate high heels. They have never suited me, and to be honest the random looks from strangers made me uncomfortable. Overall though my overriding perceptual experience was “wow these are uncomfortable, why would anybody EVER where them?”
I clearly support the right of anybody to refuse to wear high heels at work or any other time, and think an employer insisting upon it absurd and should not be legal, they are bloody SHOES people…get over it! (Sign the petition here!) But for me it opens a wider issue of why ANYBODY would wear high heels EVER?