Food waste is the world’s dumbest problem

Eat your peas! It’s the easiest way to fight climate change.

This is the fourth episode of Climate Lab, a six-part series produced by the University of California in partnership with Vox. Hosted by Emmy-nominated conservation scientist Dr. M. Sanjayan, the videos explore the surprising elements of our lives that contribute to climate change and the groundbreaking work being done to fight back. Featuring conversations with experts, scientists, thought leaders and activists, the series takes what can seem like an overwhelming problem and breaks it down into manageable parts: from clean energy to food waste, religion to smartphones. Sanjayan is an alum of UC Santa Cruz and a Visiting Researcher at UCLA. Check back next Wednesday for the next episode. Visit for more.

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Comment (28)

  1. I figured that both problems (a lot of food is being thrown away, and some people still aren't getting it) are caused by economics. Basic supply and demand stuff. You subsidize food production and put an artificial price floor on the food that is lower than equalibrium. Farms produce too much food and sell it at a lower price, leading to a surplus that is thrown away when demand can't keep up with supply. It's pretty much a textbook case of what happens when you alter prices beyond equalibrium.

  2. I see food go to waste everyday at my school. Our school requires us to take fruit and vegetables but they don't care if we eat it. Many students grab a bag of apples and don't even open the bag and just throw it away. I think that the school should have a pile of that you can put food that you don't eat in.

  3. Besides the obvious solution of throwing away less food, there's another important point we're missing. The reason we domesticated pigs and chickens was to eat our food waste and provide food for us in return. Instead of doing that nowadays, at least in industrialized countries, we're feeding these animals grain specifically grown as animal feed and our food waste goes on the landfill or gets incinerated. That's insane. If we used most of our food waste for something productive like animal feed we could both reduce the waste problem and not have to grow as much animal feed. Both of these things would have huge positive effects on the environment. It's kind of a no-brainer.

  4. the military (army) which I am in waste tons of foods, I can't and try to get seconds and the only way to get that is to wait at the end of the line or until nobody else is eating

  5. The points in this video are all valid but anyone who's worked in any food realised business has realised all this already long long ago, but would the managerial hierarchy listen to us worker bees? You must be kidding! It annoys me that it takes people of a certain​ level in society to point out stuff like and be listened too and make the change when ordinary people have who've worked in these places and pointed it out get ignored.

  6. In India right from childhood any food wastage is frowned upon by elders in most of the families generally and that way you get used to finish whatever is there on your plate.

    Just imagine before wasting that someone is dying to have what you are just throwing in the bin from your plate or refrigerator.

  7. Capitalism is the biggest problem. Businesses only knows how to keep producing to get more money whilst in return they give consumers a hard time coping with the growing competitive prices and then turn a blind eye of how we are destroying the earth without care. Overfishing, Unhealthy chemicals on vegetables, Mass producing of poultry and red meat are made to try and keep up with everyone's necessities but 40% of these go to waste. I guess I'll just wait until mother earth destroy humanity through natural disasters. I am ashamed of our money-driven society.


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