Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Small Daily Differences

We must not, in trying to think about
how we can make a big difference,
ignore the small daily differences
we can make which, over time,
add up to big differences that
we often cannot foresee.

~Marion Wright Edelman

Of Note: What would happen if every person in the United States sent one less pound of trash to the landfill? One pound doesn't sound like much and isn't--but multiplied by 300 million or so turns out to be a much bigger number. One way of doing that would be to discard one less pound of waste food--either by more efficient consumption or by composting. Composting around this property would be problematic because of scavenging wild animals. But for many, this is a good way to impact, even in a small way, the food waste in America. A provocative book, American Wasteland, was recently published highlighting the issue of food waste. According to the author, 591 billion pounds of food are produced and up to half goes to waste. That seems impossible until he shows where the wastage occurs. 10% is left in the field unharvested because the fruit or vegetable would not be acceptable to consumers. Another 10% - 15% is lost in transit because much of what we eat travels some 1,500 miles before arriving at the supermarket. There another 10% is thrown away when it gets too old to sell. Last but not least, the American household throws away 25% of the food that it buys. In addition, commercial kitchens in hospitals, schools and restaurants toss their share. In the end, food scraps make up about 20% of what goes to the landfill. One pound less, that is a small effort. My guess is that when we get started the effort will become habitual and much more will be saved.

Today's Weather Report: The temps were in the upper 40's Fahrenheit today, not quite cold enough for a jacket, not quite warm enough go without. I tried the "without" option and was chilly, but not frozen. Little poofy clouds coursed across the sky. At one point this afternoon, they ganged up and looked menacing. The forecast is for possible snow tomorrow. Actually, my request was rain to check the caulk down at the hunting cabin. Could be that request will have to wait until next spring. So it goes this time of year. Since we are talking about supermarkets today, a piece of information floated across my desk this week worth mentioning. 100 million people shop at Walmart on any given day. This creates an enormous amount of consumer information. Because of that, Walmart knows more about Chinese consumer habits, let's say, than the Chinese government. This behemoth plays such a large role in domestic economics that Wall Street uses spy satellites to check whether Walmart parking lots are full as a measure of the strength of U.S. retail. If this seems hard to believe, check out Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System for other equally incredible information.