In today’s world the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting more poor. What is causing this? That’s the question on many minds. A broken food system and simple human greed are all plausible answers. But one thing overlooked is our human tendency for social acceptance. The need to fit in, despite wanting to retain our individuality, has created many negative outcomes. Unfortunately, globalization only propels this change.
Emma Marsh, of Love Food Hate Waste, spoke at the BBC Farming Today show. She mentioned that consumers waste 25 per cent of purchased food. Of the 16 million tons of food that’s wasted, half is generated by households.
Whether cooking too much, or buying too much, wealthier consumers have a larger dispensable income. This income is spent on buying more products at the store, even if most of the hauled away items end up in trashcans. Increased consumer choice and affluence are just some of the reasons for all this food waste.
Another worrisome trend is the changing diet of affluent individuals living in developing countries. As Guardian pointed out: “Economic growth, urbanization and rising affluence are increasingly bringing with them higher demand for convenient, processed foods, for meat, and for dairy products – in short, a more western diet.”
If the trend continues, we will need to double our production of food by 2050. With depleting resources, this is simply impossible. What is possible, however, is changing societal norms. We need to take a step back from the monoculture of farming, eating, dressing, and other western standards that get copied worldwide. Doing so will strengthen local traditions, and ensure that we continue living in a diverse and sustainable world.
Where else but in cities can we meet people of different backgrounds and get acquainted with new things? Those who can afford it ought to spend money on travel, as it enriches life beyond any item available in store. As always, Mark Twain was right when he said: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”
Here’s to staying true to ourselves!