My favorite chapter in this part of the book was chapter 5, Down on the Farm: Geographies of Animal Parts. It made me feel like I was reading “Eating Animals” all over again. I’m not really sure how I felt about rereading the part about the inhumane acts towards the animals- It was reassuring in a weird way because it reinforced my renewed vegetarianism; However, it was sad (not surprising) to remember how horribly the animals are treated. Urbanik poses a few questions at the end of the chapter, one being: Can you be an environmentalist and consume CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operations) products? From a strict environmental point of view I would say no. It doesn’t make sense to be against a product or act but then support it by buying or consuming it. That would be hypocritical.But then aren’t we all a little bit? I try not to support CAFO or factory farming, but sometimes it’s a struggle. That would make me un-environmental then wouldn’t it? I can accept that. It’s funny how people can get a new hybrid car, shop locally, and reduce waste, yet still consume factory farmed/CAFO meat. The two concepts just don’t mesh.
He also asks the question: In a previous chapter we discussed the problem of pet overpopulation. What would you think of sending surplus dogs and cats to places around the world where they are consumed as a form of recycling? Thirty minutes before I read this question I saw a dog and thought of this exact same thing. It weird to think that in other countries its totally normal to eat dogs. At my dads house I eat pretty “weird” things according to a typical American, but I don’t think they’re weird because I grew up with it. I think as long as the same thing or even better than how we manipulate and treat animals for consumption in our very own country! If people knew what was going on behind the scenes at factory farms then maybe eating dogs wouldn’t be such a bad sounding idea in their heads. If I had a pet cow I sure as hell wouldn’t want to eat it, but since I am distant from it I am more likely to eat them. It’s all about how we have been conditioned to think. If you think about it, American do things that would be weird from a different cultures perspective. Here is a list that I found on an article about 93 things weird things american do.
- HUGE portion sizes of food.
- Flags everywhere. EVERYWHERE.
- Wearing the flag as a bikini.
- Price tags without tax included. “How do you know how much you’re spending until you get to the cashier?”
- Tipping is confusing.
- Advertising for prescription drugs, as in “ask your doctor for brand x.” In the U.K., “your doctor tells you what drugs you should take, not the other way around.”
- Everything being designed around cars.
- The “sheer amount” and lack of quality of TV commercials.
- Aerosol cheese.
- Americans saying “oh, really?”, which to us is a way of saying “Interesting, can you elaborate?” In other parts of the world, that phrase is generally meant to imply that what they’re saying is being challenged.
- Toilets that are too close to the floor and have “massive gaps around the door so that people can see in.”
- Pickles given with everything.
- College football players being treated as celebrities. They are “students that do an extra-curricular activity.”
- Jaywalking is a crime.
- The bread in the U.S. is very sweet.
Another one of his questions is: What makes it so difficult to consider widespread adoption of a plant-based diet? I think its because of tradition! I also think America is part of this traditional aspect as well. As an american you NEED meat in your diet- duh. Traditional American BBQ’s are focused on hotdogs and hamburgers- one can’t argue with that. We also tend to traditionally buy a Turkey every year at thanksgiving, a Christmas tree on Christmas, valentines day presents for loved ones, eat corned beef and hash on St. Patricks day. But if you ask any average American why they do these things they will say, “because its tradition.” Well the environment doesn’t benefit from tradition thats for sure. I am part of this culture as well– I am a traditional american sometimes, so I guess I’m not an environmentalists in that aspect either. So back to the question, it would be hard to make most people eat more veggies because people like meat and they have been raised by a culture that includes it every single meal. The sad part is is that this American meat culture continues to grow. This just reminds me of fast food. I always remember meat as fast food for some reason- which is kind of scary that my mind wouldn’t think of a traditional farm setting right away. It’s just disgusting how most people live today.
We all know that our landfills and the stuff in it isn’t getting any smaller. When people recycle, a study shows that we tend to recycle flat paper instead of crumpled paper. Our brain tends to “instinctively miscategorize” paper objects when they change size, shape, or appearance and tend to throw them out with regular non-recyclables. Three individuals at Boston University did a study on the environment and behavior. The way our brain works is by categorizing objects on a simple level to be able to get around in the world i.e. friend vs enemy, big vs small, circle vs square etc. When it comes to trash, our brain categorizes crumpled paper as trash and flat paper as recyclable- weird. Our brains work in strange ways.
I am meeting with Gene at 11:30 tomorrow morning to discuss plans for possible funding resources. Hopefully the funding can be part of his idea that will go along with the reusable containers and dishwasher idea. It seems like things are moving in the right direction.
“Let’s meet next week and brainstorm on this. It is very likely that we will get a new dish machine and I am working to figure out where to pull together the funds to purchase a supply of green reusable containers. That would be a far more beneficial focus to reduce landfill waste, but we can look at the spork idea and see how that can fit into the overall plans.”