On the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, Pope Francis addressed the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, stressing that a lack of social justice leaves about a third of the world‘s population without enough food: we must collect for redistribution, Don’t make for waste.
(Vatican News Network)On September 29, on the occasion of the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, Pope Francis sent a message to Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), stating that the focus of this international day’s promotion is “issues that we cannot ignore”. “To waste food is to waste people.” The Pope emphasized the deep inequality between those who live in abundance in the world and those who still starve or die of hunger. We should not stop at the level of words, but there is an urgent need for a practical response to “the piercing cry of the hungry for justice.”
In his message, the Pope wrote that the improper use of food, including waste and loss, is part of a “culture of throwaways” that shows “indifference to what matters”. “It is humbling and worrying to see food being left in the trash, or not reaching end consumers due to a lack of necessary resources, knowing that too many people do not have access to suitable food.”
The latest report on The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World shows rising inequalities, which the Pope says are rooted in “many crises that humanity has to deal with”. The cry of the hungry “must echo in the decision-making centres”. “I would therefore like to reiterate that we must ‘collect for redistribution, not make for waste’,” the Pope said (address to members of the European Food Bank, 18 May 2019). I have said this before, I After that, I will tirelessly reiterate: to waste food is to waste people!”
In the face of the “paradox of abundance”, St. John Paul II condemned it 30 years ago. Now, Pope Francis called for “the entire international community must be mobilized” to address the issue. The current situation is that “there is enough food in the world not to let anyone sleep on an empty stomach”. In fact, the food resources produced are enough to feed 8 billion people.
Pope Francis goes to the heart of the problem: the lack of social justice. It’s about how resource management and wealth distribution are regulated. “Food should not be used for profiteering. Life depends on food. Moreover, it is a scandal that large manufacturers encourage impulsive consumption in order to get rich, with no regard for the real needs of human beings. The use of food for violence must be stopped. We must stop treating food, a basic commodity that everyone should have, as a commodity traded by a few.”
Furthermore, we must stop exploiting the earth “greedily”, and stop “wasting it and destroying it for our over-consumption”. Food waste and loss can actually lead to “increased greenhouse gas emissions, leading to climate change and its untold consequences.” Young people are asking for clearer eyes and wider hearts “in order to take care of the common home that comes from the hand of God”.
“We cannot be content to speak up on such an important subject, address it in statement after statement, and then not act out of forgetfulness, narrow-mindedness or greed. Now is the time to act urgently in the public interest. National, multinational giants , the Association and everyone, without exception, urgently need to respond practically and sincerely to the piercing cry of the hungry for justice.”
The Pope finally exhorted each of us to “adjust our style of life consciously and responsibly” so that “no one lacks the food on which he depends”.
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