so there is lots of talk in the media at the moment about food – and well I enjoy food lots so I thought I would say a few words that perhaps might spark some thought. I do find it interesting that there is so much disgust with the fact that Mugabe is at the Food Summit in Rome – not that I am fan of the man or what is happening in Zimbabwe, yet I do find it interesting how we as humans behave. Are food prices going up? Yup. Is there a food crisis in the world? Well, umm, I am not convinced. Are there more poor people dying of due to lack of food? Yup. But let’s pause and think about this and Mr. Mugabe for a moment. With Mr. Mugabe I wonder why we can be so easily outraged at his presence, but not at other people’s presence. Why are we not outraged by Europe’s presence? When the crisis was happening in Niger a few years back, Niger was exporting food to Europe, while people in its country were starving to death, then some of this food was “donated” back to Niger by Europe as Aid and so they were seen as helping. Mmm, perhaps the food should stay in the country in the first place. yes, of course there are issues with export economics etc etc, but it does make me think. Perhaps also we should remember that cows in Europe received $2 per day I think from the government, yet half the world’s population lives on less than that… perhaps that makes you think
According to reports, there is still enough food produced in the world to feed the population. But as a friend of mine has said, God has provided enough for our need, but not our greed. Chew on that one for a moment or two. Yesterday, I was in London at Euston Station and stopped to grab a muffin to eat from Upper Crust – there was baguettes galore in for sale and I knew it was near closing time, so I asked, what happens to the food at the end of the day – they throw it out – I can’t say I was shocked by this, but I was shocked to learn that they throw out ALL their unsold food every 3 hours!!!! That made me sick – I know that we can’t send the food to Africa, or Mexico, or Myanmar, but Upper Crust COULD do something like the store Pret a Manager does which is to donate any unsold food to homeless shelters and orgs that will use it. Now, I am not naive to think that this is the cause of the food crisis. I know enough about politics and development to realise that the food crisis is one complicated beast that has no simple solution, nonetheless I was shocked at the waste.
Now in all of this I wonder where are the voices that are raises concerns about OUR consumption levels? Where are the voices saying that one PART of the solution might be for US to consume LESS. Novel thought, but I don’t hear that voice. I wonder if this is not a role for faith communities, for churches, for mosques, for temples, synagogues, faith-based organisations? Could we not come together and stand up and voice a concern to our governments, but FIRSTLY and PRIMARILY to ourselves and as communities consume LESS rather than striving for more more more. Where is that voice saying, “perhaps there is a different way?”
Again, I don’t want to simplify the food crisis to only this, as I believe it is a very complex issue. However, I don’t think this is part of the issue, one that I am not hearing people talk about as it scares economists. But isn’t there more to life than our bloody economy? Isn’t LIFE more than that?
Thoughts? Do you hear the consumption debate happening? If so, please tell us about it.