Throwing Away Oil

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During the past few weeks, we have learned a lot of important concepts about where our food comes from and what we sacrifice in order to keep food on our tables.  I found it very interesting and a bit daunting to learn about the amount of petroleum that it takes to make our mass production of food possible.  Petroleum is widely used in fertilizers that help restore the soil for agriculture, in farming techniques such as the fuel in tractors and also the transportation of our food products around the globe.  Because of this connection between petroleum and our production of food, any sort of price increase in petroleum also creates an increase for most of our food prices.  For developing countries, this dramatically decreases their affordable food resources.  If petroleum, this nonrenewable resource, is so widely used in our farming techniques, why do we (indirectly) throw so much of it away?

In the lecture given by Tristam Stuart, we saw the horrifying statistics of how much of our food production ends up in the trash in the more affluent countries.  There is a massive problem regarding our surplus of foods in the United States, as there are twice the amount of food available in our supermarkets and restaurants than what is needed to feed our people (Stuart).  In  our modern food culture, we’re seeing tons of perfectly edible foods thrown away every day just because it doesn’t meet the visual expectations by our supermarkets.  Not only is the food being wasted, but all the money, oil, and effort that was used in the process of bringing it to our markets as well.  In a sense, we are throwing away oil.  We are seeing this problem of mismanagement of our resources from these large corporations, as we are growing more food than is what’s needed and not finding responsible alternatives for how we deal with food waste across the world.

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1 thought on “Throwing Away Oil

  1. aaa11

    Really incredible insight into the wastefulness of the agricultural industry especially here in the US. It is shocking to realize that we have double the amount of food that we need to survive as a nation. I strongly believe that there is a lot of room for the agricultural system to become more efficient. It is sad to know that humanity is capable of free and potentially infinite energy, yet we continue to fight over what the future generation will call “Oil Age” resources. Our meat and produce obviously do not supply themselves through the natural process of life; instead we have farms and slaughterhouses which are heavily reliant on fossil fuels.

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