Many of you must have received an email with that title recently. I did; a friend posted it in our mailing list, but the images didn't appear. So I did an Internet search and found the source: Peter Menzel Photography, who published a book titled Hungry Planet, and the photographs are excerpts from that book. The photos can also be viewed at TIME Photo Essays: What The World Eats
The images are photos from various countries, each features one family with a spread of food/drinks that they consume for one week, accompanied by the cost (in local currencies and in US$) and their favourite dishes.
Although I kind of knew that some nations are wealthier compared to another, and that some nations consume much more resources than the rest of the world, and value for money is different everywhere you go, these photographs show clearly how wide the gap actually is between the first and the latter.
What first came to attention was the number of family members: four people (say, family A) from country A vs eight or more B family members in country B. Then see the stack of food on A and B: A eats at least twice the amount of B! But the price A had to pay is not only twice, but could reach up to one-hundredfolds of what B spent for their food(!).
Then look at the components: the food itself, and the packaging that comes with the food. Artificial vs natural, chemicals vs organic, throw-away plastics vs refillable containers, food that travels overseas vs food that grows in your backyard. You can see all of those in the pictures, and even tell which is which.
All only confirm that we indeed need to be aware of our ecological footprints, so we get the picture about the amount of planets are needed to support ourselves, and that we have to do something to improve the situation. To quote Janine Benyus (non-verbatim), "Nature makes sure that the place they live in can still support their offsprings for thousands of years ahead, while still conducting their daily life" - so why can't we, the so-called 'smartest species on earth'?
Right, if I keep going on, the subject will enter the zone of ethiques and philosophy. So I'd better stop. I'll leave you with some of the images (if you haven't seen them before).. and we can start pondering together: what have I been eating this previous week?
Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily
Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11
Germany: The Melander family of Bargteheide
Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07
United States: The Revis family of North Carolina
Food expenditure for one week $341.98
Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca
Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09
Poland: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna
Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27
Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo
Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53
Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo
Food expenditure for one week: $31.55
Bhutan: The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village
Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03
Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp
Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23