Thursday, July 30, 2009

I Knew Google Reader was Good for Something

I jest, Google Reader is good for a lot. It is the ONLY thing that is not blocked from my work computer, making it not only good, but GREAT! Don't mess with my Google Reader.

Anyway, I came across this article today (and yes you will have to watch the short ad on the Washington Post to read it) that opens a great discussion about eating less meat. The article, entitled The Meat of the Problem, outlines the environmental impact of eating less meat.

The basic premise is this: the environmental impact and carbon creation of raising livestock for food is more detrimental than DRIVING, and yet telling people to consume less meat is HIGHLY unpopular. Therefore we tell people to drive less rather than change their eating habits. Of course, doctors tell people to change their eating habits all the time - but few people actually do.

This makes some sense. How are you supposed to connect conserving fossil fuels to the burger on the grill? It's sort of abstract and doesn't make a great bumper sticker. And yet, it also makes so MUCH sense. Why wouldn't people who are concerned enough about the environment to spend thousands of dollars on a hybrid, not want to know that they could have an even greater impact by cutting out the nightly animal protein for some beans? Didn't we learn that it's the small things that count back in the 1980's when Reduce Reuse Recycle became the mantra of school children everywhere?

From now on I may cite environmental impact as my standard reason, when people ask "Why don't you eat meat? How do you live without bacon?" (right before I feign a fainting spell from bacon withdrawal).

Most readers here know me personally, and therefore know that I haven't eaten meat in close to 11 years, and so you will know why this subject hits home for me. I sense your Bias Radar going off now, and that's Okay. The truth is that I have always felt that going vegetarian was a good decision for me, but might not be feasible for everyone. I have never once tried to convince anyone to give up meat entirely. I believe that being divisive and judgmental when it comes to food only gives people fodder to call you names and root themselves more strongly in their habits. I do always try to provide something delicious and vegetarian for people to try. My hope is that eventually people will start to realize that real food is real food with or without meat.

There are a lot of ways in which each of us impacts the environment daily- our water usage, our home construction, our commutes, our grocery bags, our recycle bins...the list is endless. Furthermore I realize that a vegetarian diet that includes eggs and dairy certainly doesn't go as far as a vegan diet would in reducing carbon emissions. However, I would love to see these studies on the nightly news instead of research on how texting while driving is dangerous and whether or not red wine is good for you this week.


Simón said...

I really enjoyed the article you linked to, and I too simply encourage people to eat LESS's amazing how meat-centered we are in the states. I'm in Germany right now, and I figured it would be sausage all day every day, but people are fine with having some pasta or veggie dish. People in the U.S. seem to need meat at two meals a day.
I just went vegetarian about 1.5 months ago, and this article basically says what I've always known is right in the back of my head. But it's cool to have studies back it up.
Oh, and btw, we're Twitter friends if you don't recognize me (SDSotelo).

Melissa said...

Thanks Simon. I'm glad you enjoyed the article. I hope you're having a great time in Germany!