A third of the food raised or prepared globally is wasted, which depletes resources, says columnist. (Stock photo)

Column: Wasteful ways are depleting our planet’s resources

Sept. 29 was International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste

BY MARJORIE STEWART

Sept. 29 is now designated International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste.

A third of the food raised or prepared globally is wasted. Seeds, water, energy, land, chemicals, work hours and money were wasted while generating about eight per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, destroying forests and depleting soils.

Sir David Attenburgh has just told us “In the long run, population growth has to come to an end” and it looks like emerging stabilization “is apparent at a rather higher level than the Earth can really accommodate.” Global population is currently increasing annually by about 83 million people. Asked what he would advise people to do, Attenburgh urges us to stop our wasteful ways which are destroying planetary resources.

At the same time as the topic of over-population is finally reaching public attention, a member of the Canadian financial establishment has just released a book titled The Expendables: How the Middle Class Got Screwed by Globalization. The book by Jeff Ruben, former chief economist at the CIBC, is a full-out attack on global fair trade agreements, arguing that the emergence of the one per cent of super-rich is at cost of eliminating the middle class. The increasingly discredited neoliberal economics which decimated pension plans and public services while moving jobs overseas is the culprit. The tool is the FTA. Now that Ruben has stated it so bluntly, we see the convergence of climate change, economic disorder and human over-population in the spotlight of COVID-19. Like Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes, the pandemic reveals how wrong we were to permit the common good to be sacrificed to financial and consumerist greed.

COLUMN: Sustainability, resilience needed in food systems

The pandemic has created patterns of social isolation which increase stress for people with a wide variety of challenges, including pre-existing ill health, domestic violence, drug and/or alcohol use disorders, caretaking responsibilities, unemployment and lost income, loneliness and lack of support networks, mandatory quarantine, young people without alternative activities and refugees and more.

In our community, various services exist but finding them when needed is not easy. Part of the social disarray we are suffering comes back to the damage done to common or community well-being by economic ‘efficiencies’ now revealed as deficiencies. Instead of a community of care, we have an unco-ordinated mixture of public and non-profit programs, adapting and evolving largely in isolation from each other.

All around, people are reaching out to help wherever they can, often to provide help with meals. Food is more than the filling of a daily physical need. Sharing food and eating together knits together social well-being and makes good use of resources for nourishment.

The worst outcome of the pandemic would be that people fall back on the junk food and cheap takeout of over-processed belly-fillers while at the same time further enriching corporations with the money to build to the new take-out specifications. As much as possible, we must search out those local food businesses which are providing genuine nourishment within health guidelines and brush up on our cooking skills.

Marjorie Stewart is past chairperson of the Nanaimo Foodshare Society. She can be reached at marjorieandalstewart@gmail.com.

COLUMN: Vulnerability to global disasters is our own making

Food

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

MNP senior economist Susan Mowbray presents the State of the Island Economic Report on Thursday night to conclude the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s virtual summit. (VIEA image)
Not-so-rosy State of the Island report caps off virtual summit

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s summit took place online Oct. 27-29

Canadian Federation of University Women Nanaimo members Wendy Smiley, left, Karen Skarpnes, storyteller Margaret Murphy, CFUW-Nanaimo president Jeri Manley and club treasurer Kathy Torhjelm gather in recognition of the club’s 75th anniversary. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo chapter of Canadian Federation of University Women celebrates 75th anniversary

Group gathered via Zoom earlier this month to recall its history in the area

Police hope the public can help find Hailey St. Claire who has been missing since Tuesday. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo woman reported missing, police asking for public’s help

Hailey St. Claire, 28, was reported missing Tuesday

According to a Nanaimo RCMP press release, Jason Klughart, 28, was arrested at about 7:45 a.m. Wednesday at Port Place Shopping Centre. (News Bulletin file photo)
RCMP officer and security guard team up to detain suspect after chase in downtown Nanaimo

Jason Klughart arrested on outstanding warrant for possession of stolen property

Nanaimo RCMP and public health inspectors will be out looking for homes and businesses violating provincial health orders Saturday, Oct. 31. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo RCMP hope for Halloween safety and COVID-19 safety this weekend

Police and public health officers will be patrolling for households violating COVID-19 restrictions

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

Pilot Kevin Maher participated in a flyover of a ceremony at the Cobble Hill cenotaph on Oct. 22 in a 1940 North American (Noorduyn) Harvard aircraft. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Cobble Hill remembers lost military members with ceremony, flyover

Annual event commemorates those who died in non-combat roles

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read