Waste of Food and Resources

Waste of Food and Resources

One of the great tragedies of American culture today is the incredible waste of food and resources. People in many places around the world are surviving on less than 1000 calories per day, and starvation is killing vast numbers. Over a third of the food produced in the United States is never eaten. On average, Americans throw away a pound of food per person daily. The Environmental Protection Agency says the water and energy wasted in the United States in a year would supply more than 50 million homes.

The problem is not just the waste of food and resources but also how we use the land to produce food. The University of Oxford and Global Change Data Lab tell us that 50% of the world’s habitable land and 70% of freshwater goes to growing food and raising livestock. So when we throw away food, we also waste land and water resources. Three-fourths of the global ocean and freshwater pollution comes from agriculture. Greenhouse gas emissions from one year of food waste in the United States alone are equivalent to the emissions from 42 coal-fired power plants. 

God has provided us with all the resources we need to feed the world’s population, but corporate greed, selfishness, ignorance, and a lack of concern for others cause the problem of world hunger. In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus described judgment based on how we conduct ourselves in meeting the needs of others. The first thing Jesus mentions is that providing food for others is a responsibility of His followers (verses 35 and 42). One way we can do that is by avoiding the waste of food and resources God has given us and becoming leaders in the war against hunger. By living in obedience to Christ, we witness the reality of God to the world.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: The Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter for February 2023 has several tips for reducing food waste, including “the truth about date stamps” on food that cause people to throw away food that could be eaten.