Responding to Angry Comments

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.

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About PolkaDotMommy

Wife to a teacher extraordinaire... Mama to Five littles... Conservative Catholic Christian with a Strong Environmentalist Mentality... Respecting Life... Living for our Savior... Learning to trust God in all things.
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6 Responses to Responding to Angry Comments

  1. Whew! Without weighing in on ANY side of this issue, I have a difficult time with “absolutes”. Many lives have been saved from results achieved from animal testing, but there are also abuses.

    But there is a distinct difference between practicing what you believe and leading by example and trying for force beliefs on others. A lot of time the people with “absolutes” (religious and non-religious) forget that kindness and rational thought are usually more effective than pressure and insults. Simply expecting people to see things one way (just because it someone’s belief) doesn’t mean that everyone is supposed to see it the same way.

    Hang in there! And don’t worry about defending yourself to everyone.

  2. goodbear says:

    to me, your blog is free of judgments and very positive. when we blog we are opening up to people and i don’t think that person should have said something so mean and judgmental in the comments of your post. 1. your positive and personal blog is not the forum for that. 2. you didn’t challenge anyone to stand up on their soapbox. 3. a rude comment isn’t going to make you swear off poultry!

    i sometimes get mean comments too, and delete them. but i’m glad you addressed it. personally i have a horrible soy allergy, so some one else’s diet won’t work for me. hope they don’t decide to berate me for it. you write well and you have a nice blog, by the way.

  3. Hi Jamie, I’m Maggie and I’m enjoying your GF posts. I’ve noticed that often when people write nutty comments that they are actually writing down the messages they hear from their inner voices. The messages they give to themselves when faced with similar choices or experiences to the ones they read about on a blog. They don’t necessarily realize it’s rude because they hear their own inner messages so often that they it sounds “normal.”

    Since we aren’t giving ourselves condemning messages like that, when we read or hear that person’s inner message, it sounds absurd. I’ve been trying to simply not respond to messages like the one you mentioned. Later, when the person goes back to reread or reconsider their message to you, they will be shocked at how crabby it seems. Kind comments I respond to, comments that are less than kind aren’t worth my energy. Like the proverbial water off of a duck’s back.

  4. I totally agree that lives are saved by using animals for research… and that’s not the kind of animal testing I am worried about. What concerns me is when we subject animals to cruelty so we know if something is eye or skin irritant, etc… in my world, its needless. Thanks for your thoughts… I agree there are NO absolutes and that’s how I approach my faith as well… GENTLY. And for some reason, people usually respond quite well to it!

  5. Meg says:

    According to this discussion, “you can’t be an environmentalist and be a meat eater” and to the person who posted it-

    This can go in so many directions I don’t even know where to start. Before any rebuttals and before anyone starts to question my knowledge of all of this, let me start by saying I didn’t just “drop into” this earth friendly thing, I believed global warming was a major issue before anyone even know what it was. I did all the things people are doing now, but I started nearly 20 years ago. As an Environmental Studies/Forest Resources major in the early 1990’s, I was one of those people looked down upon, like some kook.

    I am not a vegetarian. Because I am not a vegetarian, should I just pack it all in and toss all my values out the window? Is it all for naught, then, because I had chicken on the grill this evening? And when my children are old enough, they can make the decision for themselves. Right now they will eat what their mother feeds them.

    Environmentalist or not, earth friendly person, or whatever “name” you put on me, I am a Mother first. I am a Mother who also happens to believe in teaching her children about the environment/conservation/earth friendly practices. The author of this blog mentioned she has a family to feed. Her family has exceptions, as do many others. For most of us (not all) that have families, there are limitations to what we can and cannot feed our children. I need to feed my children food that they will eat. And guess what- that includes meat. I also try to buy fair trade organic as well, but these days, due to the economy, I have chosen to deviate from that path for awhile. Why? Because it is expensive. I have a gut feeling that I need to change our spending habits- and my gut feeling is always correct. I purchased organic strawberries and organic summer squash the other day- price is double that of ordinary strawberries and squash. My bill was $312 for a family of four. So, I bought meat, and I bought only a few FTO items, the rest was your regular run of the mill grocery store items. Should I say, “forget it” to recycling, purchasing cruelty free items and all the other stuff I do, oh, and by the way, kids, let’s not give a hoot about the environment anymore, because mommy doesn’t fit the so-called definition of “environmentalist?”

    Would you say such a thing to the single moms out there (who recycle, teach their children the importance of conservation) just getting by, feeding their kids what they can, receiving government cheese and bottom of the barrel food items, or is such a statement only intended for those of higher means?

    To make such a statement is ridiculous. I’ve been around long enough and have had plenty of experiences to know that making negative statements, bashing what other people do or not do, and simply slamming them because of their choices is immature and closed minded. Seriously, as the author stated, is it all or nothing? No one person is going to change another by saying such things. Is that REALLY what it’s come to?

  6. Ruby says:

    Hi there,

    just wanted to say I feel for you, as I have had a few rather snarky comments on my blog that have taken the wind out of my sails. Comments like this one, so full of judgments and absolutes make me think they come from people who are either a) really young and think they know everything or b) really egotistical and think they know everything.

    Regrading being a vegetarian and having other allergies. I was a veg for many years before my celiac diagnosis, and was determined to continue being one. However, about 99% of vegetarian “meat” has gluten in it, so I lost a huge source of protein in my diet. The meat has slowly crept back in….otherwise I would have a very very hard time finding a variety of things to eat. You do what you can. That’s all any of us can do.

    Hugs to you .

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