Thursday, June 06, 2013


-Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*

It is World Environment Day once again!  Full page advertisement in the newspapers, billboards and a slew of events organized by one and all, do not allow this important event to be forgotten. 

The speciality of this year’s Environment Day is the theme: “THINK.EAT.SAVE” which focuses on food consumption patterns and wastage. The campaign intends to highlight ‘the need to address food wastes and food loss and encourages one to reduce one’s carbon footprint’.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), “one in every seven people in the world goes to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of five die daily from hunger”. So in a paradigm shift, Environment Day 2013 does not speak about “tree planting” but in having a check on one’s lifestyle which has direct bearing on food wastage.

Some of the daily newspapers in Gujarat today have done a creditable job in highlighting the way people waste food. In a lead article in the ‘Ahmedabad Mirror’ (page 7) it has estimated that the city wastes an unbelievable 60,000 kgs of food daily! The tragedy of it, is that this estimate is only from eating houses and not from homes!  The amount of food wasted then in one city ALONE - is simply mind boggling!

Commentaries in today’s papers and also in the digital world suggest many concrete ways of how the average citizen can and should reduce, reuse and recycle. Among them are:

  • to reduce consumption patterns: eat less; find ways and means of not wasting food
  • to reuse unspoilt leftovers in creative, palatable ways (this is mainly a matter of attitude: many of the well-to-do and the higher castes have a problem eating the previous day’s food; however, if they are in a 5 star hotel, it really does not matter of old the food is!)
  • to live a simple lifestyle eating healthy and appropriate foods

Pope Francis, in a very powerful message on the occasion of World Environment Day today at his weekly Wednesday audience said,

A person who dies is not a news story, but a ten point drop in the stock market is a tragedy! So people are discarded, as if they were trash.

This “scrap culture” is becoming a common mentality, infecting everyone.  Human life, the person are no longer perceived as the primary value to respect and protect, especially if they are poor or disabled, if they are no longer needed – like the unborn child – or are no longer of use – like the elderly person.  This scrap culture has also made us insensitive to waste, including food waste, which is even more reprehensible when in every part of the world, unfortunately, may people and families are suffering from hunger and malnutrition.”

The Pope goes on further to say, “that when food is shared equally, with solidarity nobody is devoid of the necessary, each community can meet the needs of the poorest.  Human ecology and environmental ecology go hand in hand.”

So, let us all then take the theme “THINK.EAT.SAVE” seriously  of this Environment Day, by reducing our carbon footprint, ensure that the world becomes for all: more equitable, more just and more human!

5th June, 2013

No comments: