Saturday, May 28, 2016

The danger of veganism

Over the past few years, I have become convinced that you can eat a vegan diet that is mostly healthy, while minimizing your carbon footprint and contributing less to animal suffering.

So that is a good thing.

Still, I was always a bit uneasy about the whole thing.

The problem is, veganism has a name. A cutesy (though somewhat stupid), easy to remember name.

That makes it incredibly easy and seductive to change your diet (as hard as that is), and then to think, that's it, now I've got that whole ethical lifestyle thing down.

Where there's a name, people like to identify with it. People don't incorporate veganism into their lives - they ARE vegans. That's dangerous business.

Just do a youtube search for veganism and try to determine how many channels there are, just about that one topic.

The truth is, of course, that nutrition is only one part of a much larger set of issues. You will never have that ethics thing down, because that is an ongoing process, and you will always have to weigh the proposed benefits against your convenience, your resources, and your preparedness to actually change yourself.

You will never live a perfectly ethical life. You will never reduce your footprint to absolute zero. As long as you are alive, you will produce suffering.

So now you don't eat meat. But you drive a car. Or maybe you don't own a car, but you use public transport, and then there's that rare instance when you call a taxi. And that money you have in your bank account? You can be sure that some part of it will be invested in a company (which will invest it in another company, etc), and somehwere down the line it will end up in some field office of the mafia. You can try and buy your clothes from some "fair" company, but good luck checking their actual practices, and better luck not buying any gas or electricity that has any bad impact.

You will always have your hands dirty. It's unavoidable. That is the one catholic teaching that I, strangely, agree with.

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