[WARNING: vegan rant imminent]
Moderating my outspokenness about the link between diet and the environment is becoming more challenging.
Environmentalism is as in vogue as its ever been. Leo has broken the Hollywood mould and gone all in with his new climate change doco, Elon Musk is an absolute baller and activewear nature-grams dominate the Insty feed.
Yet somehow, so many people I see refuse to acknowledge their diet as a critical point where they could make a difference.
Increasingly I’m finding myself less compromising to these people. Less willing to make excuses for individual circumstance, less willing to grant particular exceptions when it is in fact simple hypocrisy in broad daylight.
Fourteen months have passed since my own shit-the-bed moment of awakening. Cowspiracy was just one documentary too many, and as soon as that knowledge entered my brain I had no choice but to immediately switch to a more ecologically-sound, vegan diet. Knowing the information, I wouldn’t be able to live in clear mind and good conscience were I to simply continue my current eating habits regardless. I can’t tell myself I care about the environment and continue to contribute to something so damaging. Simple.
I resolved from day one to avoid the egomaniacal and outspoken stereotype I was sure to be branded with, and make sure veganism remained something I kept to myself. Recently however, my willingness to continue in silence has begun to wear thin. Everyone says they are an environmentalist, but in my head the obvious response is “So you must be a vegetarian then?”. I never actually say this, the faux pas isn’t worth it when the answer is inevitably ‘no’.
No Rolls, they might not know what you know. And they almost definitely don’t think as simply as you do. Regular people live lives of complexity. Mouth shut.
But you never meet anyone who says they don’t care about the environment. Maybe it’s old age (I’m turning 25 on Sunday) but I’m faster seeing through the bullshit, ever less patient about the people who say they care, but don’t bother to educate themselves or actually do anything.
I never begin this conversation, but it can be hard to avoid. At some point I always field the inquiry as to why I have chosen the diet I have, and I’m pretty black and white about it.
Invariably the ensuing conversation goes as follows:
ROLAND: “So do you ever think much about the environmental impact of your food?”
PERSON-FOOLISH-ENOUGH-TO-GET-ROLAND-STARTED-ON-THIS: “Yeah, a bit”
R: “Yeah I just learned a little too much about it to not react to it, I’m not sure I’d sleep at night if I still ate meat and dairy, knowing how much it fucks up the environment”
PFETGRSOT: “Yeah. I’ve heard about it all, I just don’t want to watch it because I’m afraid of what I’ll see”
R: (fucking dumbfounded but trying to keep social peace) “Yeah right, fair enough I guess” (???)
Far out it looks even stupider when it’s written down. It looks too stupid to be a real conversation, but you’d be very surprised how often I’ve heard this, and from a shitload of different people. People who know about the problem, know there is information relevant to them and intentionally remain ignorant of it.
I just don’t get it!!! How can you wilfully live in ignorance of something so important? And then continue to ‘worry’ about climate change? And tell people you care about the environment?
Good grief. My brain just does not work that way. Sometimes I wish it did. It would make life a hell of a lot simpler. To be able to compartmentalise anxieties with such ease, free up some brainpower for more enjoyable thoughts. And all for the sake of sheer inconvenience, avoiding at all costs the mental fuckery that makes people morbidly afraid of change.
Whatever. I can’t force anyone to do anything, I can’t even tell them to do anything. But my conscience is quieter knowing I make environmentally sound decisions. And at the end of the day, me is what counts.