After watching a series of documentaries, mainly stressing the benefits of veganism and a whole-foods-plant-based diet, I was overwhelmed and quite angry at institutional policies (and nutritional myths) that perpetuate a food system that continues to harm this planet of ours.
Wait… am I now an climate activist because of my diet choice?
The documentaries, whether climate change specific or not, all touch on the harm industrial farming is causing this planet of ours. Long ago, I knew I never wanted to actually see what goes on in a slaughterhouse or think too deeply about how the food I eat makes it to my grocery store and plate. Back in my omnivore days, I understood in my heart of hearts that watching a video documenting the suffering of animals would prevent me from ever enjoying beef, pork, or chicken again. So, I avoided all those awful vegan propaganda films and the weirdos who shared them with me. (By the way, fish do feel pain. And the seas don’t contain limitless amounts of fish.)
Six years ago, my first steps into vegetarianism were strictly economical. Done right, it meant a cheaper grocery bill for my family every month. I didn’t expect to feel better because of the change, but I did. And because I experienced less inflammation, more energy, less bloating, and easy weight control, I began researching the why of it all. I wanted to understand the nutritional science that led to all these unexpected benefits. (Watch the Game Changers if you are an athlete)
Now, several years into my vegetarianism I’ve replaced my dairy creamer with soy milk. (Soy is not going to give women cancer or men boobs. That’s a myth.) Switched my yogurt to a plant-based option. (Just as enjoyable) Indulge in the occasional meat substitutes that are readily available on the market. (I know it’s processed, but it’s better for the planet than a hamburger. And it’s tasty.) Discovered grains other than white rice…like farro, quinoa, and barley. And I’ve been exposed to vegetarian-friendly cuisines from around the world. (The standard American cuisine is rather boring actually) Except for my occasional cravings for cheese, I’m about 85% vegan. (You don’t realize that Americans put cheese in and on everything until you try to avoid it.)
But enough about my veganism. I realize people have to come to their diet choices on their own. Let’s move on to Climate Change. (For more Climate Change specific documentaries on YouTube, click here. Of course, I expect all free-thinking adults to do their own research on the subject. Don’t accept information without the appropriate fact-checking.)
So I’m mad. Angered by the Climate change apathy and denial I see around me every day. The human race can’t seem to wear their masks in a pandemic, how the hell are we going to make the institutional changes needed to slow this climate crisis?
I think sustainable change is going to have to come from individuals. Only a shift in thinking about our planet’s limited resources will get us there. And, individual choices seem to be the only realistic place one can start.
My economical statement on behalf of the planet and animals everywhere was to remove meat from my plate. Others might choose to buy an electric car instead of their gas/diesel counterpart. We as individuals could invest in solar energy for our homes. Stop using plastic bags. Stop buying single-use plastic water bottles. Buy our vegetables from local farmers. Refuse to garden with chemical pesticides that harm the soil. Plant trees to rewild a pasture or a two-acre lawn. Walk or ride a bike instead of getting in our cars for a 2 mile trip to Walmart or the grocery. I know this sounds like too little far too late, but I don’t have control over the USDA. I can’t magically stop large-scale practices that are harming the earth. I can’t expect the governments of the world to agree on anything meaningful.
I’m only one overwhelmed person.
Yet, what I can do is signal to big industry what changes I think should be made through the use of where and when I spend my dollars. In a capitalist system, money is king.
The point of this post is, we all have to start somewhere. I started with my diet choice and a poem.
What will you choose to do?