teaching kids about the environment

The thing about the Boy Scouts is that there’s a lot of good in it with teaching kids about survival skills, cooking, respecting and caring for the environment, and other useful skills, but it’s overshadowed by its militarism and overall conservative Christian culture

I listen to Björk’s “Biophilia” and imagine an accompanying children’s educational program with abstract and surrealist imagery matching to the music in order to teach kids about the environment, philosophy, creationism, cosmogony, etc! And all the children live! new age Schoolhouse Rock on shrooms

anonymous asked:

if i remember correctly you said you were vegetarian/vegan before but went back? why did you go back? sorry if youve answeared this before.

This is  a complicated issue that I still wouldn’t say I have a 100% confident stance on.

My reasons for going veg were primarily health- and environment-related. There is plenty of research out there that demonstrates the health benefits of reduced-meat and vegetarian diets, and plenty of evidence that points toward the world’s current meat production and consumption practices being unsustainable. What I learned about these topics was enough to make the choice for me.

I do think about animal rights as well. I’ve read Peter Singer, I’ve watched factory farming exposés, I’ve meditated on the meaning of suffering… While this would all play a part in my decisions, I personally do not have the same convictions about this issue as I do about the previous two. But I do struggle with it. How does one weigh an animal life against a human life, or against the life of an animal of a different species? Is a net reduction of physical pain really a meaningful thing to aim for? What do we make of animals who prey on other animals?

I do consume animal products now but to say that I “went back” would be an oversimplification. The time I spent as a vegetarian and especially as a vegan had an immense impact on the choices I’ve made to this day, and I still maintain a primarily vegetarian diet in anything I eat at home.

My reasons for opening up to consuming animal products again were:

1. Pragmatism.

While I would like to believe that not eating meat my whole life would save a significant amount of carbon emissions, to really do good on the environment we need to take steps to make change on much bigger levels - legislation, education, culture. Ordering fries and a salad instead of fries and a hamburger is not going to make a huge impact. We need to teach our kids about the environment, make healthy options available (or blatantly unhealthy options not available?), support organic farmers, vote with these issues in mind, etc.

2. Pragmatism, part 2

I used to hope that perhaps my dietary choices would spark meaningful dialogue about the benefits of veg life. While I did experience some people warming to the idea, overwhelmingly it just led to misunderstandings and walls going up. Which leads me to…

3. Gratefulness.

Food is a blessing. A home-cooked meal is a gift. I once heard a vegetarian scoff about a roast chicken (thankfully not at the person who prepared it) “I can’t watch them just eating this carcass.” Kinda not cool.

I don’t impose my beliefs on other people, I don’t believe that eating meat is inherently wrong, and I don’t have any food allergies, so when I’m a guest in your home I don’t take it upon myself to ask you to change anything about how you cook.

If the scrooge-veg attitude were taken to its logical conclusion it wouldn’t be just about animals or not animals - what about the ethics involved in the rest of the meal? What distance were these avocados shipped? Was the woman who picked these coffee beans paid fairly? Does your household have an energy-efficient dishwasher? Just imagine someone asking you if there’s anything you don’t eat and your reply being, “Yes, please don’t use any ingredients that were grown outside of a five-kilometre radius of your home, or on land that could have been more efficiently used for a different crop.”

Now, I have no problem with vegetarians who have chosen to be stricter and let their hosts know. If you’re on a particular diet and you have good reasons for it then I would hope you could communicate it nicely and that it would be respected. That’s just not the place where I am.

4. Culture.

Going along with my last point, this recent Hank Green post pretty much sums up what I’d want to say about this.

As I said. Complicated. But I’m really glad you asked; I think these are important things for everyone to talk about and think about. Please reply/reblog/pm if you want to add anything!