Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A little less means a little more: Meatless Monday, Week 5

Last night I went to dinner with my friends Karen and Steph. Steph was already well aware of my Meatless Monday pledge, as we went to New York together, and that was plenty of quality time for me to ramble on about sustainable fish and reducing your carbon footprint by giving up meat one day a week, etc., etc. Karen, on the other hand, I haven't seen in awhile so this was all brand new territory for her.

She, of course, said the obvious thing I knew she would say because I've thought about this *problem* myself -- that what's the point? If the non-sustainable fish (or any other animal for consumption) is already caught, killed and prepped, if you don't eat it, someone else will.

I think in some distant past of mine, I used to make this same argument or at least come to this same conclusion for myself. For instance, if my dad makes a meat-ful meal on Monday, and I don't eat it, it'll eventually be consumed by him or my brother or even myself on Tuesday, so how does this equate to a reduction in meat consumption? For that particular problem, I reasoned the way I eat and the way my brother eat (i.e. a lot), I am giving him the chance to eat my meat-ful portion, which means he won't have to cook or buy something else containing meat for another *extra* meat-ful meal.

So if I use that theory stretched to wider consumer demand, I do feel my little decrease of demand can make a difference. In theory, at some point in the chain, there will be an *extra* helping of meat for someone else to eat and thereby they won't need to consume or purchase another portion, thus reducing my carbon footprint.

As an aside, yesterday was the first week since I started Meatless Monday that I had seafood too instead of just vegetables and grain. It was just shrimp, which is sustainable.


Anonymous said...

I understand your thought process, however, the question now is...Although you are reducing your carbon footprint, another person is increasing theirs. Thus, in the equation of the two; by them balancing out yours or consuming even more than they would originally, would that not in turn defeat your purpose :D?

Love you Cheeky!

Heather Li said...

Technically, they're not increasing theirs unless they eat twice as much as they were originally planning to in one meal.

So let's say 2 steaks are available. My brother eats one for dinner and saves one for me. If I choose to eat it, he'll cook and make another steak the next day for lunch. We will have bought a third steak that week.

But if I just eat the vegetables, he will have what was supposed to be my steak for lunch the next day instead of cooking/buying a third one.

It doesn't work out to a perfect balance all the time obviously. Some days my brother WILL eat two steaks in one meal, but that's not the point of giving up something. Nothing is ever going to work out as a perfect balance. You just do what you can to help out -- and even if someone *cancels* out your effects, it doesn't make your personal contribution less significant or meaningful.

And of course, it's the idea that if everyone just reasoned, "Well, someone else is doing this *bad* thing so I might as well too," but why should I be apart of that when I feel/know I can do better?

Every day the world is changing and societal attitudes are changing; and I believe in that change. I believe my actions can affect people, in ways that maybe are not always obvious or immediate.