Sunday, 30 May 2010

Weekday vegetarians

A quick TED talk by Graham Hill, founder of Treehugger.com. He has an innovative solution for people who want to go veg, but maybe aren't ready to make the jump.



Text, for the non-video-watchers.
I realised that what I was being pitched was a binary solution. It was either: you're a meat eater, or you're a vegetarian. And I guess I just wasn't quite ready. Imagine your last hamburger.

So my common sense, my good intentions were in conflict with my tastebuds. And I'd commit to doing it "later". And not surprisingly, later never came. Sound familiar?

So I wondered: might there be a third solution? I thought about it, and I came up with one, and I've been doing it for the last year, and it's great. It's called Weekday Veg.

The name says it all. Nothing with a face, Monday to Friday. On the weekend, your choice. Simple!
Sounds like a good idea.

You know, I've been doing this for years, but with punching people. On weekdays, I refrain from punching people. Nothing with a face. Or in the face. On the weekends, my choice. (I confess I do go a bit nuts on the weekend.)

I've always known that it's better for people's faces and gonads if I didn't punch anyone at all. I always told myself I'd stop leaving random strangers languishing in a pool of blood or leaving a trail of broken noses -- 'later'. But I figure: being a weekday non-puncher is something I can do. Surely cutting down on the pummeling is better than nothing.

4 comments:

  1. Heh. That's very amusing, for sure, but I think you are trying to call out Graham Hill for being hypocritical about vegetarianism or something...? If you think that eating animals is murder, or some such similar thing, then yes, your criticism is valid. However, many people go vegetarian/vegan because they think that humanity eats too much meat and animal products, that it's not good for the environment, etc. If that is your stance, then cutting back is a response that makes total sense. (I think that humanity uses too much fossil fuels, so I drive a fuel-efficient used car and I ride my bike whenever I can. I don't give up motor vehicles altogether.)

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  2. It depends on how wrong you think eating meat is.

    I don't consider myself a vegetarian extremist, or think that eating meat is always wrong. But as I was watching the video, I found myself wondering why people think that eating meat is something that we should cut back on (like driving a car) and not like something that shouldn't be done (like punching people). If we make a category error here, then we could end up patting ourselves on the back for doing less of something wrong.

    It reminded me of that Onion headline: 'Pope Vows To Get Church Pedophilia Down To Acceptable Levels.'

    I wish more people would become weekday vegetarians. (I also wish that people wouldn't punch people.) But this doesn't address the underlying mindset of 'it's my choice to eat meat or not.' Well, why is it their choice? Because they're the human? Why don't the other animals get a choice too? Or is it just habit or cultural pattern?

    I don't know where I'm going with this. I should probably stop because I sound like a fucking hippy or something. But I wonder if anyone else thought this like I did.

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  3. No, I see where you're coming from now. *Why* does vegetarianism fall into the "cut back" category rather than the "eliminate" category? I agree it's a worthwhile question to be asking. (And I'm not even vegetarian. People just think I am all the time.)

    If I had to hazard a guess -- and like I said, I certainly don't speak for vegetarian/vegan folks on this one -- I'd say it's because the problem with meat isn't that it's meat. We are omnivores by nature -- look at our digestive enzymes, our teeth, etc. And other animals eat other animals, that part's not unnatural or inherently bad. Gazelles don't have any choice in whether or not they get eaten by lions. It's called the food chain. The problem is with how we farm, how we use our land, how we treat animals. Reducing demand for meat and animal products, and/or shifting demand towards companies that don't factory-farm, applies pressure to change these harmful practices. And that's the part that's actually necessary to change.

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  4. I think the weekday veg idea is brilliant. The whole idea of limiting what you eat, for ethical reasons, is a sound one (I think).

    If you see ethics as an essentially limiting force - rather than a science of universals (like Kant and probably Daniel(?)) - then any move to limit harm is a move towards the good. Or, to put it colloquially, self control is a good thing.

    I have been thinking of becoming a veg/vegan for a while, but really am not organised enough and I think it is just as important to eat nutritiously as ethically. I'd be interested to hear how vegans make sure they get a balanced diet - and manage it all with a busy job, life etc.

    I have ended up with a complicated diet with certain meats removed, but not all, only eggs from my parents 'pet' chooks, etc etc. I also gave up MacDonalds etc some years ago, but you don't need an ethical argument for this!!!

    I'm looking forward to seeing Food Inc, the newest anti-food industry doco.

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