While out and about with my green kids and green Hubby yesterday, my Blackberry notified me of a comment pending moderation on my “Making Earth Friendly Cleaning Choices” post. Here is the comment in its entirety. If this individual has a blog, they didn’t provide the link, merely an email address of “Wacky_Redhead”… uh-huh.
“Please explain to me how you’re against animal testing, yet in your next blog article you talk about eating chicken. Ummm…having a bit of a mental disconnect here???? You can’t be an environmentalist and be a meat eater. Switching to a vegetarian diet will be a heck of a lot more helpful for the environment than any choice you may make regarding your laundry detergent.”
At first I was SHOCKED. This was my first angry comment. I am a MODERATE… therefore, I don’t usually invoke anger in my readers (and since there are hundreds of you each week… I must be doing SOMETHING right.) Oregon Dad recommended that I simply delete the offending comment and go on with life. His reasoning is that by responding I may be providing a breeding ground for extremist mentality. My take is that I must respond to this completely ASININE comment. It must be made palatable and digested.
The first issue is that I have NEVER claimed to be an ENVIRONMENTALIST. I am socially concious and globally responsible. If that makes me an environmentalist, so be it. However, perhaps the very word choice of added “mentalist” to environ produces the image of extremists. Of those who will chain their bodies to trees and march with PETA and eat only a completely vegan diet. Those who think their way is the only way… it is an ALL OR NOTHING mentality. Frankly, anything is better than nothing… and many people cannot or will not choose to be vegetarian or vegan. Anger spewing naysayers certainly aren’t going to convince the world to listen and do. I am proud to be doing my part in making my home and my family healthier and better educated, I am proud to be sharing simple things that anyone can do to help make an impact, I am proud to have hundreds of people who read my blog every week and hopefully will give a few of these simple changes a go. If that’s not ENVIRON-FRIENDLY, ENVIRON-CONSCIOUS, ENVIRON-RESPONSIBLE… I don’t know what it is.
The second issue is the reference to eating chicken in my next post. Obviously, this person didn’t read that entire post, or they would have seen the part where I encouraged peeps to reduce their meat consumption and choose organic meats. Or the part where I stated that TeenGirl is vegetarian and how I used to be before my devoted omnivore of a husband arrived in my life… and how I wrote about using only 2-3 pieces of chicken for a family of 7 in an entire meal. The average American consumes 8 oz of meat each day… by that standard, our family should consume about 3.5 lbs of meat every.single.day. We use about 1lb of meat each day and its usually organic. I recognize that some people chose vegetarian diets and others chose diets containing meat and neither one negates the ability to be an Earth Friendly person.
Now lets take a look at animal testing = consummation of meat. This statement is so asinine it really doesn’t need much reflection. There is a HUGE difference between consuming small amounts of organic poultry and the evil that is animal testing. Causing an animal to suffer so we know if our products are eye or skin irritant is NOT OKAY.
Without a doubt, eating meat uses a lot of resources. Production uses large amounts of energy, pollutes water and requires increasing amounts of grains. Purchasing organic meat can help, as can cutting your meat consumption by at least 20% (as I stated in my previous post). If every American became Vegetarian, that would without a doubt make a big impact on the environment. However, then we’d have to address other issues… such as those posed by the decreasing number of hunters (I vehemently oppose hunting from a personal stand-point, but I do not, will not attempt to force that belief on others. I respect differences and I can also accept that without hunting, we could have a break in our food chain.)
This comment has also caused me to ponder once again, the same issues I have many times in the past. How would I feed my children on a vegetarian diet? I have kids with so many allergies, they cannot have most grains, no form of dairy (which also rules out most soy) and are even unable to eat some fresh foods. Sure, they can get protein from peanut butter and refried beans… but that’s not a sufficient diet for a 3 year old and 6 year old. When I ate NO meat (and even now that I eat a little bit of poultry and fish) I use a lot of beans and rice in my diet, however, my young kids do not find a bowl of brown rice and kidney beans to be appetizing. Furthermore, choosing to be a vegetarian or vegan is purely a personal choice. It is not one that I can make for my family members. Oregon Dad must have meat with every meal… so if I chop up a couple pieces of chicken and add it to a pasta, casserole or soup, he is happy and we are still using much less meat than many families.
It goes without doubt that making educated choices in everything we do can go a long way toward helping the environment. That includes which detergents we purchase, how we recycle, the vehicles we drive (or don’t drive), the way we educate others, etc… Those of you who have read my blog for some time, or know me on a more personal level, know that my family is relatively extreme in our Eco-Mindedness compared to the average American. Our home is chemical free… our food is natural and organic when possible… we recycle the heck out of everything… we drive a Prius and carpool whenever possible… we are constantly looking for things we can change. For every small change adds up to something big. I am raising FIVE children with this same socially conscious, globally responsible mentality… they will go on to produce 10, maybe 15 children of their own who they will raise this way. Our lifestyle will continue to multiply and grow and IT WILL HAVE AN IMPACT.
I am not an extremist… and that’s why people listen to what I have to say. There is no judgment here.
Todays Green Tip- Do your part. However small, find things that you can do in your own life. Maybe its changing the way you recycle, starting to carpool twice a week, choosing environmentally friendly cleaning and personal care products, buying foods that are natural and/or organic. Baby steps add up.