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Let’s be Kinder to the Environment, Starting with Food

 

 

By Carol Liu   

 

 

Temperatures are rising, causing ferocious hurricanes that have devastated thousands. A nearly extinct porpoise, the Vaquita, is being illegally hunted. Freshwater sources are depleting due to population growth, urbanization, industrialization, and increased consumption. Deforestation has destroyed millions of acres of forest.  It seems that everyday, we grow more and more disheartened by these bleak environmental news.

But in particular, I’ve grown curiously confused over the growing trend of humans’ abuse of something less obvious: food. Okay, I realize that this is a weird pet peeve. Eating is clearly a necessity to life–that is, eating at your own pace and satisfying your own hunger. But the rise of “muk-bang” eating shows, where people film themselves binge eating platters of food enough to feed a large, hungry family…this I’m not so sure about.

It has only recently come to my attention over how popular these shows are. I’ve heard things like, “Have you seen that girl online? There’s this girl who filmed herself eating an entire lamb, all by herself!” My family has talked about, even praised, those self-made stars online, famous for being able to binge eat. But after hearing this, my immediate reaction was, well, why? Why force yourself to eat so much, when there are hungry families who could have gladly shared it? And who would want to watch it?

Upon researching why “muk-bang” is so popular, I learned that there are some surprising reasons why people enjoy them so much; in fact, most sites I’ve read sound quite positive. These shows, which are especially popular in Korea, fill the void for the huge number of Korean households who live alone, or who are on a diet. Eating while watching someone eat online can feel like you’re eating with a friend, and those who are on a diet feel as if they are eating vicariously through the binge eating stars.

But even so, I see more negatives than positives. While those who are on a diet may feel gratification through others, I feel that this is only hurting their own self-image. They see someone eat as much as they want, and never get fat. In turn, they feel more self-conscious, and refrain from eating because someone else is eating for them. These shows are perhaps also making people less social, as they’re eating with a computer screen instead of a friend.

The most concerning part to me, however, is that this exemplifies that many humans lack care towards the world and environment. Eating an entire lamb might only be one lamb, but when this is a trend, who knows what could happen to the environment which is already in dire need of protection, rather than further abuse. On a perhaps larger scale, being unresourceful with water, forests, and fossil fuels is much the same.

Binge eating shows are harming environmental resources and increasing the demand of eating animals. Not to mention, much of this food being used unjustly by disrupting the health of the binge eaters. For many of these stars, binge eating has become a job, a chore. But why not share all this excess food with the needy?  Let’s put an end to this madness.

Invite a friend, a real friend, and have dinner with them. Don’t starve yourself because you see someone else eating for you. Most importantly, always consider the impact of your actions on the environment. Whether it’s by turning off unnecessary lights, not wasting water, planting trees, or eating to fit your own needs, you are making a difference, and a very important one.

 

Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/14/health/scientists-warn-humanity/index.html

http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/29/world/asia/korea-eating-room/index.html

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/03/24/392430233/koreans-have-an-insatiable-

appetite-for-watching-strangers-binge-eat

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/29/eating-in-front-of-webcam-south-korea_n_46

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