This blog piece relates to food. There are various paradoxes because of decisions we have made over many years – some could say 10,000 years. I think the most critical years however have been the most recent years, in terms of how they could impact us. There’s a great school of thought that says that it would be much better for the Earth and for us physically (though we are part of Earth so it’s the same thing) if we moved to being vegetarian instead of eating meat and fish also (though I do still eat fish at this time). That particular school of thought is a good one in my eyes. There is a lot of writing out there speaking of how in order to produce a pound of meat an immense amount of resources must be consumed. The other thing to bear in mind is that the root of all animal life is plant life. There are no animals that don’t rely on plants in some way, direct or through eating animals that eat plants. So there again we go back to plants which is what vegetarianism is talking about.
Unfortunately, we’ve sort of boxed ourselves into a corner in this regard: agriculture has created a severe depletion of certain plant varieties. The second thing is that we are relying very heavily on modern agriculture’s fertilizers which are reliant on nitrogen, which is produced from gas which is a fossil fuel. If we have to rely on fossil fuels for our agriculture, it doesn’t give us a lot of time even if we do become vegetarian. There’s a lot of talk in fracking about timing of the reserves of oil in the earth. Let’s say we have 200 years of a good amount of fossil fuels still available to us (which is actually more than twice the estimates within the energy industry). Are we saying, knowing that, that we should continue this way of life, accepting that we won’t be able to live this way once the oil is gone? Let’s think about the stress on vegetarianism. We are basing that food supply on fossil fuels so there is no future in that either, so to go more extreme, if everyone in the world went vegetarian. There simply wouldn’t be enough food to feed them. It’s as simple as that, because everything we do in the world, which include animals, we base how we exist on what we’ve been doing. For example, if every animal was carnivorous, and then suddenly tomorrow became vegetarian, it would totally change the balance of nature and there wouldn’t be enough for those animals to survive on locally. I’m talking extremes here, as we know that changes in nature occur gradually over time as Charles Darwin famously illustrated with his Origin of Species when he was in the Galapagos Islands. Things change slowly in nature. Maybe we can change things slowly ourselves as humans in terms of what we’re eating, but we can’t continue the way we are, whichever way we look at it. We can survive for 3 to 4 weeks without food, but it is something that we need after air and water.
I believe that in all of these things we need to fairly quickly become much more local in terms of what we do, in terms of the water we drink and the food that we eat. Certainly moving to a plant-based diet seems to be a viable thing to do if we can do it locally and without use of nitrogen based fertilizers. I have been eating a largely vegetarian diet with some wild caught fish from local water and I don’t have any ill-effects whatsoever. If anything, I feel healthier than I’ve ever felt before. You don’t need lots of meat to maintain muscle mass – protein comes in many forms ie. legumes, greens, and sea vegetables. Mushrooms are a good substitute for meat as well if you enjoy the texture. I don’t have any craving for meat anymore, and I don’t feel the need to eat vegetarian ‘alternatives’ to meat such as tofu or the faux meat products. That to me is not surprising, as why would we want to substitute something that’s made from meat by something that’s made with vegetables or soy? But that’s just me of course. These are just my thoughts for the day on vegetarianism and how it won’t save the world the way many people think it will, particularly while it is based on a fossil-fueled agriculture system.