Monday, May 25, 2009

Just enough sourcing

Today is Memorial Day in the United States. A very strange holiday in its inherent contradictions. It is a day or remembrance of those who sacrificed for our freedom, and in doing so we celebrate our freedom with picnics and barbeques to celebrate the start of summer. The irony is our freedom on this day is freedom from work. Sounds positively May Day like in some regards.

As part of that celebration will be copious amounts of food. I stopped by the grocer to pick up some sundries and debate whether I will go to a picnic today. Of course like all good picnics, it will be potluck which is fantastic. The downside is that I've never been to a potluck where there wasn't tons of food left over that goes to waste. How does one size a meal properly to reduce waste? I was in NYC (bad air travel) and had the prix fixe dinner which is enormous. Much wasted food. Now one can say this is bio degradable so what's the big deal.

The challenge is that pesky thing called the second law of thermodynamics. All the energy used to raise the protein and the carbos is not perfectly efficient. Especially in the case of protein. So if you are shipping 10 percent too much food, you are having to use 10 percent more transport. (Now I realize that most shipping is done in discrete units, but at the volumes we deal with 10 trucks to 11 is more likely).

So why do we relate hospitality to abundance. This is the same in almost every culture of the world. The more I look at our environmental problems, they increasingly become social ones. Human nature is animal nature on steroids. In the same way we have microeconomics and macro economics. Perhaps we need micro and macro environmentalism. We act the way we do in the pursuit of status and what that status confers, but when we all do, our status diminishes. It's very much the paradox of thrift, what is good for us individually is bad for us collectively.

Can these interests be aligned? Something to think about today as we remember that the sacrifices that we make for a way of life, pale in comparison to the sacrifice of others.


At 11:30 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eat more. Brave soldiers died so you can eat everything you see. To not do so is unpatriotic as well as wasteful. (This has been a message from the people of ADM)


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