For a while now, I’ve been trying to figure out ways in which I can contribute to a LARGER, SOCIAL CONVERSATION OF CHANGE from my little corner of the internet.
We all know that food is a common denominator that brings people together, irrespective of race, creed, age and wealth. It’s why I love it so much. But now that we’re all gathered here together, around food, CAN WE COLLECTIVELY DO MORE?
A few years ago, my husband and I were hosting an old friend and his fiancée for a weekend. After dinner, we gathered around the coffee table and began talking into the long night; with like-minded friends, conversations flow like butter on a hot skillet. We inevitably began discussing the recent presidential election, the blatant racism, sexism and hate bubbling like sewage from the nation’s cracks, decades of social progression being undone, and how terrifying this new reality was when my friend said something that changed my world. He said, “Now more than ever, I enjoy meeting people whose opinions differ from mine, because I want to hear their side of the story. YOU CAN’T FIX SOMETHING WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT THE PROBLEM IS”.
For someone like me who desperately tries to avoid arguments, conflicts and hides behind familiarity, this was a new concept; one that suddenly made a lot of sense.
And it made me look back at some of the conflicting opinions that have CHANGED MY LIFE FOR THE BETTER:
“But you can’t fix climate change with fake chicken. Although the 21 billion cluckers around the world consume vast amounts of crops and choke waterways with their manure, their impact is dwarfed by the 1.5 billion head of cattle. It takes about 9,000 calories of edible feed to produce 1,000 calories of edible chicken and 11,000 calories of feed for 1,000 calories of pork—a far cry from the 36,000 calories required for 1,000 calories of beef. More important, cattle and their ruminant cousins—sheep, goats, buffalo—produce geysers of methane during digestion. One molecule of methane traps 25 times as much heat as a molecule of CO2, so each cow produces the annual GHGs of a car driven about 9,375 miles. Per pound, that’s eight times more than chickens and five times more than pigs.”
Even though I’ve never eaten beef or pork in my life, I lived 29 years consuming dairy products and poultry. After reading this, I spent a year coming to terms with these numbers, and before I knew it, I was living a plant-based life, fueled by this simple rationale: On a planet where the ever-growing human population is running out of resources and crowding out the diversity and stability of our ecosystem, the land used to farm the food for our food is better used to farm our food directly, isn’t it?
#2 My brother-in-law who was visiting us from California in 2017 was alarmed at how all our grocery stores here in Georgia issue free plastic produce and grocery bags. While I bring my own grocery bags to the stores, I was still using an awful lot of plastic produce bags. I hadn’t realized there was a problem until someone pointed it out to me (and until then, I had always prided myself on being environmentally conscious for bringing my own reusable grocery bags!). We always miss the things that are right under our nose, simply because we’ve been trained to unsee it. So I started taking a good hard look at all the things in my life that I never questioned before. It’s what got me started on my reduce waste journey.
I’m sure there are more instances, but these are the two most significant ones.
I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the people (and resources) who’ve CHALLENGED MY PERSPECTIVE. And I know that I’m still changing, evolving into the person I was always meant to be.
Now that we’re all here together, let’s keep the conversation rolling – I want to show you my perspective on life, and I want you to show me yours in return. If I’m wrong, change my mind, because I want to do better than I’m doing right now.
I’m sure you do too…
Note: By clicking ‘Enter’, you confirm that you are 21+ years of age.