Under the heading of ‘ethics,’ the perrenial druidry course asks us to think about our impact during this moon. As part of that Orr suggests this: ‘Be wakeful to the rubbish you generated that is taken to landfill sites,‘ and I think that’s a great idea. (Also, I’m a big fan of the word choice ‘wakeful’.) The thing is, best I can tell, it’ll take some time before I can get a tour of the landfills / recycling centers in my town. (It seems they like people to come in groups of five to fifteen. Just me might not be enough.)

Until then, the course has made me re-examine something else I’ve thought about often: my diet.

Though I often flirt with veganism — indeed, anything I cook for the family is vegan — I’ve never drawn a line in the sand and said I will not eat any animal products. After all, the wife does a lot of cooking. And, in restaurants, what should I do there? Still, it was midwestern American water politics that drove me away from animal products (that, and reading The China Study) and I think I’m going to take the opportunity of the Star Frost moon to commit to a lower-impact diet.

Thinking about this, I did a lot of what I euphemistically call ‘Google research.’ And, of course, the topic is hotly debated, even among Druids, if this OBOD forum thread is to be believed. In doing all this, I became aware of the term environmental vegetarianism, and like having a label I can stick on it. Because, I still have leather shoes and it seems ridiculous to replace my shoes (thus causing more impact) in the spirit of reducing impact. And the term includes the idea that I’m not going to be a meat-is-murder person (never was, but nobody likes those people and I’m afraid of standing so close to them that I get painted with the same brush).

The details.
Maybe I’m a bit too legalistic about this, but if I set a goal for myself, I like to be clear on when I’ve reached it. And so, from the time from the first of January (when we traditionally change) through going to visit my family in the summer (when I’m not going to have much impact on the cooking) I’m resolving to be a vegetarian. That means, theoretically, eggs, dairy and fish are okay, though I’d like to think that I can be vegan during the ‘working week’ and only surrender to such temptations on the weekend (when we tend to want fancier meals).

Stop reading here.
Really, beyond this point I don’t say anything new. I just wanted to list a few resources that really helped inform my decision to make this step.

  • “The consumption of animal products contributes to more than one quarter of the water footprint of humanity.” That’s from this website, which is named Animal Frontiers and might not be entirely unbiased.
  • This table, on the other hand, is from a website called Waterfootprint.org and it seems to back those findings up. What really wowed me here was how much water (over 1600 liters/kilogram) goes into the grains I enjoy so much. Wow.
  • Though my initial interest in vegetarianism/veganism was inspired by water waste, I did look for a comparison of how much energy goes into each type of food. This graphic surprised me, mainly because of how much energy goes into dairy and eggs. Another good reason to stick to veganism, I suppose. (Note: The graphic is in BTUs. I know what they are in an academic sense, but they’re very hard for me to relate to the way I can calories or watts, so . . . I don’t know.)

Live in Dresden?
If you live in or near Dresden and want to visit the trash removal company’s facilities with me, let me know! Otherwise, I’m going to begin trying to drum up a group of five who would be interested.



One thought on “Ethics: Impact

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