It’s been a busy weekend, with soccer for First Offspring yesterday as well as visiting some friends on their farm in the afternoon. Today has so far been about sleeping in, eating chocolate chip biscuits and Haribo Goldbears, and drinking tea. My Offspring came in to cuddle me before I got out of bed and they had all made me a card for Mother’s Day (we don’t really do presents in our family for these kinds of celebrations). Now they’re watching a movie, and shortly, I plan to head out for a run with the dog. As far as weekends go, I’m chalking this one up as successful! Hope yours is too. Enjoy the links!
Many moons ago, I decided to be vegetarian for a couple of reasons: I was a student and had little money, and meat was expensive, and also, I realised the environmental cost of raising meat. Since then (and since having our Offspring), I’ve relaxed on what we eat, although we do still eat a plant-based diet, with many days, especially for the Handsome Sidekick and me, completely vegetarian. I appreciate the conviction that many vegans have for their cause, and I absolutely agree that animals farmed for food and animal products can be poorly and inhumanely treated. The industrial food industry has developed to produce food for masses of people on a grand scale, and if we are to change the way it operates, we will need to change the way we eat and our expectations about the cost and availability of our food. However, rather than polarising the debate, I think the suggestions in this article provide a good starting point for a conversation about animal rights, dietary choices and requirements, and pragmatism.
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When I was on my friends’ farm yesterday, we went for a walk with the children down to see the cows, and were talking about the rain we’d had recently, and how much greener the place looked compared to a few weeks ago. The summer here was long and unseasonably dry (summer is usually quite dry, but normally we’d get much more rain than we did). I remarked that it’s so much easier to see your connection with the environment when you’re living close to it – when we were living in the city, water was only a tap-turn away, only the brightest stars were visible, and the air smelt more like cars than anything else. That removal from nature really exacerbates the problems of drought and climate change, especially when we’re looking to supply companies on a national or international scale.
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I think it’s somewhat insane that presidential candidates in the US campaign for at least 18 months before the actual election, and the amounts of money spent on campaigning is just… ridiculous and bordering on obscene, given the many, many areas where it could be better spent, I’m nevertheless interested by Democrat Bernie Sanders throwing his hat into the ring. First, he seems to be very down to earth – if anything a little dismissive – of the media circus which surrounds the likes of Hilary Clinton, but I also appreciate his commitment to the environment. But I wonder if Americans, used to the glitzy campaigns of other candidates, will take to this approach, or if Sanders will simply get ignored. And if Sanders were to get elected, how much would he have to compromise, given the very strong lobbying power of the fossil fuel industry?
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Finally, on Mother’s Day, perhaps it’s not only a moment to think about your own mother, but the reasons why people choose not to have children, and the sometimes hostile reactions they face. I found this article, as well as the comments, really interesting; the Handsome Sidekick and I did not stumble into having children, and were at one point, considering not having any, given the huge environmental cost of each human on the planet. Then we went on to blow that out completely, by having four. Hmm. In any case, I hope that we are heading in the direction, as a society, where having children is a choice rather than something of an obligation, and that those who choose not to are not dismissed as selfish or immature, but are instead respected and valued for it, in the same way we respect and value others who want to reproduce. Surely that’s not too much to ask?