Monday, June 23, 2008

Musings

Yesterday was my sister's 1-year anniversary, so that's pretty exciting for her. They're cute.


I did some more gardening on Saturday morning. It took me about 4 hours. Imagine the dirt area below being covered in grass and ivy (the newest bane of my existence). I made the edge with a trowel, "CLAW"ed it up, and then went through and pulled out all of the roots, grass, moss, etc. I planted flower seeds, because I already had them. Otherwise, I would have just been impatient and bought flowers already growing. Looking at it back there now, though, I see that the white fan-shaped climber is hilariously too small. I need to go back and get a bigger one. I planted some climbing flowers at its base, and some others at the base of the pole. There's even a flat rock that I found in there at the right, so I'm going to get a bird feeder to put there.

I can't wait until everything is growing and pretty!

In other thoughts (I'm musing here, remember?), I've been a vegetarian since early November. I read the book by Peter Singer, The Ethics of What We Eat. I couldn't even think about eating animals again that came from factory farms.

I decided to become a vegetarian not for the health benefits, or even as much for the problems with cruelty towards animals on factory farms, but mostly for the environmental benefits. Believe it or not, you save more carbon emissions by switching from a meat-eating diet to a vegetarian diet than by switching from a regular car to a hybrid. Oh, and also because I'm just not so interested in ingesting the growth hormones and the antibiotics that are injected into all of the animals on factory farms.

But, after doing some more reading and thinking about what I consume (food and goods), I thought about how a lot of that still hurts the environment. If I go to the grocery store and pick up some strawberries, they probably came all the way from California. Avocados are likely from Mexico. Pretty much any fruit or vegetables you eat in the winter come from Chile. I would say most of the things I own were produced outside of the United States. To get any of that here, it has to be shipped. Sometimes they may get to the US by boat, which is the most environmentally-friendly method, but once here, they usually get on trucks and buzz around the country. How is that too much better for the environment?

So, I started thinking more about buying locally. We've started going to the farmer's market every week to pick up our vegetables and bread. Oh, and soap. Some of the vendors even had some DELICIOUS cherries this last Sunday. Now, living where I am, I'm lucky to have about 20 different farmer's markets a week to choose from within a radius of about 15 miles from my house. Not everyone has that luxury, I know. And we can't get everything we need from there, just what's in season in Northern Virginia.

Well, there is a family farmer that comes out each week from Berryville, which is about 60 miles west of here. Smith Meadows. They raise cows, pigs, chickens, and sheep for meat production. They have a butcher that takes care of turning the animals into the right cuts, but any sausage, pasta, etc they sell is made there on the farm in their kitchen. I read about them, looked at pictures on their website, and the animals seem happy. How can animals look happy? See for yourself.

I feel good about buying meat from them. And, oh my god, it's delicious. A very fresh, happy animal kind of taste :-) Oh, we also get their eggs. Plus, they only drive 60 miles to sell the meat and eggs to us.

But I'll only eat meat from them, at this point. So then I began to think about my sometimes-meat-eating-vegetarianism. Clearly, by eating meat once or twice a week, I am not a vegetarian. But I wouldn't consider myself an omnivore, either, since I'm being very picky and conscious about what I eat. I decided to make a new word for myself - ecotarian.

I looked it up online to see if it is actually a word. Well, yes and no. In that it is a word that currently exists only online.

From Wikipedia: Ecotarian is a term that refers to the process of selecting food with consideration for all of the various ecological factors plus energy used to produce the food. The goal is to eat in a sustainable way. Sustainability itself is a tricky concept, as there is no end goal to focus on, but rather it is an aim to reduce our environmental impact, our ecological footprint.

And from an interesting-looking blog called Confessions of an Everyday Ecotarian, a nice introduction.

So yes, my ideas are evolving, but I think that it's important to live in a sustainable way, not just in a way that looks like you're conscious (like eating strawberries from Chile in January... but not meat!).

I don't know, what do you think? Just musing here...

4 comments:

  1. Hi Michelle,

    This is Amy whose blog you visited through Angela. The post that I made was sent to me BY A HISPANIC. I am in awe that you are in awe! Especially coming from a proclaimed liberal and ESPECIALLY after reading your highly offensive "An Answer, At Last" post. Yeah yeah yeah, I get it; that it's supposed to be sarcastic, but guess what?? So was that! And I really did find it truly offensive. Who in the heck needs to read that garbage, kidding or not. Oh yeah, and your post about the Prophet. Again, offensive. But you don't have to worry about me because I won't be vising your blog again.

    "You should really think about things before you make a joke out of them, and think about who it might hurt. I'm in awe."

    Seriously!

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  2. Ah, good times. My response is here (http://realmc.blogspot.com/2008/06/oh-my.html) if you want!

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  3. On being an ecotarian.

    Funny, I went through the same thing and settled on that word as well. :) Then I started a blog. I decided since it was such a new term that is destined to become an actual word I was going to add to it's meaning the idea of living with regard to everyone around you -not just eating consciously. It seems like much too big of a word to delegate it only for a manner of eating. What do you think?

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  4. Yah, I definitely agree with you on that one. You can't "eat consciously" without being concerned with everything else going on around you. I absolutely try to walk where I can, buy from local stores instead of chains, conserve water/energy, grow my own herbs, etc. Clearly, it's not something you can perfect overnight. It's a process, but it's the right direction. I'm looking forward to seeing what else you'll add to your blog!

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