Sunday, March 06, 2005

Wow, I'm Stuffed!

News of a food waste study conducted by Dr. Timothy Jones (University of Arizona) made the media rounds in December of 2004, but I only recently stumbled upon an ABC News interview transcript. It's worth checking out.

When asked why Americans waste so much food, Dr. Jones replies,
"The core reason, and it's all the way through from the farms to the retail industry to the household, is that Americans have lost touch with food. We have been away from the farm for so long that it's not something that we consciously think about, it's just there."
Growing up, I was taught to thoroughly clean my plate and to serve only what I could finish (as a child I broke this second rule often, but we all have a learning curve).

Living in New York City, however, I frequently see people leave meat on the bone and rice on the plate. Sometimes people only pick at their meal, leaving 3/4 of the food to be trashed. Such behavior saddens me deeply. It goes hand-in-hand with our ignorant attitudes about meat consumption. Unfortunately, such perspectives are not limited to urban areas; they've spread out from our cities and infected the country at large.

I've excerpted two powerful quotes from the interview below.
"A classic example of this [sort of waste] is where you'd be having dinner with a household and then they'd have a big plate of spaghetti and meat balls and they're sitting there dumping this into the garbage telling you they don't waste food. If you asked them if they waste food you actually get that they waste less than one half of one percent, when actually they waste about thirty times that amount but they don't know it."

"In fact, you could probably feed most of Europe with what gets lost in the United States...if we simply cut the amount of food loss in this country in would pump as much money into the economy as George Bush's proposed tax cut, so that would be pretty phenomenal...But the ramifications back to the environment would be you would cut pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer and soil depletion down by 10% alone, probably the biggest impact ever - the biggest positive impact - on the environment that you could think of."
If you would like to see the Environmental News Network article from November 2004, click here.

No comments: