In an e360 video, filmmaker Karim Chrobog looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. The video focuses on Washington, D.C., which has taken steps to see that food ends up with those who need it rather than in landfills. First in a series.
BY KARIM CHROBOG
A glaring paradox of the U.S. food system is that while no country produces food as efficiently, no country wastes as much. Every year, 30 to 40 percent of what is grown and raised in the United States is thrown away or rots between farms and kitchens. That’s a startling 133 billion pounds of food — more than enough to feed the 800 million people worldwide who face hunger every day.
In this Yale Environment 360 video, we present the first of a two-part e360 series, “Wasted,” on the vexing global problem of food waste. Filmmaker Karim Chrobog visits two cities — Washington, D.C., and Seoul, South Korea — to examine why so much food goes to waste and what can be done about it. Washington, and the U.S. as a whole, has taken only minor steps to reduce this enormous waste and its related human and environmental costs. By contrast, Seoul has adopted innovative programs to minimize the amount of food that ends up going to landfills to rot.
This U.S. video explores the various links in the food chain in the Washington, D.C., area, including organizations working to cut down on food waste. Chrobog speaks with people in the trenches of this food fight, such as workers at the D.C. Central Kitchen, which collects healthy food that otherwise would be discarded and uses it to help provide 5,000 free meals a day to the needy.
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According to two University of Washington scientific research papers that were recently released, a 1,000 mile stretch of the Pacific Ocean has warmed up by several degrees, and nobody seems to know why this is happening. This giant “blob” of warm water was first observed in late 2013, and it is playing havoc with our climate. And since this giant “blob” first showed up, fish and other sea creatures have been dying in absolutely massive numbers. So could there be a connection? And what is going to happen if the Pacific Ocean continues to warm up? Could we potentially be facing the greatest holocaust of sea life in the Pacific that anyone has ever observed? If so, what would that mean for the food chain and for our food supply?
For a large portion of the Pacific Ocean to suddenly start significantly heating up without any known explanation is a really big deal. The following information about this new research comes from the University of Washington…
“In the fall of 2013 and early 2014 we started to notice a big, almost circular mass of water that just didn’t cool off as much as it usually did, so by spring of 2014 it was warmer than we had ever seen it for that time of year,” said Nick Bond, a climate scientist at the UW-based Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, a joint research center of the UW and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Bond coined the term “the blob” last June in his monthly newsletter as Washington’s state climatologist. He said the huge patch of water – 1,000 miles in each direction and 300 feet deep – had contributed to Washington’s mild 2014 winter and might signal a warmer summer.
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