Cowspiracy

Oct. 20th, 2015 11:33 am
ceelove: (Default)
And in a completely other vein, let me direct your attention to Cowspiracy, a film streaming on Netflix. As a sometimes-frothing-at-the-mouth environmentalist, I started exploring vegetarianism at 16 due to the much lower footprint of a plants-centric diet. But I didn't realize, until seeing this film, that's it's actually something like the much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much lower footprint.

Rarely do I overcome the discomfort enough to get my preach on, but I'm saying it now: back away from that burger. Watch this movie. Tell your friends. If you want to stop the destruction of the aquifers and the rainforests and the I-can't-even-start-to-list-it-all, not eating one serving of meat will make more of a difference than weeks of water conservation around the home, driving an electric car, going solar - everything.

(And if you're all distraught, come visit me, I don't get to share my vegetarian cooking with enough people. Also I serve venison, because deer overpopulation. But wow do I have mad respect for vegans these days.)
ceelove: (Default)
No, not the state of the world post-BP-blowout; just me.

As a child, going for a walk, I was taught to bring a plastic bag along to pick up recyclables, and by that measure I learned that I was, compared to my then-peers, an "environmentalist." My life since then could accurately be characterized as an endless series of realizations about how ridiculously much I take for granted, about how my habits and behaviors have far-flung environmental consequences.

When I read Cradle to Cradle, one factoid in particular stayed with me. When throwing something away, you're actually throwing away about twenty times that object: the resources required to produce, package, and transport it, to say nothing of deal with the wastes of those processes. 2010 was a year of learning to throw away substantially less. Having read Colin Beavan's No Impact Man, and already in the habit of carrying my water bottle everywhere, I added onto the list of what stays in my backpack (read: turtle shell). I have a hospital-baby-blanket that can serve as napkin/tissue/washcloth/hand towel, a sturdy leftover container for a doggie bag, and utensils. I'm still training myself to use them, but yes, a number of disposable containers and paper towels have been avoided by me this year.

I've basically stopped using paper towels in the house: cloth handrags work better anyway. Similarly, I use cloth napkins and flannel baby blankets instead of tissues. Bodily functions herein )

Food-buying has proved a fertile ground for reducing waste packaging. I've gone substantially towards bulk foods, reusing my own plastic bags, spice jars (a fourth as expensive this way, too), and take-out containers for mozzarella balls and peanut butter. I've changed to returnable glass milk bottles; I return the paper baskets for fruit to the farmers' markets; I've taken containers to the fish market for them to put filets and carcasses in. For waste-reduction and many other reasons, we've done a lot more towards growing and making our own food, of which there has been plenty of mention here already. Our cold frame protected the lettuce sufficiently that we just last week finished our last winter lettuces, and there are still hardier greens there yet, plus kale and kohlrabi under the snow, and potatoes and garlic in the pantry.

Twenty-odd years ago, I first decided to go vegetarian, because raising animal protein requires a lot more resources than raising vegetable protein. Recently I realized that there's a nationwide deer population explosion and a high rate of human unemployment. My brain adds those together to equal someone shooting me some venison - protein that requires no resources to raise at all (also true of fish, but those are undergoing population crashes instead). For the first time in my adult life, I have meat in my freezer. We'll see how it goes.

In the more just-plain-fun realm, Sylvana and I did a lot of yardsales together. Let me highly recommend it as a potential source of Saturday-morning squee. Between that and second-hand shops, I'm able to avoid most retail buying, other than stuff like underwear, art supplies, and a new Mac Mini after five years of service from my previous one. Most of Sylvana's Xmas presents this year were secondhand.

And where does permaculture fit into all this? Yeah, I still can't talk about it briefly: it takes so much to absorb, let alone explain. But later on today, while winter is giving us a breather, I'm going to go map a back corner of the yard for us to design a bioshelter (a solar-plus-thermal-mass powered greenhouse), which Carl and I will hopefully be building next year of trashpicked glass panes. Meanwhile, I'm sure that next year I'll be brought nose-to-nose with some way that I can live more lightly on the earth.

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