The Bottom Line or the Big Picture?

I just read the article “Earth Day: 10 Big, Really Hard Things We Can Do to Save the Planet“, and I like how they decide to tackle the “really hard things.” We always see posts or articles that sound something like “10 Simple ways to save the planet,” and admittedly, I rather read those quick fixes, too.

But if I truly care about the planet, I’ll have to support and take heed of the suggestions on that site. However, I do have a beef (pun intended) about point number 6:

One of the most readily available solutions for creating a more sustainable world is also one that we might have the most personal control over: our diets. We can greatly decrease our environmental and social footprints by eating locally, organically and mostly meat and dairy free (according to the U.N. report Livestock’s Long Shadow, livestock produce more greenhouse gases than all of the world’s transport combined). But in order for more people to be able to choose better options, we also need to transform the food system. That means not only transparency innovations, such as labels and codes that tell you where your food came from and how it was produced, but also economic and regulatory support for a transformed relationship between farmers, food sellers and eaters.

Now, if you know me, I’m one of the biggest carnivores out there. I find it extremely difficult to cut any kind of animal protein from my diet. It keeps my energy at a higher level longer, and it tastes damn good! But of all the things listed on that site, cutting meat and dairy products from my diet is by far the easiest thing I can do and have control of. If I can’t even do this, how can I do the other things on the list?

My reasoning for not cutting down in meat has been that I can’t solve all the world’s problems, and I can’t do every single thing to help the planet. I recycle, I’m obsessed with printing double-sided, I use non-plastic grocery bags, I use a re-usable water bottle, and I turn off my lights and other people’s lights when not needed all the time. Isn’t that enough? If I’m going to be able to tackle the bigger issues, I need to tackle my bottom line: eating…and eating meat and dairy.

I guess that’s why they said it’s hard. But do I want to live my life doing the right but hard thing? Or do I live my life doing the wrong but easy thing…which will allow me to focus my energy on doing other right but hard things?


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