Today is an auspicious day to start a blog. It is the inauguration of a new president for whom I did not vote. But it also feels like a good time to inaugurate my own world paradigm. To say hello to a new world order where I DO more about diversity, economic equality and environmental and social justice, not just talk about it. A time when "those-of-us-who-care" should put not only our money where our mouths are, but our time, our energy and our commitment.
And so...this blog. This blog, for reasons which I hope will become obvious over the course of my first few weeks of blogging, is our attempt to be more active in speaking out. I have blogged before - for Forbes for many years - and although it was a platform for discussion, it also felt a little like I was selling my soul (ever wonder what they pay all those bloggers who generate content?? Not much of anything it turns out).
But what does this have to do with "less meat"?
As a journalist who has covered food and agriculture for more than fifteen years, I can honestly say that, in my not-so-humble opinion, limiting the amount of meat we eat (while also improving the quality) is arguably the most important, and easy, thing we can do to help each other and the planet.
Meat eating causes climate change. It ties up valuable crop land which should be used to grow a healthier diet for the now almost 7.5 billion of us. It concentrates resources and power into the hands of very few companies who dictate what happens in the global food supply chain. Additionally, most of the animals we eat live in inhumane circumstances, and those who take care of them are more likely to develop untreatable diseases. And because the industry is now so large, and so many crops are planted simply to feed animals, this often results in growers and ranchers who are dependent upon a complex system of loans, subsidies, insurance, payment plans, commodity contracts and the like, simply to survive.
Yes, not eating meat is an even better option. But many who eat meat regularly, particularly in the United States, do not see vegetarianism as a lifestyle change they are willing to make (even if they see meat eating as a problem in the first place). Humans are omnivores after all, and although we are not necessarily built for eating it, we socially, culturally and perhaps even physically crave it. Weaning Americans off meat slowly, or, at the very least, cutting our meat consumption dramatically, will put meat back where it belongs in our diet - as an expensive delicacy used sparingly and appreciated for its delicious flavor, texture and ability to satisfy our bellies.
So, this blog will be one of the small acts resistance I hope to inaugurate into my life during this climate-change denying, fast-food-loving presidency. I hope it will also inspire you too to start a new form of activism for you, or to celebrate that which you already do each day to make this world a better place for all. Maybe it will also be a way some of you can learn to eat in a new and important way.
John will offer up the meat-loving, less-meat recipes we have created in our home. The recipes will feature meat as a condiment, as a spice, as a way to make you feel more satisfied and full.
He will also discuss his background growing up in Iowa (his dad ran one of the first hog confinement facilities in the state - more on that in coming weeks!), his experiences as a butcher and the importance of eating "less meat, better meat."
I will attempt to explain many of the important reasons for cutting back on meat consumption, including the impact our eating has on poverty and the environment. We will also feature the work of others who are also slowly building the case for less meat.
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Beth + John