We saw these little signs scattered all about the beachfront of one of our favourite places and to be honest, it got
another crazy conversation started.
We get the idea; don't throw your litter/unwanted food on the beach as it can be hazardous to wildlife. Or, more to the point, the council (sort of understandably) don't want seagulls and rats carrying and eating waste all about the place. But, actually, that's not what this sign is speaking at all. It clearly states 'feed the bins...not the wildlife'.
Issues abound in our mind with this.
First, the bins these signs are plastered near are OVERFLOWING with waste food; chips, ice cream, half eaten sandwiches. In our current climate of HUGE food waste (1.3 billions of tonnes per year) and its huge impact on climate change, there are more important aspects to such signage that could have been included....
What the sign should say or could say could have been...
'DON'T WASTE FOOD'
'REDUCE YOUR USE OF PLASTIC'
'FEED THE BIRDS YOUR WASTE INSTEAD OF CRAMMING IT IN THIS BIN FULL OF CHIPS, FOOD WASTE, PLASTIC PRODUCTS, UNRECYCLED GOODS AND COKE CANS'
'EAT YOUR FOOD COMPLETELY. RECYCLE YOUR PACKAGING. THIS BIN IS A SIGNIFICANT PART OF THE PROBLEM; KEEP IT EMPTY'
I mean, we could go on and on....
Roughly ONE THIRD of all food produced for human consumption is WASTED PER YEAR. Yet there are starving people on the planet; London is full of homeless, starving people in the streets. Developing countries too.
The planet is being destroyed, in part, as part of the process of supplying these foods that are wasted. Deforestation, landfill, polluted waters, animal farming, soy production, packaging, plastic use...all of these are issues relating to food production.
And, actually, it would be much better if we started sharing our food waste with the wildlife and/or our local community. Give unwanted foods to your neighbours, feed the wild birds, donate to local food banks, start recycling and getting clever about where you put your money. Invest in composters and use food scraps like banana peel, vegetable skins, bread ends etc.
Each of us plays a part in the story of Earth's future. Whether you believe in climate change and its impact or not, right now we are in the 6th mass extinction on the planet. We are losing species of animals and plants EVERY day. And if each of us chooses small actions, we can make big differences together.
When we see signage like this, it makes us lose faith.
We would have a lot more respect if the signage said 'Think before you throw that food away' or 'Can you re-use, re-cycle or re-distribute your rubbish? Avoid using this bin'.
We are so disappointed that the social conditioning has become SO bad that stupid signage like this, is allowed. Especially given that so much publicity has been given recently to climate change (well; to ER and their protestations...we are still yet to see any significant journalistic coverage of the extinctions that occur and the pollution that abounds worldwide).
The thing is; we are walking about like zombies. Unable to question or 'see' things that are written. The nonsense we are being fed.
Ignorance is bliss.
It's scary to think that we all have a part to play.
It's not good to think about our children's futures right now. Sure; it's not all doom and gloom right now. But if we continue to pollute and if we continue to choose to avert our gaze from the situation, then there are going to be huge problems that we face.
And if you see signs telling you to cram bins full of waste, know that this is part of the problem.
Know that it's better to take your food waste home and re-use, redistribute it or feed some of the wildlife out there. Sure; maybe not the rats or seagulls. But, you know, to our mind, it's better that they get the food scraps than the bins.
Don't take our word for it; we are barely educated on these issues. We just try really hard to make sure we throw minimal food waste away. We try really hard to recycle as much as we can. We are no angels; of course we create significant waste every time we make an online order or throw a piece of food packaging away. But, having grown up in a poor household where every single scrap of food was valued and recycled, we are only too aware that food is a precious commodity.
Check out Max La Manna and his book 'More plants, less waste' if you want a more informed angle and better inspiration on it.
Let's wake up to the bigger picture. Yes; you might want clean streets...but there is a planetary responsibility we all have.
And each one of us makes a difference.
Some of these beachside resorts won't exist in less than 100 years because of the impact our greed is causing the planet (climate change will lead to rising seawater levels and it's predicted some of our local areas will be submerged entirely). So, we have a responsibility to think outside the box.
Don't waste food. Don't feed the bins.
Think of other ways to use.
Don't buy more than you can consume.
CARE and THINK FOR YOURSELF (with others in mind).