When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

EL ESPECTADOR

Our Food … Is In The Trash

Despite huge amounts of food still being wasted every day in the world, initiatives in various countries demonstrate growing public awareness about this modern-day abomination.

Ants on a doughnut.
Ants on a doughnut.
Ignacio Zuleta

-OpEd-

BOGOTÁ The amounts of food discarded every day could feed the world's hungry 10 times over, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization has observed.

Three years ago I reflected on the ghastly figures concerning this tragic waste. I lived for 12 years in a monastery where I became accustomed to seeing monks utilize virtually every bit of food. They would find something to do with vegetable skin and inedible bits.

The impact of wasting food is not just moral, financial or social. It's also environmental, given the amount of water and fertilizers used to produce it, the fuel burned in trash collection and the greenhouse gases these processes generate, which in turn foment more poverty.

The scandal is that the planet can evidently produce food for everyone, but our depraved consumer culture and typical ignorance mean that our food is instead being discarded in trash bags or being left to rot in fields because, for one example, the potatoes don't meet size standards. It's certainly a sin.

The figures here haven't changed much in recent years, but fortunately there does seem to be a fledgling process of reflection. People are speaking about effectively fighting food waste in many parts of the world. The French have banned markets from dumping food that's approaching its expired date or that doesn't meet some unrealistic aesthetic standard.

French film director Agnès Varda made two beautiful documentaries about "gleaners," whether they're dumpster divers or junk scavengers. In the Book of Leviticus, the Hebrews are told not to pick fallen harvest fruit, which should be left to the poor and hungry travelers.

[rebelmouse-image 27089328 alt="""" original_size="500x375" expand=1]

Still-life with dumpster dive. Photo: Starr

In the past 15 years, many groups have emerged and are contributing to better public awareness about the problem: chefs who use ingredients discarded for aesthetic or other irrational reasons, young people and adults who live off what they find, or supermarkets that no longer throw out food. People are starting to talk about the size of packaging, and packaging itself, while "solidarity fridges" are emerging, allowing people who need leftover food items to help themselves.

There has also been a growing number of food banks that receive donations or buy products that are about to expire to distribute to the needy. There is an organized network of these banks in Colombia. But individuals continue to throw out about half of what they buy.

We all must understand the need to safeguard food, to draw up more modest grocery lists, to eat up our purchases and accept "flawed" fruit and vegetables. We must monitor and gauge what we throw out, use the edible bits of our fruit and vegetables, and establish habits that will help curb humanity's colossal food waste.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Society

A Closer Look At "The French Roe" And The State Of Abortion Rights In France

In 1972, Marie-Claire Chevalier's trial paved the way for the legalization of abortion in France, much like Roe v. Wade did in the U.S. soon after. But as the Supreme Court overturned this landmark decision on the other side of the Atlantic, where do abortion rights now stand in France?

Lawyer Gisèle Halimi accompanies Marie-Claire Chevalier at the Bobigny trial in 1972.

Lila Paulou

PARIS — When Marie-Claire Chevalier died in January, French newspapers described her role in the struggle for abortion rights as an important part of what’s become the rather distant past. Yet since the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States, Chevalier’s story has returned to the present tense.

A high school student in 1971, Chevalier was raped by a classmate, and faced an unwanted pregnancy. With the help of her mother and three other women, the 16-year-old obtained an abortion, which was illegal in France. With all five women facing arrest, Marie-Claire’s mother Michèle decided to contact French-Tunisian lawyer Gisèle Halimi who had defended an Algerian activist raped and tortured by French soldiers in a high-profile case.

Marie-Claire bravely agreed to turn her trial into a platform for all women prosecuted for seeking an abortion. Major social figures testified on her behalf, from feminist activist Simone de Beauvoir to acclaimed poet Aimé Césaire. The prominent Catholic doctor Paul Milliez, said, “I do not see why us, Catholics, should impose our moral to all French people.”

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ