Monday, February 06, 2006

Have you ever thrown out food?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you ever eat at restaurants? Are you aware of how much food they throw away? If your answer to the first question is yes it's not your place to condemn those who do it at home because you're supporting those who do by eating out.

6:13 PM  
Blogger Darren said...

Firstly, your questions seem to indicate that you concede or agree with the point that I was trying to make (i.e., wasting food is bad, especially when others are starving). This appears so because you are using the same argument in an attempt to invalidate my using it (because I too may waste food). So, I’ll take that we are both agreed, wasting food is bad.

Secondly, on to your questions. (1) Yes, I have eaten at a restaurant. But, you should know that I rarely eat at restaurants because I feel my money could be better spent on myself or others. (Actually, when I do go out I often get water and will eat food that my friends didn’t want to finish) (2) No, I don’t have specific knowledge about that, please inform me as to how much they do waste. When you said ‘those who do,’ I’m sure if you are referencing the patrons or the owners. If you happen to have access, it would be good to know the amount wasted by the restaurant and the amount wasted by the patrons. Interesting, but my argument does not depend on any particular outcome.

Thirdly, I disagree that because I answered in the affirmative, my presentation of the argument is invalid. Example: It is highly likely that some grocery stores waste food, therefore if I buy food from a grocery store, I am supporting the waste of food. I do not find this a convincing argument. Going to the extreme, should I till my own soil? Well, aside from likely doing a terrible job and starving, using a plot of land for one person would also be wasteful. So, what is someone (‘wealthy’) to do? Well, I’d say realize that food is a privilege and that it should be respected because so many do not have enough. Concordantly, try to waste as little food as possible, meaning do what you can as an individual. I cannot control what other people do and I am limited by various constraints that occur in the society in which I live. Note: Even if did go to ‘food wasting’ restaurants often, wasting food by going to restaurants AND wasting food at home is a worse situation than just wasting food in one situation.

Fourthly, I should point out that you assumed that I am ‘condemning’ those that waste food. This is not true. I am simply stating that wasting food is bad, especially when others are starving. More detail: If you do not waste food, you will need to buy less food. This will have two effects (1) you’ll have more money and (2) you’ll actually be purchasing less food, thereby slightly decreasing what stores will stock, and that will ripple throughout the food producing ‘machine.’ I concede it is true that larger scale actions might have a greater effect, but one can do both.
I have wasted food and will likely do so again. Whenever I do, I chastise myself. My recent post is as much for me as anyone else. With that imaged burned into my head I can better appreciate what I have, as well as be motivated to act in certain ways.

Fifthly, I think underlying your ‘argument’ is the issue of how much can one do? More accurately, this invalid argument is often presented: “Well, you can’t do everything, so why do anything?” No one actually says that, but they might act in such a way. It is true, that the enormity and diversity of the problems in the world is stunning and most won’t be resolved in my lifetime or possibly ever. But that doesn’t mean one should do nothing. It is up to the individual to decide how much they feel they should do. Again, one has to be careful of extremes. Have I ever seen a movie? Have I ever watched a TV show? Yes, and therefore have, in some way, contributed to the waste that is most of the entertainment industry. But maybe that stress release (from a silly movie) is important to better enable me to help others. Or, maybe the tv show is informative and useful to that goal. These issues are more difficult to determine, but there are other, clearer ones. 10 movies a month or 2? New clothes every month or used clothing a couple times a year? 8 drinks in a night or 2? It is up to the individual and all I can do is present what I think and try to act in accordance with my own beliefs.

Lastly, by no means am I perfect or a person that does not waste things or lead an optimal life. Everyone has their line in the sand and I’m trying to figure out where mine lies. If you are checking for hypocrisy, I ask that you do with a better tone for one thing, and two, realize the complexity of human existence. Though I’m trying to be as consistent as possible, true consistency is likely an impossibility (ask Godel).

Or, concisely: We agree that wasting food is bad, but not that your argument is valid.

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It is up to the individual and all I can do is present what I think and try to act in accordance with my own beliefs."

You're not throwing away food. Great. Basically, what that says to me is that you're doing as little as possible, but enough so that you can wake up every morning and not feel like a bad person. Of course it's nice to spread awareness and get people thinking about their day to day behaviour, but would you go to the village where that person in your picture lives and do for him what you can and give him what you have? There are ways to do that. I think what you're trying to do is nice. (I haven't used the word nice because my vocabulary is small, only because that is what I actually mean)
I don't try to live beyond my means. I don't waste because I can. But I also don't kid myself into thinking that I'm a great person and am changing the world because of those things. If I wasn't so comfortable living where I do and so unwilling to give up this lifestyle then I'd be over in Africa helping build homes and schools and volunteering somewhere. Only then would I feel okay about flashing a picture of a starving person; a dying person for that matter, headed with a glib statement like the title of this post.

I just feel like "Have you ever thrown out food?" looks extremely out of place over a picture as striking and stark as this one. It's been said that a picture says a thousand words, but with only six you've lessened the thousand this picture was speaking.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Seriously, who throws a shoe?

The mind boggles at the persistent inaccuracy with which you seem to regard the author of this blog (and my roommate), Darren. Have you actually taken the time to peruse the rest of his entries? Darren is by far the most socially conscious (well, conscious period) person I've ever known, and, although I think this is abundantly clear from his various posts over the years, you can take it from me that he walks the walk. His outfit? Likely under $20. His monthly entertainment expenditures? Likely ALSO under $20. Food? Almost never bought at a restaurant, and when home-cooked it's usually either chicken or pasta. Life aspiration? HELPING PEOPLE.

And did you just imply that Darren move to Africa? Please read Darren's blog on his chronic fatigue ( and realize how idiotic and insensitive your suggestion sounds.

Besides your glaring inability to research someone before criticising them, I'm also amazed at your inferential ineptitude. Darren writes a single post on food waste, therefore food waste is all Darren cares about? Not a very strong syllogism there, Aristotle. If you read it, you'd recognize that there are many topics on which Darren attempts to raise awareness through this blog, and food waste (or waste in general) is but one target.

Finally, you remark on the disservice Darren does to the picture (and presumably its figure) by providing a title and context. I wholeheartedly disagree with your objection. The point of the picture & title was to give visceral meaning to the behaviours he seeks to reduce (in himself and others). Despite the cliche, a picture alone serves as a poor medium as the message can be obscured in the variable eye of the beholder. Particularly when presented with aversive pictures such as that presented, people tend to react negatively but broadly, recognizing that it is something bad but overwhelmed by emotions to rationally consider what behaviours can be pursued to alleviate it. By presenting a title specifically designed to direct the viewer's attention to their own behaviour, the negativity of the picture becomes associated (if but a little) to the targeted behaviour.

If you choose to post further responses, please take more time to consider what you're trying to achieve here.

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Trish said...

I find it amusing how an anonymous person shows out of nowhere judging the author of this blog because of an image and a title. If that picture says a thousand different things, and Darren decided to use 'Have you ever thrown out food?' because that's what it makes him think of at that moment, who are you to condemn him? Not only is he allowed to make use of this picture to add to the idea that people can be ungrateful and unaware of the chance they have living in a world like this, where food and water are easily accessible, but also who are YOU ? Can you describe all the ideas behind this picture? And if you can't attain the full potentiality of the ideas brought up by it, would it stop you from posting it? At least he did and tried to make his readers think a bit more about how fortunate we are to be fed and to remind us that we're ungrateful wasters. You're just angry and somehow feel insulted by the use of this picture for his blog. With what rights? If you cannot acknowledge that his intentions were good, why do you even bother posting. And why in the world do you find the need to express that your 'vocabulary isn't small'? And dare you talk of humanity? You who instead of bringing support and maybe additions to the discussion, decide to TRY to tear it apart? I don't think your intentions are good, I think your intentions are selfish. Better luck next time. On discutera de cela en Francais, j'aimerais bien voir votre vocabulaire restreint a ce moment la . L'usage de mots sert a mieux exprimer ce que l'on veut dire. Par contre avoir un vocabulaire plus developpe que d'autres ne signifie pas que vous ayez une meilleure comprehension ou de savoir sur le sujet. Je vous conseille de delaisser cette idee idiote qui vous limite et donnes l'impression aux autres que vous etes un enfant de chienne riche mal aime qui n'as jamais eu de vrai presence parentale.

11:52 AM  

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