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My vegetarian environmentalist roommate

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  • My vegetarian environmentalist roommate

    The other day was a major face-palm moment. My vegetarian roommate (who is also an environmental studies major- oh the irony!) and I got on talking about conservation and the environment. The topic of cows and grazing came up and she began to talk about how eating cows is bad for the environment because the wheat fields that are created for the cows damages the land. And oh how she was adamant in her assertions. I agreed with her that grain-fed cows were bad for the environment, but not grass-fed, and she reluctantly agreed. I then proposed "well then wouldn't it be better for the environment if we not purchase grain products and grain-fed meat rather than to just stop eating meat??".... She looked dumbfounded as though that was some sort of tainted alternative, thought about it, nodded her head 'yes' then changed the subject... all while eating some whole grain crackers. However, I don't think any light-bulbs went off because she still eats an abundance of grains and gives me that patronizing look when I make grass-fed bacon.

    I'm still working up the courage to give her my copy of 'the vegetarian myth', but I am afraid it might ruin our friendship... Meat it always a touchy subject between us and usually avoided but she is considered more 'credible' by our other roommates and friends because she is the environmental studies major.


    Thought I would share to see if anyone has similar stories or situations and maybe get some emotional support :P.
    Last edited by terrax; 11-16-2010, 01:20 PM.

  • #2
    You are describing me, a year ago. I am in environmental law, and I was a veg for 18 years for (primarily) enviro reasons.

    I'm guessing you guys are at most 20 or so, and as I recall, when you're that age, you don't want to hear much advice from other people - you want to do your own thing! But The Vegetarian Myth + The Primal Blueprint are the two books that turned my life around. She probably won't appreciate and/or read the book you give her, but you could leave a copy lying around. I guarantee you, sometime when you're gone, she'll pick it up and have a look. I would have. And don't expect her mind to be changed right away. It may just plant a seed. It took me a year after reading Veg Myth to give up my veggie ways. Depends on how long she has been a veg, though. Leave the PB lying around too.

    One thing for sure: wheat/corn/soy agriculture is by far the most destructive force on the environment. Greater than deforestation, greater than cattle ranching. Eating pastured meat is generally less environmentally destructive (if it's locally raised) than eating that wheat cracker.

    One more suggestion: Give her a book called "Rewilding the West," by Richard Manning. It's all about the destruction of the Great Plains, and how enviro groups are trying to rebuild them. They want to reintroduce bison to the newly restored native grasslands. When bison graze native prairie, they actually improve conditions for endangered animals that would naturally be part of that ecosystem: black-footed ferrets, prairie dogs, foxes, migratory birds. It's an inspirational book, and really got me to thinking how if we could get Americans to prefer pastured bison meat to beef, we could support a completely restored native prairie that would no longer need to be plowed under to grow grains for ... cattle (and sometimes us). Plus of course bison meat is so much better for you than wheat crackers.

    Good luck! But my advice is, don't push. Veggies like to come from a place of moral superiority (speaking for myself, at least) so trying to undermine them that way will earn you nothing but a more rigid vegetarian. Logic is what finally persuaded me - I bet the same might be true for her.

    Last edited by jazmin; 11-16-2010, 01:41 PM.
    ~ Ex-Herbivore Goes Carnivore: Jazmin's PB Journal ~

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    • #3
      But my advice is, don't push. Veggies like to come from a place of moral superiority (speaking for myslef, at least) so trying to undermine them that way will earn you nothing but a more rigid vegetarian. Logic is what finally persuaded me - I bet the same might be true for her.
      +100 I was a "born-again" vegetarian for 14 years...takes some of us awhile to see the light, LOL!
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      • #4
        Originally posted by jazmin View Post
        One more suggestion: Give her a book called "Rewilding the West," by Richard Manning. It's all about the destruction of the Great Plains, and how enviro groups are trying to rebuild them. They want to reintroduce bison to the newly restored native grasslands. When bison graze native prairie, they actually improve conditions for endangered animals that would naturally be part of that ecosystem: black-footed ferrets, prairie dogs, foxes, migratory birds. It's an inspirational book, and really got me to thinking how if we could get Americans to prefer pastured bison meat to beef, we could support a completely restored native prairie that would no longer need to be plowed under to grow grains for ... cattle (and sometimes us). Plus of course bison meat is so much better for you than wheat crackers.
        They are doing this in Africa as well. Can't find the link right now.

        There is also a book that basically debunks all the vegametarien propaganda about the damage animal farming does to the environment. Can't remember the title.

        Big help I know. Perhaps a little Google-fu...
        Don't be a paleotard...

        http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nut...oxidation.html

        http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nut...torage-qa.html

        http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat...rn-fat-qa.html

        http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nut...-you-need.html

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        • #5
          The title of this thread should be a sitcom, at the very least a comic.
          I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by iniQuity View Post
            The title of this thread should be a sitcom, at the very least a comic.
            lmao.

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            • #7
              i was vegetarian for a decade, but i never 'bought' the environmental stuff. pastoralism just made more sense, environmentally speaking. i was vegetarian because of sauchic yoga practices.

              anyway, when i moved to NZ, i was hungry. I would eat meat about once a week, and i finally decided to just de-label myself and see what i wanted to eat. Then, Dragonfly up there started posting this stuff, and it just made some sense. And my husband was pretty much already there, and my baby definitely so, and here we are.

              I think that the book above (Rewilding the West) and similar will go a long way, and also just leave your primal blueprint around. People tend to look at things that are around.

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              • #8
                Factory farming and worldwide meat consumption is environmentally unsustainable. That being said, I am going to do what is right for my tribe. Fuck the world. Very primal, no?

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                • #9
                  Speaking from professional experience, cattle ranchers are some of the best friends of sensitive species in California (goat and sheep ranchers too), along with politically incorrect hunters, fisherpersons and military bases. (Rice growers too, but they are politically correct.) Without these allies, sensitive species would be in much worse shape.

                  But I agree with the others. Don't push it. Friendship is more important than winning arguments.
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                  Primal Blueprint Explorer My blog for people who are not into the Grok thing. Since starting the blog, I have moved close to being Archevore instead of Primal. But Mark's Daily Apple is still the best source of information about living an ancestral lifestyle.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Lojasmo View Post
                    Factory PETROCHEMICAL BASED farming and worldwide GRAIN FEED BASED meat consumption is environmentally unsustainable. That being said, I am going to do what is right for my tribe. Fuck the world. Very primal, no?

                    Fixed that for your

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                    • #11
                      Gosh, this really resonates for me, as in the last year or so, since (mostly) cutting grains from my diet and ramping up my consumption of meat/healthy fats, I've had many a conversation w/ friends re: the transition and my rationale for it. And while my ppl have been, for the most part, willing to hear me out, they've certainly shown their skepticism. I'll admit that, oftentimes, the 'uphill battle' of the deal (re: addressing friends) makes me avoid the topic altogether, which is something I've felt some guilt about in the past. Like I'm not doing my part to educate folks/help their health and overall well-being.

                      Related: anyone read this book? Stumbled upon it the other day, looks promising (and I love the poet-naturalist-essayist-more Wendell Berry, who contributed the foreword).

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jspradley View Post
                        Fixed that for you
                        Ha! Nice one. Exactly what I was thinking.

                        terrax, any update on your roommate?
                        ~ Ex-Herbivore Goes Carnivore: Jazmin's PB Journal ~

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                        • #13
                          My partner got one of his vegetarian work buddies to start converting just by taking the Vegetarian Myth to work and reading it on break. His friend asked to borrow it, read it, and started to change his diet. You might try just leaving those sorts of books around the place and see if she reads them.
                          “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

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                          • #14
                            Your roommate sounds more than normally flexible for a vegetarian environmentalist.

                            Leaving the books around the place is one approach. You might also take one point after another from Lierre Keith, and just slowly talk it out with your roommate the way you did pastoralism, in a very mellow and accepting manner. If she has more or less agreed to almost all the points, individually, then the book mightn't be such a blow to the solar plexus for her.

                            I also think that Lierre put the book together in the wrong order. I think that starting with "the nutritional vegetarian" section works far better than her chapter order.

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                            • #15
                              Leave the books in the bathroom. They'll get read.

                              The Vegetarian Myth is pretty easy to discount as unhinged ranting, sadly. Heck, I agree with most of it & I still had strong urges to throw it across the room before I finally gave up.

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