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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Ezra Klein's had a number of good posts lately on the high environmental and social costs of Americans' meat-laden diets.

Most recently:

Bacon is transcendent. The words "porterhouse" and "steak" make my mouth water. Pork belly makes me simultaneously believe in God and doubt my own religious tradition. And because of this, I'm not a full vegetarian. But I should be. And not liking liberals don't change the truth about meat: Industrial agriculture is cruel, meat production is a huge contributor to global warming, and the market for meat contributes to world hunger in a substantial and direct way.
My come-to-Gandhi story is almost exactly opposite, which is why I think it's been relatively easy for me to stay vegetarian for a decade: my vegetarianism originated in a visceral distaste for nearly all meat, with the eco-awareness and smug self-satisfaction turning out to be just nice bonuses along the way.

In general I'd say the emergence of flexitarianism is one of the better and more important memes to emerge out of last decade or so, though at this point I've completely ruined myself for anything that's recognizably meat-based. And it's unlikely flexitarianism could have worked for me, anyway; as anyone who's ever watched me try to make any sort of lifestyle change knows, the only workable strategy is total, unbreakable taboo. Eighteen-year-old me attempt to eat less-but-still-some meat would have resulted in my eating nothing but McDonald's Chicken Nuggets, which had been a big part of the problem in the first place.