A mountain of rotting food
Lately, I’ve been hearing more and more and more about the amount of food that is wasted. The estimate of the amount of waste runs from 33 to 40%. This applies across the board from the farm, to the store, to the consumer.
There are so many issues that this touches, in addition to just the idea of being wasteful. Agriculture is the largest user of water. The majority of grain grown in the United States is used to feed animals to be slaughtered for people to eat . . . or throw away. The amount of manure produced yearly by animal agriculture in the United States is estimated to be 100 times the amount produced yearly by humans in the U.S. To this point, the website GRACE Communications Foundation writes:
The USDA estimates that more than 335 million tons of “dry matter” waste (the portion of waste remaining after water is removed) [Hmm, and where does that water go? ed.] is produced annually on farms in the United States, representing almost a third of the total municipal and industrial waste produced every year.
With so many environmental problems directly linked to agriculture, it’s mind boggling to think of how much they are magnified just because we are throwing so much away.
Examples are all around us:
- undrinkable ground water in parts of MN – agricultural runoff
- the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico – agricultural runoff
- declining populations of Monarchs – exacerbated by the lack of milkweeds due to the use of agricultural herbicides
- declining bird populations – exacerbated by habitat loss
… these are just off the top of my head, I’m sure you could find more. I like to imagine how much these problems could be lessened simply by stopping overproduction.
For a good and really humorous overview of this issue, watch Food Waste with John Oliver. For a more in depth treatment, read Waste by Tristam Stuart. For insight into the freegan diet, go here.
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