Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Take the red pill, not the red meat

Food For Thought

S.M.O. Recently posted a plea for people to stop idling their cars on her blog. It may be 2 or 3 down on the page by the time you read this, but it's there. I would like to advocate another small change that almost anyone can make, which could vastly decrease one's environmental impact. Eat less meat. That is all. I will justify this from both moral, and practical standpoints.

It is not inhumane to kill and eat another creature, supposing one kills it to enjoy sustenance, and not sadism. Predators and prey are central to creating balance in an ecosystem, since long before humans evolved. It is true that animals experience pain, and that we may comprehend this suffering. Does that not make it immoral to knowingly cause an animal pain? At the very least, we should limit the amount of suffering inflicted upon the prey. The food of all life is either in whole or in part derived from other life. Unless all eating is made immoral, killing an animal to eat it is not wrong...unless one values life based upon complexity, and our traditional food animals are protected. I dismiss that as logic of convenience, as the acceptable definition varies by culture. You might not kill and eat a dog or cat, but there are people who do.

If eating meat is not wrong, per se, why should you eat less? Because animals are not killed in any humane fashion (insofar as such a thing can exist). They have been (and according to the news today, still are) fed the ground remnants of their own predecessors in their food! They are kept in enclosed conditions, and given far too many drugs. I have no problem with the use of medicine, but overuse of antibiotics is dangerous. You can free your mind from any delusions you have about the meat industry here.

Ah, yes, and the environmental impact. If you didn't take grade 11 biology (and I won't blame you if you haven't!) I'll sum it up like this: plants are about 10% efficient at transforming solar energy into stored (ie. food) energy. Animals are 10% efficient at converting that energy into stored energy. 10% = .1, and .1 x .1 = .01. When you buy meat, it contains only one one-hundredth of the energy required to produce it (even less, taking into account transportation and packaging costs). You, too, are nearly 10% efficient, so in a best-case scenario, eating meat will render one one-thousandth of the input energy available to your body. The added costs of meat are exacted upon the earth in the burning of rainforest for pastures, use of fresh water we can ill afford to spare, and use of grain we could eat direct, the use of electricity and gas in the farming industry, and what must be 10x the food required to feed a person directly. Humans are Omnivores, emphasis on the OMNI. We do not have to eat meat, certainly not as much as we do. If anyone reading this has ever looked down on someone for being a vegetarian, or for not eating meat daily and in abundance...fuck you. Go and get eaten by a bear, or lion, or tiger, if meat is so fucking good. Oh, right...it's only good when you aren't the one being eaten. If all of Canada, say, ate even one-tenth less meat than we do now, that would be something. Less cruelty, less pollution, and less greenhouse gases.

Sinter Klaas – Booty* in your boots!

Tonight is essentially Dutch Christmas, or as I like to call it “ha ha, I -get-some-presents-before- the-rest-of-you-with-winter-holidays-later-in-the-month eve”. On the thought of presents, I already said to give money to charity, instead of buying me swag this year. How's about we go a little farther with that one. To my circle of friends, and beyond: let's do some real giving this season, and I'm not talking about sex (although the Christmas/holiday season is an excellent time for that, too). No, I speak of pooling some cash, and buying a goat for a village in a country less developed than our own. Sure, it's great to get new games, hardware, all that junk...but we give those out on birthdays already. This might sound preachy, and it might sound less fun (I would counter the latter, because it would be pretty cool to say “I gave goats for Christmas/Hanukkah/etc. This year”, don't you think?)...but in the end, we would have made a real difference. If you are interested, take the time to leave a comment, MSN me, call me, email me...your choice. I want to get this organized ASAP. Oh, and we don't have to do goats...although I hear that's all they had last year. Specific decisions as to the nature of the gift will be made in due time.

*As in 'Loot', geniuses. As for the boots, the Dutch version involves wooden shoes, as opposed to our traditional stockings.


S.M.O. said...

I am in. Obviously. No question.
Actually, when I saw the screenname I was planning on doing the water for a family thing as a Sinter Klaas present for you.... but if you're doing a collective... well:

Collective money = Better choices

(Hah! I actually know what SK is. The Dutch heritage proves worthy yet again...)

GoldMatenes said...

I am an omnivore, and vegetables make me sick to my stomach.
Unfortunately, I do not live in a situation in which I can catch my own prey and probably will not for a long time (if at all.)

What can I do?


I'll join in, too, if I can scrape up some money soon. Gifts will be passed around, too, if I manage to get paid soon.

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