According to Pope John Paul II, “The earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.” When we think about sustainability, most people in America think about energy resources being depleted or not enough water supply. I like many others, never stop to think that the single greatest threat to our sustainability comes from the growing problem of food waste. Elizabeth Royte a conservationist and author for National Geographic says that in America we waste more than 30 percent of our food which is valued at $162 billion dollars annually (Royte 2).
This food waste attributes to the destruction of our lands, increase of methane gas released into our atmosphere and loss of resources used to produce the food. While there are many reasons to America’s growing contribution to food waste, the biggest causes to this problem are essentially peoples lack knowledge, non-universal food labels and supermarkets/farmers focusing on making money instead of repurposing efforts. The best solution to managing our food waste is to implement laws to prohibit everyone from wasting at every level and to educate people. If the food waste crisis is not solved soon, we may not be able to sustain life on this planet. One of the biggest causes of why consumers waste so much is because they are confused by the labels on the food we eat. Royte said that “The Natural Resources Defense Council is urging the U.S. government to standardize the confusing jumble of “sell by,” “best by,” and “use by” dates which leads to unnecessary refrigerator purges.”
Most consumers are uneducated on these food labels which give way to the thought that the food they have is not edible when this is likely not the case. Ultimately this causes consumers to throw out perfectly edible food from this confusion which ends up in our overused landfills. One of the most eye-opening details behind this increase in food waste came from the movie Wasted! The Story of Food Waste directed by Anna Chai a spokesperson interviewed several random people regarding the decomposition life of a single head of lettuce. Thereafter they were asked to guess how long it would take for the lettuce to fully decompose in a landfill? The interviewers said it would take days, weeks or even months as naturally this assumption came from their own observations since lettuce is typically the first thing to spoil in most household refrigerators. It was declared in the movie that if the decomposing agents were not present when the lettuce is compacted under trash, it could take up to 25 years to fully decompose. In addition, the effect behind food waste that ends up in landfills is the significant rises in methane gas (Wasted). The movie states that when food is not properly decomposed, the waste generates methane gas. They state that methane gas is 23 times more potent than carbon monoxide when it comes to greenhouse gases destroying our atmosphere. With the current rise in population, we can conservatively project that there will be more food wasted which is exponentially problematic for our environment every day. The other tier to the problem on food waste comes from supermarkets and farmers that care more about making money and the sale of food then implementing a plan of repurposing efforts. In the movie Wasted!, Tristam Stuart, an award-winning author, and activist of food waste states that supermarkets discard food on a regular basis, and most of the food is perfectly edible and far beyond expiration. Stuart had gone down to supermarkets where he witnessed them secretly hiding the discarded food in locked bins behind the stores. It is of Stuart’s opinion that these supermarkets seemed ashamed of the abundance of food that is wasted.
It is my opinion that the supermarkets do this because consumers look at expiration dates and food sell’s more often when their expiration dates are seen with later dates. Furthermore, the movie showed viewers how farmers leave crops out to die out and not picked for harvest so that the price for these crops won’t be driven down by overabundance. These cheap tactics by supermarkets and farmers are used to make sure that they keep their prices and sales of each food product high. Moreover, the government doesn’t hold these farmers and supermarkets accountable for the waste they produce. This causes only further detriment to our environment with more food waste ending up in our landfills. One of the most solid solutions to tackling the problem of food waste is to implement new laws that inhibit those from wasting at every level and in some case rewarding those who waste less. In Wasted!, Anthony Bourdain a celebrity chef, author, and travel documentarian spoke about how in Korea the government imposes heavy fines on their citizens if they create an abundance of food waste or when they do not properly dispose of food in appropriate bins. In addition, Korea weighs their food waste to make sure they are not over their allocated amount. The movie states that presently Korea has completely eliminated all food waste going into their landfills (Wasted). These laws can be easily implemented in America to tackle the food waste crisis. Moreover, the government could implement a tax deduction law to reward those who are wasting less food. The best solution to the food waste problem came from a broadcast for the National Public Radio (NPR) show called Morning Edition, correspondent, Allison Aubrey speaks with Tom Vilsack the U.S.
Agriculture Secretary and says that we need to educate Americans on food waste. Vilsack and Aubrey explain to their radio listeners the government wants to start a grass root program, like how “Litter” was seen in the 60’s and 70’s and now it is seen as culturally unacceptable. (Aubrey 2) First, they state they would like to educate kids at a young age to start thinking about food waste so that we can have a generation of people understand the risk and impacts on the potential harm of our environment. Visalack says the goal is to get Americans to reduce food waste by 50 percent by the year 2030. In conclusion, we must get serious about food waste in America. We only have a finite amount of resources and with our growing population and we need to make appropriate decision to tackle the issue of food waste. The solutions I presented before us, can only help keep supermarkets and farmers accountable for what they are throwing out. It may even help these businesses implement other solutions to stop this crisis. In addition, the government needs to step up their involvement by helping educate people so that we can make food waste a culturally unacceptable issue. If we do not find a solution soon, we may find that life on this planet will not be sustainable should the food waste problem get out of hand.
We will send an essay sample to you in 2 Hours. If you need help faster you can always use our custom writing service.Get help with my paper