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the logic of a non-vegan environmentalist

Can you be non-vegan and an environmentalist?


In a recent episode of the Disclosure Podcast, Ed discussed this idea. One of the anecdotes which stood out to me was seeing school students who, after spending the day out of school on a climate strike, finished off at MacDonalds.

On the one hand, I want to say that this is ridiculous, and that the children were only there to avoid school. On the other hand, I really don't think that they can be blamed too much.

Another point that was brought up was about how much Vegans (with a capital v) like to point fingers. Something that interests me is how the internet affects the climate - many "activists" posting their pictures of organic bran, soya yoghurt and blueberries on Instagram have probably never stopped to think about how much energy they are using in the process, how much energy the iPhone they are using took to produce.

Veganism is a beneficial concept, but in practice seems to be filled with very self-righteous people who don't do much to help anything. Naturally, this is not the case for all vegans, but it's a reason why I don't call myself a vegan, despite following many of the principles (I also am just as bad in many respects as the people I'm slamming).

Anyway, back to the point - you can be an environmentalist without being a vegan. You can eat meat without not being an environmentalist. The thing to be condemned shouldn't be eating meat, because that is a part of life. Humans are omnivores, our intestines are too long to be pure meat eaters and too short to be all-in herbivores. Our teeth are different to plant eaters and carnivores. Eating meat is as natural for us as it is for a tiger.

The issue comes from how we produce that meat. Factory farms are the big problem. Massive numbers of cattle producing methane, et cetera, et cetera. When you make something large scale, you lose the depth of the craft of the small scale, and it's this macro meat industry where all of the ethical issues, the environmental issues and so on come from.

You can be non-vegan and an environmentalist, because being vegan is difficult. It's much harder to justify your being an environmentalist though if you still order the big meat option on the menu, don't try and cut down on fast-food restaurants, or even worse try and deny that the meat industry has any impact on the environment at all. Sort yourself out.

In conclusion, vegans should stop shaming everyone, we should stop shaming each other, and we should cut down on supporting the meat industry to the best of our ability.