The Pope Is Asking Us to Stop “Squandering” Food and #StoptheWaste

Photo: Unsplash/Scott Warman
World Food Program USA
Published November 19, 2019
Last Updated July 15, 2020

On November 18, the Vatican News reported on a message Pope Francis had for WFP: “If we wish to build a future where no one is left behind, we must create a present that radically rejects the squandering of food.”

He was talking about our global food waste problem. Right now, the world’s food system produces enough calories to feed everyone on the planet, yet one in eleven people go to bed hungry every night. That’s more than 690 million hungry people. At the same time, one-third of the food we produce for human consumption is lost or wasted.

Pope Francis weighed in on the issue, urging people to support WFP’s global campaign to avoid food waste, called #StopTheWaste.

A Moral Imperative

“Together, without losing time, by pooling resources and ideas, we can introduce a lifestyle that gives food the importance it deserves,” he said. Food waste is more than an economic issue, he said, it is “a phenomenon that increasingly weighs on our conscience…each human being has a right to healthy and sustainable nutrition.”

“Negligence and Selfishness”

Pope Francis highlighted the unequal distribution of food around the world, saying, “In many places, our brothers and sisters do not have access to sufficient and healthy food, while in others, food is discarded and squandered.”  Pope Saint John Paull II called this the “paradox of abundance,” where some people are surrounded by food while others simultaneously go hungry. “This paradox,” said Pope Francis, “involves mechanisms of superficiality, negligence and selfishness that underlie the culture of waste.”

And we are all responsible, he stressed: “Families, schools, and the communications media have an important task in educating and raising awareness in this regard.”

Photo: Unsplash/Scott Warman

$1 trillion dollars worth of food is lost or wasted every year —  enough to feed more than twice the number of hungry people.

You can help do just that with four easy steps:

  1. Search your fridge or pantry for that item that you’ve forgotten about (but is still safe to eat!)
  2. Snap a selfie with your item (do not forget to eat it)
  3. Share your photo on social using #StopTheWaste and challenge three friends by tagging them in your post.
  4. Take your pledge one step further by sharing your food waste recipes or host a dinner party and encourage others to do the same.

The United Nations World Food Programme is doing everything it can to make sure good food makes it to people’s plates. Will you join us? Learn more at our Hunger & Food Waste Hub.