Which is better not eating meat or more consumer conscious?
Obviously, the title is a joke, I don’t wish to compare the two, but I have noticed over the past 2 years’ veganism has become more and more popular, which i think is amazing, being more aware for what we eat and how its farmed and killed is so important. I was vegan for about 6 months while I was living in Auckland city in New Zealand. And while I enjoyed it a lot I did have the added benefit of being in a large, well established city with huge amounts of alternative options at my fingertips.
Soon after I moved to a very small village in Greece, with a population of around 1,000 people, veganism was non-existent there and while I tried to keep my meals plant based seeing the way that animals and people living together in a symbiotic relationship like they have done for 100s of years there made sense to me. there are no factories, either for farming or for killing animals. Many of the farmers have been farmers for more than 10 generations, they don’t mass produce animals like we do in New Zealand and its part of their culture.
They personally care for each of their animals and then for their own survival when the animal reaches a certain age they butcher it and waste nothing. My father is one of these people, he lives of the land, he keeps a large vegetable garden as well as keeping 4-5 goats; he makes cheese from their milk and cares for them alone, when one comes of age or gets to old he will butcher it and keep the meat for himself for the year. He also has chickens for eggs. Without these animals my dad would have a hard time getting buy and he looks after them with great care.
When I was traveling around Europe I also met a family who were travelling across Switzerland by donkey, they had raised a mother and father donkey and their calf and they were making a trip across to Italy, when speaking to them it was obvious they had a huge amount of love for these animals and took great care of them.
Another thing I noticed in Molyvos, when you buy meat from the local butcher (there is only one) who is supplied by the local farmers you buy the whole chicken with the offal included, of course you can ask for it with out but it’s usually sold like this. There’s no 10 packet of chicken wings wrapped in plastic on a supermarket shelf. They don’t waste or over process the animals there. They treat them with respect.
During Πάσχα / Pascha / Easter in Greece (usually celebrated during one Sunday in April) the 40 days before Easter they abstain from all animal products as well as oil and then after the 40 days they celebrate by eating lamb, the traditional dish of the celebration is an offal soup with has the liver of the lamb inside, now I don’t know exactly how long they have has this tradition but its more than 100 years old, when I think about real culturally important festivals and celebrations that include meat I can count many, imagine losing all of these… I’m not saying we should all keep eating meat all the time but I’m also not saying we should all be vegan. I have a huge problem with telling others how to eat, and shaming thee for their way of life, we are not all supposed to be the same…there is NOT one way of eating that is going to suit everyone, and if you’re not vegan you can 100% help the planet in other ways.
- Don’t buy leather clothing or supporting companies who use fur.
- Going meat free 1,2,3 days a week whatever works for you
- Educating yourself about what is harming our planet and what steps you can take to reduce your impact on the planet.
- Reducing your dairy consumption
- Reduce your plastic usage including the use of plastic cups and straws
- Making your own products like tooth paste and deodorant and washing tabs to reduce buying ones from the supermarket with excess packaging and chemicals
- Being mindful of power and water usage
- Using public transport or walking instead of using your car every day. Or carpooling
Personally, I really dislike the fact that people shame each other about how they eat, or are abrasive to those who don’t follow their lifestyle. if someone else eating habits are upsetting you to the point you need to shame them or comment negatively you going about it the completely wrong way, it should be about educating each other to make better decisions, you will never win someone over to your side by putting them down or screaming at them, you also don’t know everyone's way of living so before forcing your ideas about how others should live maybe take into consideration their circumstances.. In the same breath I don’t like people who make jokes about animals dying or only be good for meat. I think that is also ignorant.
This article is not to justify or make anyone mad, I am actively trying to reduce my meat intake I just believe that we should all show compassion and respect towards all animals that should include their fellow human beings also.