My confession: I’m a lapsed vegan.
I was a vegetarian for a long time, almost five years, and then a vegan for ten years or more after that. I stayed vegan right up until I bought my own farm and it seemed crazy to buy tofu from China while we had our own organic lambs in our own farm, barely a few feet away.
So I became a meat eater again. What started as a “only our own meat” exercise gradually became an “all meat” thing, and before I knew it, I was an omnivore again.
Now I’m not one to criticise other people’s diets any more, although I certainly used to be that way. Maybe being a meat eater again has helped me gain some perspective. I hope it has. I hope I’ve mellowed.
But I can’t help thinking that maybe, just maybe, we need to start eating less meat again.
Maybe the hard and fast lines aren’t helpful. Maybe we need soft lines, soft focus, and an understanding that judgement and rules aren’t useful for anyone.
Maybe the way forward is to be kind – to ourselves, to others, as well as to the planet.
I love food, and I’ve come to really enjoy my meat again. But I can’t help thinking that we’re all eating way too much of it. Humanity’s endless lust for protein is killing not just the planet but us as well.
I’m hearing about the way our fisheries are collapsing.
I’m seeing the way dairying is killing our river systems here in New Zealand.
I’m seeing and hearing the way cattle are destroying the Amazon, which used to be the lungs of the planet.
I think we all just need to take a breath, own the damage we’ve done, and recognise that our diets are a significant factor in all this.
I think we need to change.
So I’m drawing a line in the sand. I’m going back. Not to veganism again, not yet. But to being vegetarian during the week, and to leaving meat for weekends instead.
It’ll require a re-schedule of our rotational menu, but I think we need to do this. Two days of meat should be enough for anyone. We can also have meat on birthdays or special events, if they fall in the week. But I think reducing our meat intake won’t hurt us, and will probably make us healthier.
That’s what I’m going to do. Because the only way to be the change in the world is to make the change we wish to see.