Steam rises from the vast quantities of food allowed to rot in a field. Corn is dumped because a few kernels are missing. Carrots are left to rot because too many were produced this season. The peppers do not meet impossible standards of supermarket perfection such that entire crops are allowed to waste away. Meanwhile commodity prices skyrocket and hunger persists amidst vast quantities of plenty. Taken together this waste is literally killing the planet.
We fail to realize that food waste represents a tremendous cost for future generations.
According to the United Nation Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), global food waste emits more greenhouse gas emissions than any country in the world except for China and the United States. More than 1.3 billion tons of food are thrown away each year, representing 3.3 billion tones in annual carbon dioxide emissions.
These portraits of the food we waste are meant to shine a light on how we must do better to save our planet’s precious resources. One the one hand, like the paintings of the 17th Century Dutch masters, these photographs are meant as a sobering momento mori, underscoring both our carelessness and the planet’s transience. At the same time they seek to portray the value of the vast quantities of food that goes to waste each day.
By recognizing the value of our wasted food, we take another step in recognizing the value of our planet generally. Our lives may be transient but to the extent to which we possibly can, we should take every conceivable measure to ensure that our environment remains sustainable.