Thought For The Week

Baroness Scott, chair of the House of Lords EU Committee, has said recently: “Food waste in the EU and the UK is clearly a huge issue. Not only is it morally repugnant, but it has serious economic and environmental implications.”

Few people could disagree.

It is “morally repugnant” that in the UK alone we waste an incredible 15 million tonnes of food each year while, according to the World Food Programme, 842 million people in the world do not have enough to eat.

A few years ago at the Hay Festival, one speaker, urging people to address this problem, advocated a return to something like wartime austerity with resources being rationed and nothing being wasted.

Politicians are unlikely to implement such a policy, and the age of the wheelie bin first introduced into Britain in 1989 – and its progeny, the garden refuse bin, the glass and tin bin and the paper bin – seems set to continue.

But, serious as these problems undoubtedly are, there is another kind of waste which is an even larger and deeper problem in our society. The waste of lives. Lack of opportunity, poverty, drug-culture, violence and exploitation – all of them avoidable – lead directly to lives that fail to achieve their potential, lives cut short, lives which are wasted, and the loss to themselves and to the world is unquantifiably huge.

On March 17, the Scottish Government announced that it would introduce human trafficking legislation into Holyrood.

In the meantime, at the Commonwealth Games (as at the 2012 Olympics) the “United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking” and “Stop the Traffik” will be mounting town-centre displays to publicise the growth and violence of this modern form of slavery which constitutes the ultimate “waste” of a human life.

Alan K. Smith


Congregational Church