Rare Medium

Waste Not, Want Not

A beautifully reported work uncovers crazy waste that we can't afford.

Book Cover One wonders what it would take to shock the American (or any public) to action with revelations of wrongdoing, corruption, or human and animal abuse as the muckrakers of a long-bygone era were able. Or if it is any longer possible. (For example, shouldn't the relatively small number of people who have seen the powerful documentary Food, Inc. spurred some measurable insurrectionary noise?)

Hopefully, glancing at the images English writer Tristram Stuart collected at the web site for his exposé, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal (W.W. Norton), might stir something more than the obligatory mumbo-jumbo lip service about "having to do better" and invoking green this and green that. No doubt we (at least us urban dwellers) all have a street-level awareness of the excesses of our economy: Look at what lines the city streets on trash collection day. Stuart points out that North America and Europe discard up to half of their food, and as a committed freegan he ably suggests it's sufficient to feed all the world's hungry at least three times over. This book offers a worldwide tour into the unconscionable waste produced that points to a global food crisis (yes, another crisis) and some measures employed to mitigate it. Additionally, Waste does offer some strategies to alleviate the problem(s).

As environmental activist and chronicler Bill McKibben opines:
The world faces incredibly difficult challenges--we simply can't afford the kind of crazy waste Tristram Stuart uncovers and describes in this beautifully reported work. It's nauseating in places, but ultimately hopeful: if we got serious about preventing this waste, we might just find the margin we need to deal with our biggest problems.
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