Daily choices reflect vegetarian lifestyle

I recently had an interesting e-mail conversation with some friends about green solutions and the gray areas that often accompany them.

First, a little background. One powerful, economical and healthy method I use to reduce my carbon footprint is a vegetarian diet. I like our meat-free home and the wonderfully diverse, delicious and delightful meals we cook in our kitchen. I’ve written before about the impact of a meat-based diet as a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Now along comes an e-mail from a friend who is also committed to living lighter on the planet. He asked what I thought about a new product that replaces conventional oil with a new “green” product made from animal fat using nanotechnology. We’ll call it animal-oil. The company markets this substance as a very green product.

I read the company’s Web site and came to the conclusion that I would rather continue using convention oil in my car’s crankcase, for a number of reasons. My friend is trying the new product. The green choice is in a gray area when two people with the same goal of sustainability choose two different approaches.

Part of it is personal preference. Animal fat is used in many products and I avoid them as much as possible (it’s difficult since most are not labeled truthfully).

I’m also leery of nanotechnology. Although it holds great promise, it could also result in unforeseen problems. When asked to explain, the company was reticent. Perhaps it was being lazy, but it could also indicate a desire to avoid discussing the issue in detail, or even worse, a lack of understanding of the potential dangers of untested technology. I am a fan of the precautionary principle.

In our ongoing e-mail exchange, the case was made that it is unlikely most people will give up eating meat therefore animal-oil might as well be used. I think this is precisely the reason we are failing to address big issues like climate change. Few of us will forego reproduction, eating what we want, driving what we want and wasting what we want, as long as it feels good and we can afford it (and often even if we can’t).

For me, eschewing meat (no pun intended) is a rational, beneficial choice — not a sacrifice. But even if it were, I would still gladly do it knowing its negative and unsustainable effect on our biosphere (i.e., loss of rainforest, GHG emissions, water intensity, toxic by-products, social inequity, disease, etc.). Compassion and empathy play a role here too, but most choose to avoid thinking about our violence toward animals since it is too painful to face that reality. If you think you can, watch the entire movie “Earthlings” at www.earthlings.com.

In our society, and life in general I suppose, it’s impossible to make perfect choices. My approach to reducing oil consumption includes 10 years of hybrid vehicles, reducing the need to drive by working at home, taking local vacations and riding e-bikes. Choosing a childless path is perhaps our greatest personal contribution to reduced consumption.

But the real bottom line for me regarding animal-oil is this: The idea of lubricating my car’s crankcase with parts of recently slaughtered sentient beings gives me the creeps as much as putting them in my mouth does.

To each his own. Ultimately, many share the goal of sustainability. Whether we achieve it or not, especially without great suffering on a massive scale, remains to be seen. I think we can spare the animals, live green and still make it happen.

I will close with a quote from a man I admire greatly, John Robbins, author of “The Food Revolution”: “What is at stake today is enormous; it is the destiny of life on Earth. At such a time, walking a path of honoring ourselves and the living planet is our responsibility as citizens of the planet, but it is something more, as well. It is also a joy and a privilege.”

Steve Rypka is a green living consultant and president of GreenDream Enterprises, a company committed to helping people live lighter on the planet. Steve can be reached via e-mail at steve@greendream.biz. More information relating to this column is posted at www.greendream.biz.

ad-high_impact_4
Life
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Dreamsickle Kids Foundation founder Gina Glass talks awareness
Gina Glass, 35, founded Dreamsickle Kids Foundation to raise awareness for sickle cell disease in Nevada. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Meadows School founding kindergarten teacher retires after 34 years at the school
Linda Verbon, founder of the The Meadows School's kindergarten program and the first faculty member hired at the school, retired in the spring after 34 years at The Meadows. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kids become firefighters at Fire Station 98 open house
Henderson residents wore fire hats, learned about CPR and met firefighters at the Fire Station 98 open house Saturday, August 11, 2018. (Marcus Villagran Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
People from all over the world attend RollerCon 2018
RollerCon 2018 is a five-day convention focused on the roller derby community and culture at Westgate in Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Home and Garden Video
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like