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Posts Tagged ‘Magazine Articles’

Ingrid Sums It Up

December 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Ingrid Newkirk, president and founder of PETA, is often characterized as radical and maybe even irrational. I tend to avoid using PETA rants and tactics when I talk about being vegan, but this American Chronicle op-ed from Newkirk struck me as a great roundup of all the ways going vegan benefits not only animals, but ourselves and our planet as well. She quickly covers all the things most critics of vegetarianism don’t even consider at first: all the environmental impacts of an industrial meat-eating diet. From water pollution to climate change to ocean disruption, she hits all the key issues in this little article. It is not angry or exaggerated. To me, this seems to be an accurate summation of all the issues I have learned about in my vegan education, which I try to get from non-PETA sources for authenticity. The issues she speaks of are being covered more and more in the NY Times, CNN, Time, and even Oprah. I see this article as a great thing to bookmark of you want to have a quick guide to the environmental benefits of gong vegan.

It shouldn’t be news anymore that the most important thing that we can do for the planet is not to use less holiday gift wrap — it is to go vegan. That’s because it is impossible to be a meat-eating, milk-drinking environmentalist.

– Ingrid Newkirk

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“What we know about eating animals is that we don’t want to know.”

November 20, 2009 2 comments

This quote comes from Elizabeth Kolbert’s thoughtful review of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals in The New Yorker. Foer’s book is getting a ton of publicity, it seems, and it is a very exciting time for vegans like me. By virtue of his hipster-approved novels and his combination of intellect and youth, Foer has shown that he has the power that many vegan freaks wish they had: the power to get more people to pay attention. I could blog about modern food problems until I was blue in the fingertips, and so could the rest of the vegan blogorazzi, and none of us would have the influence that he has. I am very happy to see it happening, but book tours and press junkets end after a while. We will have to see if interviews on Ellen Degeneres’ show and reviews in The Onion and New Yorker will merely start the conversation, or actually create a new movement towards veganism and vegetarianism. I hope Foer’s book is coming at the right time.

I want to believe that there are a lot of people out there who have thought a bit about the source of their meat. The sad thing is that most people choose to believe that if a burger can legally be sold to them for a dollar, everything with the system must be fine. These people do not choose to think about the power of corporate influence, the economics of how meat is created so cheaply, or maybe even the fact that a cow had to live a short horrible life so they could get a little salt-induced dopamine spurt. Like Kolbert said: “What we know about eating animals is that we don’t want to know.” Those who don’t want to know probably will not be part of the conversation. They are often the same people who say that eating meat is a god-given right and pleasure, or reduce the whole argument to “I have canine teeth, therefore I am supposed to eat meat.” Argh, it bugs me to think about the ignorance, so lets move on. Ignore the ignorant.

So, what about the people who do want to know? This is where we can get some hope from Foer’s book. There are potentially millions of new vegan converts out there, right? I mean, there has to be. Modern grocery shoppers increasingly care about organics, food-born illness, fair-trade, etc… So why not animal rights and corporate justice? For me, the biggest reason to go vegan was, and probably always will be, the satisfaction of removing myself from a system that repeatedly deceives us and corrupts everything it touches. To me, the food/agriculture industry is more evil than any of the bailed-out bankers, Big Tobacco, or Big Oil. I imagine there are a lot of people that hate being lied to as much as I do. Hopefully this book will make more veggie-leaning thinkers out there take the next step and do the right thing, just like Natalie Portman did (she became vegan after reading it).

I am simultaneously excited and frustrated by the transparency provided to us by the information age. The internet and investigative journalism should be giving us the truth that all the evil corporations are trying to hide. Unfortunately, that promise of transparency isn’t living up to its potential. Until our society at large decides that it is important to know where our food comes from, we cannot expect a high enough level of snooping around by do-gooders to make a difference. This is why I believe it is important to read (and buy) newspapers and magazines that do a good job. Those passionate journalists can’t find the dirt if they don’t get paid for it; at least not as effectively. This is also why I plan to read Eating Animals as soon as I manage to scrounge up the money.

Jonathan Safran Foer is a Vegetarian

October 14, 2009 Leave a comment

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The author of Everything is Illuminated has a new nonfiction book out called Eating Animals which explores vegetarianism. Foer recently adapted an article from that book to contribute to the New York Times‘ food issue of it’s magazine. Read it here.

Jonathan Safran Foer’s website.

Water Footprint

August 27, 2009 Leave a comment

Man, I hate to get this blog started off with a bunch of negativity, but I just remembered this article in Mother Jones about water footprint, and I had to get something about it up here. The subtitle caught my attention; something about a pair of jeans taking over 2000 gallons of water to make. We are all so caught up thinking about carbon footprint lately, and think we’re being green by taking shorter showers, but you have to think a bit deeper on this one.

You can calculate your water footprint here. Think positive.

TIME Gets On Board

August 27, 2009 Leave a comment

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A few months ago, the excellent documentary Food, Inc. came out in a few theaters nationwide. In my hometown of Denver, it was playing on one screen in the entire city. It was a super-interesting film about the food industry with a lot of the concepts covered in books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Fast Food Nation, plus a whole lot more. I was so happy to see such a well-made film asking the questions I have asked and sparking the viewers’ sense of right-to-know curiosity without being nasty and judgy. A big movie is a big step towards helping people see the light.

But today I saw something on the newsstand that might be even bigger: TIME magazine has a cover article about the same stuff. It is a good read, so check it out. Hopefully a lot of people will glance through and realize that they should be thinking about why food is so cheap, and why it might just be worth it to spend a bit more dough on food that is actually good for you.