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8.16.2011

what i want to hear those politicians talk about for this upcoming presidential election.

i'm on my third attempt at brewing a pot of coffee this morning.

i put in the grounds, the filter, turned on the light and upon returning to pour a cup...i had forgotten the water.

so i turned it off, put in the water, gave it a minute...never turned it back on.

now it's on, there's water, and i'm still waiting. let's hope the third time really is the charm.

i tell you this in warning. if it was that hard to get a pot of coffee going this morning then, well, i'm really not sure what might come of this rambling post.

okay, here goes:

i am not a foodie. i count this as a blessing. i am not a person who tastes the gradations of good in food. once it's good, i'm set. i don't taste the subtleties beyond that. i realized this upon a visit to tom colecchio's restuarant craft. i sat with five friends around a massive wooden table and watched and listened as they made sounds and faces usually reserved for the bedroom. this is soooo goooooood they crooned. and i sat there thinking, yeah it's good. it's good, but...hmmmm. tell you the truth? i was far more interested in the rustic decor and the simplicity of the dishes--the fine, local ingredients that had been sourced.

i've been a vegetarian for coming on two years now. few things can i say with such pride. (though i must admit that every once and again someone i live with throws bacon on the stove and the smell infiltrates every crevice of our apartment and i can barely contain myself. i'd give it all up for just one slice of that stuff, i think. but i haven't--not yet, anyway).

food is fun again. for me, it is fun. after so many years of it being anything but, it is suddenly fun again. there is a challenge to the art of eating locally. to eating well and wholly. to reducing the amount of oil used in getting the food to our table. we are a nation of gas guzzlers. i think we can all agree on that. so we talk about riding bikes and commuting together and taking public transport and we pass judgement on those with unnecessary suv's (oh, you don't do that, it's just me when i'm home in texas? hmm. well, okay). and all of those things are good and right. but i don't hear too many people talking about all the oil that we guzzle in getting our perfectly packaged, hermetically sealed foods. consider the following:

americans put almost as much fossil fuel into our refrigerators as our cars. synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides use oil an natural gas as their starting materials, and in their manufacturing. but getting the crop from seed to harvest takes only one-fifth of the total oil used for our food. the lion's share is consumed during the trip from the farm to your plate. each food item in a typical u.s. meal has traveled an average of 1,500 miles. in addition to direct transport, other fuel-thirsty steps include processing (drying, milling, cutting, sorting, baking), packaging, warehousing, and refrigeration. energy calories consumed by production, packaging, and shipping far outweigh the energy calories we receive from the food. if every u.s. citizen at just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week.   (animal, vegetable, miracle...page 5)

when i was really sick, really in the throws of an eating disorder i was accused by more than once of being terribly selfish. and i was. it made me into an entirely different person--a terribly, unbelievably selfish human being and that is something i have to reconcile myself with day after day.

but we americans, we're not doing much better, are we? we want it and we want it now and we're entitled to it. forget the impact on oil consumption and those multitudinous political ramifications, forget the impact on the environment--in fact, why think about those things at all?

we cast off environmentalist as radicals or tree-huggers and we blame big-oil for much of the world's problems, all the while demanding more of it, more oil.

before the catastrophic bp oil spill, does everyone remember the exxon valdez spill? of course you do, it's been a watchword for years, a warning, a catch-all for the harm the oil industry rails against the environment day after day. but in 1995 smithfield (america's leading pork producer) spilled more than twenty million gallons of lagoon waste [pig shit] into the new river in north carolina. the spill is twice as big as the iconic exxon valdez spill six years earlier... smithfield was fined $12.6 million, which at first sounds like a victory against the factory farm. at the time, $12.6 million was the largest civil-penalty pollution fine in US history, but this is a pathetically small amount to a company that now grosses $12.6 million every ten hours. (eating animals...pages 178-179).

every ten hours. wow.

why am i blogging about this this morning? i'm not sure. i guess because i feel like not enough people are. children are getting fat. and people are dying from obesity related illnesses. and all the while we're depleting the environment at a terrifying rate. so shouldn't we all be talking about this? shouldn't this be what the 2012 election is about? shouldn't this be the hot-topic issue?

one meal. one organic, locally grown meal a week and we'd reduce the united states oil consumption by 1.1 million barrels per week. that's easy. one meal? that's nothing. there are things we can do. steps we can take. we just have to get off our fat asses (literally) and do them. and demand the government make it possible.

25 comments:

jorjiapeach said...

yes. yes. yes. well said girlfriend.

marissa (stylebook) said...

AND you're vegetarian?! i like you even more! it's been almost 12 years since i've eaten meat and nothing is more fun to me than veg-cuisine. i'd love to pick your brain about your favorite ny vegetarian restaurants! i'm there all the time and have some absolute favorites. and dude, everyone should read eating animals. if only to melt over the sheer love he feels for his baby before its even born. sigh.

Andrea~CrowNology~ said...

13 years without meat...And bacon is still sadly missed...Much like being an ex smoker me thinks...
;)
xo

Caitlin said...

Bacon has never been my thing, but I would definitely give it all up for a juicy hamburger. And it scares me to see that even after a few years that craving stays. Great post.

Erin said...

i admit that sometimes it is very difficult for me to take in everything that you say here, meg. but by the end of your post, i do feel a bit guilty... for being a spoiled american. then again, i feel proud that i come from a family that home-grows quite a lot of our food and buys other things from the local farmer's market. so thanks for putting me in my place sometimes. i think we all need it.

Erin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Malin said...

Excellent post, thanks for raising this issue!! :)

by r. said...

yes yes. eating animals is such a great book for the eye-opening facts it delivers. i've been a vegetarian for two years now too, but i still have so much more to go. i've recently been buying organic produce when i can and trying very hard to stay away from too much processed flour product. it takes so much time and attention, but i do think it's worth it to eat better.

Jenni Austria Germany said...

you are a woman after my own heart.

as if we didn't already know this.

The Lewicutt's est 2006 said...

I'm in the business of capital raise. And to raise capital, you have to sell. And to sell, they say, you say things in easy, effective, repeatable sound bites.

Like this: "one organic, locally grown meal a week and we'd reduce the united states oil consumption by 1.1 million barrels per week."

That's a flooring statistic. Easy, repeatable, and even moreso... doable. A challenge that every household could afford, and a challenge that could start a movement.

Miss E said...

Lately I feel as though you are speaking just to me in your posts! x

Ms. Wood said...

Well said....love this post.

forward [e]motion said...

so perfectly said, meg!

i feel that something that is really taking off (well, slowly spreading, at least) in my neck of the woods (australia) are school community gardens. i honestly think that if we want the goal of one organic meal to eventually become a more-than-once-a-week-affair, we really need to get a love for growing and raising food to be common practice amongst kids!

bel. xx

Anonymous said...

Your post is came across snobby IMO. It's easy to sit and write about issues that are important to you, but your solution us not realistic. The majority of Americans live in povery and defenetly cannot afford to buy organic locally grown food.

There are other pressing issue that need to be addressed such as immigration and debt.

Emily said...

Amen! Love this post and funnily enough I just posted about food too! We're in sync! This is a crucial issue that so often gets pushed aside - although I do admire the First Lady for bringing up the topic of food in this country more than ever before. I hope that this issue is given more attention in the next election.

Keep writing your incredible thoughts, Meg! xoxo

ktb said...

Beautiful, lovely and so true! This is important, and I, like you, feel that our food habits are so easily cast aside and forgotten about as we try to make important changes in the world. But where could be a more basic place to start? I just blogged about my choice to be vegetarian a bit ago: http://ktbstriving.blogspot.com/2011/07/veggie-lover.html

And a friend of mine put up this TedPrize speech by Jamie Oliver that I think you'd love :) (and the person who thinks poverty is a reason not to eat locally and healthfully is right and wrong-- they should watch this too!!) http://ahlinrg.blogspot.com/2011/08/wish.html

Thanks!!

a day with kate said...

Such a good, though-provoking post. I couldn't agree more!!

Mocha Mornings said...

Amen, a million times over.

Erin {pughs' news} said...

I feel even better about my recent decision to become a vegetarian! And I'm happy to say, as well, that I made a salad tonight with lettuce and snap peas and herbs from my own garden. If only the tomatoes were ripe!

Demi said...

Meg i can not agree more with you, you couldn't have said it any better. It feels very healing inside to know that there are people at our age who think like this and want to see a change.

xoxo

Rachel said...

Amen. Next post: Stop destroying America's public education system (or specifically Texas', I'm looking at you and your budget cuts, Rick Perry)

BuoyantlyBlithe said...

preach it, girl!!! I totally agree. I love organic/locally grown food. C'mon America... one less meal wouldn't hurt you (nor would one less at McDonalds..)

Sonja said...

This is so so so true! (and I mean it can be said for Canada too). It's incredible how everything is connected too isn't it... our health, environment, affect on animals, obesity..... there are so many things that could be solved (or even at least imporved) if we all thought this way and really tried to live this way.

Kirsten Dahlhauser said...

please move to seattle and be my friend. thanks:).

nancy said...

absolutely so very important. your posts on this topic coupled with my innate love for food and my recent obsession with Jamie Oliver have got me thinking more and more...