June 10, 2008

We Won’t Be Food Again

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — geoff @ 9:53 pm

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Greetings and welcome to the light side, photo lovers. Santa Cruz, California is known for its world class sunsets. But being an early riser, I’m partial to its world class sunrises, which are not quite as popular and seen but just a lucky few. That’s where this site steps up to the plate. I’ve been photo blogging since last August but have been digitally involved since 2005. So I think it’s only right that we sometimes go back into the time tunnel and take a look at some pasterpieces that have never seen the light of the blog day.

This little jewel is a sunrise from back in 2006. It was a spectacular morning with an incredible array of colors down at Lighthouse Point. As you can see from the first shot, my dog dug this early morning light show and insisted I name this shot “Golden Dreams.” Much like my Freudian therapist, once she gets her mind set on something there’s no changing it. Anyway, throughout the summer (no pun intended) we’ll be revisiting the past to check on the magic and magnificence of yester year. Or to quote Ralph Kramden of
“The Honeymooners” to his wife Alice, “You can’t put your arm around a memory.” Replied Alice, “I can’t even put my arm around you.”

Now Ralph Kramden was a guy who liked to eat. Which brings us to our subject du jour. According to a government study, Americans today waste an astounding 27 percent of food available for consumption. It happens at the supermarket, in restaurants, taco bars, vegan buffets and in very own kitchen. A federal study found that 96.4 billion pounds of edible food was wasted by U.S. retailers, food service businesses, consumers and Hollywood caterers in 1995. That’s about 1 pound of waste per day for every adult, child and sumo wrestler in the nation. And that doesn’t count food lost on farms, by processors, wholesalers or in my Scooby Doo lunch box.

Grocery stores discard products because of spoilage, minor blemishes and dedicated shoplifters. Restaurants throw out what they don’t use. And consumers toss out everything from bananas that have turned brown to Chinese leftovers to that brie cheese that’s turning moldier than Napoleon’s troops at Waterloo. In 1997, in one of the few studies of food waste, the Department of Agriculture said that 96.4 billion pounds of the 356 billion pounds of edible food in the United States was never eaten. Fresh produce, milk, grain products, sweeteners and Pringles make up two-thirds of the waste. Dick Cheney and Halliburton make up the rest.

The study didn’t account for the explosion of ready-to-eat foods now available in supermarkets. We’re talking rotisserie chickens, macaroni and cheese and potato wedges the size of Gary Coleman. A more recent study by the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that Americans generate roughly 39 million tons of waste each year. This is about 12 percent of the total waste stream where ironically I do most of my fly fishing. All but 2 percent of the food ends up in landfills. This rotting food produces methane, a major source of greenhouse gas that is giving carbon dioxide a run for the money at the pump.

America’s Second Harvest, the Nation’s Food Bank Network, reports that donations of food are down 9 percent but the number of people showing up has increased by 20 percent. In England, a recent study revealed that Britons toss away a third of the food they purchase. This includes more than 4 million apples, 1.2 millions sausages, 2.8 million tomatoes and a 7.5 million English muffins. In Sweden, families with small children threw out about a quarter of the food they bought not including Swedish pancakes, Swedish
meatballs and an assortment of Danish.

Eliminating food waste won’t solve the problem of world hunger, greenhouse gas pollution or the lack of quality sitcoms on network TV. But the Department of Agriculture estimated that recovering just 5 percent of that food that is wasted could feed four million people a day. Recovering 25 percent would feed 20 million people. That’s a lot of hungry people and there is nothing funny about hunger. Now the country of Hungary, that’s a different story.

There are efforts to cut down on the amount of food people pile on their plates. A handful of restaurants are offering smaller portions on bigger plates. And a growing number of college cafeterias, after viewing the John Belushi led food fight in “Animal House,” have eliminated trays, meaning students have to carry their food to the table rather than loading up a tray. Next to go are knives, forks and straws. The biggest problem for people fighting the food waste problem is the attitude, “Why should I care? I paid for it.” I believe the rising prices of food are the answer to that. Then again, obesity doesn’t grow on trees.

So that’s it for another Wednesday experience. Tune in again on Friday for our Father’s Day tribute. So enjoy the color and remember to think about what you might be able to do to help make this world be a less hungry place. And congratulations to Kobe Bryant and the Lakers for beating the Celtics on Tuesday night and hopefully turning the NBA Finals into an event worth watching, or at least TiVoing. Good night and good luck, Yankee fans.

3 Comments »

  1. Nice sunrises. Very informative. You could have a column like this in the New York Times.

    Comment by Jason Taylor — June 11, 2008 @ 9:28 am

  2. Those colors are almost unbelievable.
    We aint seeing that, here in Northern California.
    what gives?

    Comment by Wendi — June 11, 2008 @ 9:40 am

  3. New york times…
    New York Post…
    Santa Cruz sentinal…
    somewhere, in addition to http://www.sunrisesantacruz

    you’re a buried treasure, waiting to be found.

    Comment by Anonymous — June 11, 2008 @ 9:42 am

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