food waste: the greed of humanity

I am currently taking a nutrition class that is described as “food studies”. It looks at the harvest of food and how it impacts health. This class has taught me so much in a short five weeks. One of the biggest take aways I had from this class is how ignorance is not bliss. “Ignorance is bliss” has brought us to wreak havoc on our planet, and our own bodies. “Ignorance is bliss” has detached us from a basic human need that was once enjoyed as a social and communal practice. “Ignorance is bliss” has created a generation of people who are unaware that there are different species of tomatoes. So what’s next?

The film that created the most angst in me so far is called Dive! This documentary film talks about one man’s journey of dumpster diving. He finds meat that is still in its packaging, bundles of bananas, cartons of eggs, crates of strawberries piled up in dumpers. All of these items are thrown out due to a nearing expiration date, a few dark spots on a peel, a cracked shell, or one bad berry. This produce can be donated, but often is not because it takes too much effort. This documentary is relatively short, with a running time of 55min. I recommend everyone go see it. It leaves you thinking a lot about food waste and small ways that even we can make a difference; it can really start at our own homes. Small things such as planning out meals so no food goes to waste or educating ourselves on food so we stop throwing out produce that is still good to eat will go a long way. 

All of this led me to think about the greediness of American culture and the wasteful aspects that permeate every corner of our culture, media, social actions, thoughts, and more. This culture is a stark contrast to other cultures of this world and it saddens me. I don’t blame the American people as much as I blame the culture that continues to take over us like a silent monster. Culture is something that is carelessly tossed left and right as an excuse card. “Oh it’s just how the culture is here” we say. “That’s just how I grew up” we claim. “Everyone else thinks like this” we believe. Culture can really become debilitating–to the point we don’t act against the current even when we know it’s wrong. I think waste has become a key example of this aspect of American culture. We waste because we do not see the value in the things we consume. There’s fast food, fast fashion, fast services, fast everything. For pete’s sake we have Amazon delivering anything we want to our doorstep. This kind of culture is so convenient, yet it is fueling a silent monster that continues to embed the idea that “ignorance is bliss” into our brains. How can we fight against this monster and continue to support the innovations of convenience that new technology brings? That is something we should all ponder on and act in order to bring forth change. It is harmful to think that we have to achieve our goals overnight because in this case, slow and steady will win the race.