BOGOFs And the End of the World

Noahs Sacrifice

BOGOF stands for “buy one get one free”. It applies to buying food in supermarkets and refers to promotions to get people to buy more than they need which leads to waste. It is part of modern consumerism. The trouble is that modern consumerism is quite destructive.

The House Of Lords European Union Committee says that we waste 15,000,000 tons of food in the UK each year (the quoted figure relates to 2010, in point of fact, and therefore is probably higher today).

Tesco, the largest supermarket in Britain, says that they generated almost 30,000 tons of food waste in the first 6 months of 2013.

Most of the waste actually takes place between production of the food on farms and intermediate suppliers to supermarkets. Suppliers have to keep a slight surplus which often goes to waste. There is a charity called FairShare who uses food waste to redistribute to people in need.

As I recall, FareShare prepare 1 million meals, monthly, from food waste but they say that there is enough surplus wasted food in the system to prepare 30 million meals monthly (in the UK alone). This is an enormous amount of waste when you consider that there are people who go to food banks in the UK. We are used to all of this because we are consumers. Most of us don’t think about these things.

Food waste UK

Food waste UK. Photo: by Nick Saltmarsh

This amount of waste made me think of the environment because food waste is linked to other forms of abuse of the planet. I am an environmentalist in a very amateurish way but nonetheless I’m concerned about the environment and food waste at this astonishing level worries me. I wonder how much of it gets reprocessed into cat and dog food?

Apparently, 95% of the scientists involved in assessing the environment say that the extremities of storms, floods, droughts and atmospheric pollution are amplified by humanity’s overexploitation of the planet.

The recent Russell Crowe film, Noah, is more than a biblical story. It is a reworking of that well-known story – Noah for the 21st-century becomes an environmental morality tale. As far as I understand it, the original story is about God’s dislike of what he created and he decided that it needed a fresh start and what better way than to wash it all away and start again. Only this time it won’t be water that is in excess and which washes humankind away but there will be the opposite, a lack of water and too much heat. Water, once upon a time a totally free commodity, is becoming one of the most precious commodities in certain parts of the world.

Conservative American Christians have criticised Russell Crowe’s film for being un-Biblical. It could be argued that it is anything but un-Biblical because in the film Russell Crowe plays a person who believes in stewardship of the planet while his adversary, the actor Winston, plays a man who believes that he has been given dominion over the Earth and has the right to abuse and use it to his advantage.

In the modern story of Noah, nature becomes our God and nature turns on us by raising the temperature of the planet to sweep away humanity. In the original story of Noah, humankind had a second chance at creation. In the 21st century version there will be no second chance.

Note: What has this got to do with cats? My answer is in two parts. Firstly, I think the authors at PoC should be given the freedom to write about all subjects while focusing on animals and focusing even more tightly upon the domestic cat. I feel this because there is a need to broaden the subject matter to make it limitless. Even news about the domestic cat has limits. I hope the regulars and visitors will accept the idea that we can write about things other than domestic, feral and stray cats, from time to time.

The second point I would like to make is this. Everything that we do affects the cat. It has an impact upon all animals. And therefore these wider topics are relevant. In addition, cat lovers are often animal lovers and therefore to write about animals especially in the context of human behaviour is still relevant and interesting to people who love cats. I hope you agree. This does not mean that every article henceforth will not be about cats. Far from it. It just means that on occasion there will be articles on other topics.

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BOGOFs And the End of the World — 15 Comments

  1. I remember you said before Michael that as long as an article had the word cat in it, it would be acceptable and I thought that was good.
    I think introducing other topics occasionally would be nice as sometimes we do deviate a bit. As you say everything does affect cats, especially the environment, but I would hope it doesn’t take us too far away from cat topics on the whole because this site is THE BEST ever exclusive site for cat lovers.

    • Thanks Ruth. This site will never deviate from the beautiful cat. The cat will always be at the heart of the site, and every article will always be relevant to the cat. Every article that is written even if a little off topic will at least make reference to the cat. I appreciate your acceptance of that because at the end of the day one can run out of topics and I don’t really want to constantly repeat myself or rewrite articles on very similar topics. There are about 8,000 to 9000 pages overall on the site which probably constitutes about 50 books on cats! 🙂

      • I love it when someone new comes along and resurrects an old article from the vaults so to speak, you have written some very informative articles, maybe you should make them into an educational book.

  2. Almost no waste here! I cook in bulk and freeze the extra portions for workday lunches. The concept of “leftovers” barely exists. If veg does go off before I can finish it, I have a compost heap; the compost feeds my soft fruit and rhubarb – which is so prolific my closest neighbours are allowed to come and help themselves to small amounts.

    • … and at the end of the year comes jam-making and pickling season (which also uses the cut price past-its-best or bruised fruit from supermarkets)

    • You are not the typical person. You are smart and you have common sense. I have to say that there is no waste with me either except Charlie does waste some of his cat food! but that’s probably me giving him too much and not waiting for him to go back to it and finish it up. Whenever I am a little bit more strict with Charlie, he is a little bit more economical with his cat food. A lot of people are terribly wasteful with their food purchases. Actually that terribly wasteful with everything they purchase.

  3. I dont think it is the old people like me that are wasteing food.I cook and eat what I cook.I also have a compost pile .They say people eat behind restarants out of the garbage cans and eat very well.All I know is simple food .I do cook corn bread for the dogs.
    They think it is a big treat.Once I saw so much food behind a super store ,It was thrown away ,with bleach poured on it so people could nt get it.

    • I think you make a good point there that the older generation are more careful with their money in general and produce less waste than the younger generation. Perhaps we are less consumer minded because rampant consumerism is a modern phenomenon.

  4. well i guess it comes down to personal choices people make. Thinking about getting a recycling bin. As i think most of our material we chuck out is things that can be sent back to be recycled. like bottles,tins etc. Hopefully it make the rubbish easiest to deal with. Its good to have a different vairety of articles as most things do affect the cat one way or another.

  5. Seems like a fine idea Michael – many interesting things that affect cats indirectly – even if just a general reflection on a way of thinking about life.

    I agree – the waste thing is awful. I am glad those two in the UK got their court case overturned. They got prosecuted for jumping a fence to take food from a bin behind sainsbury’s or tesco or I forget which.

    Anyway – it’s still illegal but at least they didn’t get fined since they wouldn’t have been able to pay if they are digging for free food. I guess you will have heard about that – it made news because the case got taken up a level due to it being in the public interest – like a class action I thik – you probably understand that better 🙂

    • I hadn’t heard about someone being prosecuted for jumping a fence and taking food but a class-action is a group of people who together instruct a solicitor to take proceedings against someone because they all have the same problem. I would have thought that it would be in the public interest to debate that alleged crime in a court of law because of the excessive food waste in the country. It is actually quite an interesting dilemma, stealing waste food from a supermarket (if that is what happened). As far as I’m concerned it can never be a crime.

  6. This is what ‘Freegans’ do isn’t it they literally live off thrown away food usually from supermarkets. I remember an episode of ‘Come dine with me’ where the food cooked was all free because it had been thrown away. The diners didn’t know until they had eaten it 🙂 very entertaining.

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