After ten years investigating the efficiency of our nation’s food supply, an anthropologist from the University of Arizona found that nearly half of the edible food in the United States gets thrown away. While much of this waste happens at the agricultural or commercial level, the average family of four tosses out $590 worth of meat, fruits, vegetables and grain products per year. What is true for food is also true of so many other household items. A survey of garbage in New York City shows that 32 percent of household trash is now containers and packaging. Non-durable goods (products used less than three years) are 27 percent, and durable goods are 16 percent. All three of these categories were virtually insignificant 100 years ago.
Logically, anyone who claims to be conservative should support conservation of our natural resources and the environment. As we stand up for the dignity of human life, we must also work to preserve the plant and animal life, the water cycle and fertile soil that makes human life possible and enjoyable. The “throw-away” culture in America is a sign of a deep inefficiency in our manufacturing and distribution system, which makes it much more difficult to repair a piece of furniture locally than it is to just a buy a new one made by overseas labor. As a result, we are consuming at a rate that cannot be sustained long-term, while at the same time setting a bad example for the developing countries who are trying to become like us.
When we make decisions at a smaller scale, we can see the results of our consumption locally, and it’s easier to follow basic principles such as planting a tree for each one we use and moving population to places where water is available. In his encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis asks:
Is it realistic to hope that those who are obsessed with maximizing profits will stop to reflect on the environmental damage which they will leave behind for future generations? Where profits alone count, there can be no thinking about the rhythms of nature, its phases of decay and regeneration, or the complexity of ecosystems which may be gravely upset by human intervention…
Efforts to promote a sustainable use of natural resources are not a waste of money, but rather an investment capable of providing other economic benefits in the medium term.
We have a responsibility to preserve the legacy that has been handed down to us and pass it on to future generations. The American Solidarity Party is unique in its commitment to stand up for the natural cycle of life, including the environment, the family, and the children not yet born, against the materialism that seeks to destroy them.