Living your life so you feel good about the earth’s resources, the creatures who share our planet, and your own health is not a black and white issue.
Maybe you spend a dollar more and buy “humanely-raised” eggs (more on that later), or find a farm where you can buy from a local meat producer. Possibly you eat vegetarian 3 or 4 days a week, or like Mark Bittman, eat vegan before 6pm. Or, you ride your bike everywhere and buy products without much packaging.
We all hopefully try to contribute in a positive sense to the future and a smaller carbon footprint. It may be a choice now, but as China and India follow our lifestyles and the world population grows, we WILL run out of resources. Let’s slow that down.
The newest thing seems to be insects as food. While I can’t quite stomach that option, I see how that makes sense. Protein-rich and plentiful, insects are not considered to be sentient creatures, and could be an alternative food source. Ground up crickets make flour, or just cooked in a sauce and they make a crunchy taco filling. I am sticking with the new delicious “fake meats” for now.
Another place to draw the line for me was last month when I was trying to find some new boots. I found my dream pair, but they were leather. I wanted them so bad, but I didn’t buy them. When I found the second best pair after much searching, they had fleece lining. What to do then? Was the sheep killed, or just sheared? Probably should avoid it in any case, but I went ahead and got them. I’m not perfect. And I know man made faux leather has it’s own issues environmentally, but is not causing animal suffering.
“And what about plants?”, ask the people who oppose vegetarianism. You could argue that there are negative consequences to plants being killed. All I know is they don’t scream out for their babies as they are harvested. And they use less water than livestock need.
Yesterday, we went to a Christmas tree farm. We’ve had an artificial tree, and it really looks ugly and doesn’t have the wonderful smell. I wanted the kids to have the fun experience of going out and choosing a tree and having hot chocolate. Well, once we found the tree and started cutting it, the kids realized the tree would then be killed. I found myself saying all the platitudes that I used to use about eating meat. “They were raised for this purpose”, “They will be cut down anyway”. They were bummed, it made me sad too that we couldn’t purely enjoy the tree. Where do we end our compassion for living things?
Is it worth it to just enjoy life with hedonistic pleasure and not think about any consequences? I don’t think we have that luxury anymore. I really don’t. Changes are happening in our lifetime, and directly affect our children. If we can’t watch what Factory farms are doing, that doesn’t mean it is okay to allow it. If you love your dog or cat, give a small thought to an equally intelligent and sensitive animal- the pig. The law allows it, and other agricultural animals to be treated in ways that are incomprehensibly cruel.
If we can all push ourselves a little, we can make a huge impact. Start with just eliminating factory farmed meats. It will take effort and cost a little more, but money is the only thing that will change anything. We are all consumers every day, and our choices make a difference.