Monday, August 15, 2005

The post in which you see inside my brain

I am so....oh I don't know, unsettled, I guess is the word I'm searching to use.

We live in this wonderful world of ours. We enjoy abundance at every corner. I love to fool myself that growing up a poor child in America gave me an edge on the rest of the world. It gave me an edge, but not on the rest of the world. Not by a longshot. As I said before, we enjoy abundance at every turn. Of course there are others that enjoy more than most, and there are those who do go to bed without eating. However, after seeing the results of a nation's president embarrassed by the starvation happening in his country and his refusal to visit the area until it was in epidemic stages of turmoil, I can only say that the numerous times I went hungry as a child were really nothing.

Niger has me so incredibly stressed. The images of childen too starved to even drink water are haunting. We must do something. So I did that. I donated to the humanitarian arm of the LDS church. They have an excellent distribution system and have loaded a plane filled with 80 million pounds of relief supplies expected today in Niger. In conjuction with Catholic Relief Services it will be distributed to those in need. There, I feel much better.

But I don't. Because of this. It is the most eye opening and conscience jarring piece of journalism I've read since this. (registration required; go to and get a code if you don't want to register) These types of articles give me insomnia a night. We have people starving a world away and Americans are turning food into trash to the tune of 100 million pounds a year. What?!?!?!?!? We can't make a profit from harvesting and selling 60,000 pounds of peaches so let's plow under the field. Only in America.

Lately I've been eating in a few restaurants due to traveling. Each meal has been an abundance of excess. Easily each meal could have been eaten by two people. A baked potato the same size as the shoe I wear (a 6.5, thank you). The local McDonalds is selling a small drink for $1.09. However if you decide to go for the gusto and order a super large one they'll sell it to you for 64 cents. Incredible. I can have a glass of something that isn't good for me in quantities no one person should drink in a days time for less than half of what a small serving will cost.

Throwing away food. Excess in consumption. Plowing under fields of food because the food can't be sold at a profit. Where does it end? The farmers will climb my frame because everyone wants to control what farmers do. The restauranteurs will tell me it's what their customers want: large plates of food that no one should really eat at one sitting. Friends and neighbors tell me that sometimes they just don't feel like eating what they have purchased and toss that three day old meat because it went bad waiting to be cooked. It seems we have reached a conundrum. I cannot solve these problems, however I must do something.

What can I do about this? I can begin in small steps to change my corner of the world. I can continue donating excess monies to humanitarian entities. I can choose, while eating in restaurants, to order half orders or split an order with another person. I can shop daily or weekly with a list and stick to my eating plan. I can adopt an old adage taught me by a wise old woman: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." I cannot go to Niger. I can however remember them everyday and be more aware of how my actions affect the lives of those people around the globe. We can all do those things. Will someone join me?