Combatting Throwaway Culture

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Wilfred Sumani, SJ

 Wilfred Sumani, SJ / Human Rights / 11 October 2021


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Introduction

In the 2014 drama film The Good Lie, Jerry and Mike, two of the “lost boys of Sudan,” land a job at a grocery shop where they experience a culture shock as they watch basketfuls of food being tossed into the bin. “Isn’t there someone who might want or need this food?” Jerry quizzes his boss. One day, Jerry stops a homeless woman from dumpster-diving and gives her, instead, fresh food from the grocery, a gesture that irks the boss. Jerry quits the job, for he cannot understand how it is frowned  on to give food to those in need.

This episode depicts the tip of the iceberg of what Pope Francis refers to as the “throwaway culture,” which is particularly evident in the food industry, a sector plagued by “food loss” and “food waste.” Drawing on the insights of ecological hermeneutics, this article argues that the accounts of the feeding of the multitudes in the gospels afford a resounding rejection of the throwaway culture in general,  and food waste in particular. The article further contends that the wisdom of the gospel can be leveraged to advance the conservation agenda.  

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