ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
[personal profile] ecosophia
Emerson quote...it just hit the news that a Norwegian billionaire, Gunhild Stordalen, who bankrolled a big campaign to convince people to eat a mostly meatless diet to save the planet, spends her time junketing around with her friends to exotic places around the world in her own $26 million private jet. I don't happen to know exactly how many bacon cheeseburgers it takes to equal one of those flights, but I'd be willing to bet that it's a pretty substantial number. 

Now of course it comes as no surprise that some privileged person wants everyone else to change their lifestyles so that she doesn't have to; that attitude is far from rare these days. What I find encouraging, though, is that people are finally starting to point out the hypocrisy involved in this sort of thing. I quote one Christopher Snowdon at the Institute of Economic Affairs, who noted: 

“The hypocrisy of this is breathtaking.This is a campaign telling ordinary people they should be eating less than half a rasher of bacon per day for the sake of the environment, while the patron is flying people around the world in private jets creating one enormous carbon footprint. This is a classic case of do as I say not as I do."

And of course he's quite correct -- and until privileged environmental "activists" realize that they're not leading at all until they start leading by example, we're going to see a steadily growing number of people ignore everything the environmental movement is trying to say. As one of the great underground comics of the Sixties used to say, "Hear the sound of my feet walkin' drown the sound of my voice talkin'..."
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It hurts when it's people you know...

Date: 2019-01-26 06:52 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ripsawridge
Breathtaking is the right word. People around me are always getting on planes, going to exotic locations, renting Winnebagos once there. "Have you been to Patagonia yet?"

No, and I never will.

"Have you been to the Himalayas yet?"

No. I live surrounded by beautiful nature and culture already. Why would I put extra helpings of coal and oil into the fire? I want to say to them: you people are young and I want to admire you for the potential you have, for your energy and smiles. But the gulf between words and actions is just too damn high.

I have a friend who is a member of the Green Party and on a city council. How many times over the years have we discussed the necessity to find the joy and depth in your own backyard?

Didn't matter. The whole family went to Thailand last summer.

I'm grumpy because I can't even usefully contrast my friends with those scintillating peacocks on the world stage. Can't I have that one thing? Grr.

Re: It hurts when it's people you know...

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Date: 2019-01-26 07:57 am (UTC)
drhooves: (Default)
From: [personal profile] drhooves
She seems to enjoy the privileged lifestyle of the elites, that's for sure. Makes me ashamed of my Norwegian ancestry, as well as a stark reminder of my own transgressions - several trips to Europe and Hawaii, including business travel on corporate jets around the U.S. The hypocrisy of creating a huge carbon footprint in spite of knowing the environmental impact is an easy trap to fall into. Sort of the like the diabetic who swings by the dessert bar at the lunch buffet.

Leadership by example was one of the primary tenets emphasized when I stumbled through Officer Training School, and along with integrity forms the basis of gaining respect. People like Ms. Stordalen motivate others to consume bacon cheeseburgers, since that crime pales in comparison to hopping a jet to Marrakesh for the weekend...

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Date: 2019-01-26 08:34 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] booklover1973
I read recently in the German online science magazine "Spektrum" about an environmental-friendly diet which all 7 billion people would have to adopt to save the environment. Was this the diet that you mentioned? It is quite breathtaking to contemplate that anyone could even assume that it is possible to bully all the inhabitants on Earth on every continent to change their diet. And then there is the fact that even in cookbooks which purport to propagate simple, cost-effective diets, the recipes are of a certain complexity with more or less exotic, not-everyday ingredients included.

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Date: 2019-01-26 09:38 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Bacon wrapped Turducken anyone?

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Date: 2019-01-26 10:57 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I was recently invited by a friend to attend a seminar he was organizing on the topic of "green thinking". That term turned out to be very appropriate, because it soon became clear that everything "green" was indeed confined to the world of thinking.

At the seminar we talked about cognitive dissonance and how to overcome it. The example they used was that of the environmentalist who rationalizes to himself it's okay for him to fly. After the seminar I thanked my friend for the discussion and asked him what he was going to do in the evening. He told me he was going home to book a flight for his holiday in Turkey!

Apparently he saw no contradiction in this. As Upton Sinclair said, "It's difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." My friend wasn't getting any salary, but he was winning the approval of his professors and the cute girls in his class! This incident convinced me that the proper attitude to the academic environmentalist scene is to stay as far away from it as possible.

Best,
Olof from Sweden

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Date: 2019-01-26 11:00 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I saw the same point being made in Norwegian media about the meeting in Davos.

The Cheese is good!

Date: 2019-01-26 11:46 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hi John Michael,

I manage to eat quite well and that usually involves about half a rasher a day, which is normally consumed when I eat elsewhere and off the property. At home I try to eat as much from the garden as humanly possible. People get funny though if I tell them I'm vegetarian, so I just go with the flow and eat whatever. And most vegetarian food purchased from restaurants is not really that good – probably because it isn’t straight from the garden.

Mate, we just had record breaking heatwaves down here. It was not good at all, and yesterday was extraordinarily horrific and it could have left me being homeless due to the extreme and bonkers fire risk. You don't have to tell me about global warming, I live that stuff. Sorry I'm grumbling due to fatigue, I guess.

A charity mugger from Greenpeace once tried to shake me down for some mad cash to help save the Great Barrier Reef. It's a worthy cause, and I spoke with him about all the stuff I was doing and concluded by pointing at all of the traffic and shops and people and remarked that: 'Mate look around you. None of this stuff is sustainable'. And then, here's the kicker, he said to me: 'I feel sorry for you'. Wow. I walked off as my time was better spent elsewhere.

People like their stuff and they always plead special circumstances. It is what they do.

I thought you were enjoying your holiday? Hey, the cheese down here is very good. For the last Green Wizards visit, we bought a huge chunk of King Island Dairy Vintage Tasty. And during lunch, a lot of which was provided by the garden, I noticed the cheese was being consumed at a goodly rate. I didn't taste any myself that day. And when I did, I went far out this stuff is good! So yeah, the Shoggoths would be very happy. :-) Hope they don't like blue cheese, as my palate is not sophisticated enough to keep that stuff on hand! :-)

Cheers (I think? Maybe?)

Chris

Environmental hypocrisy

Date: 2019-01-26 12:52 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I guess it's one of the main reasons why environmental movements the world over seem to be gaining zero traction...

Alas, the Institute for Economic Affairs must be having one good laugh as they are well known to promote economic growth at all costs and defending the idea that the best way to preserve the environment is to privatise it altogether...

Karim

Weekly wednesday posts?

Date: 2019-01-26 12:55 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
John,
Since the Dec 26 post which contained your regular review and prediction, you have not posted on the general ecosophia site as far as I can see (I'm a subscriber)

Will those posts resume at any time soon, ir do I need to go to this dreamwidth site to read what you have to say?

Been enjoying and propagating your analyses for several years. Have on clue whoat those choices in from mean, but I do not like to communicate anonymously
Cheers
Jerry Silberman ajs805phila@verizon.net

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Date: 2019-01-26 02:18 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
To tie in with the recent turn of the residual conversation on the blog, I noted her invocation of morality at the end of the piece. My diet is subject to her morals, but her travel is not...apparently. I hope that more people continue to comment on the gaps between words and action like this. We might see change come out of it.

David BTL

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Date: 2019-01-26 02:51 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Let's see... The number of (food) calories in a bacon cheeseburger is going to vary wildly depending on how exactly the restaurant is preparing the cheeseburger, but I've consistently seen values of 500-900 kcal. Of course, we aren't talking about nutrition here, but about the energy needed to actually *make* the bacon cheeseburger in the first place.

Suppose our bacon cheeseburger has a 1/3 lb. beef patty. According to https://www.treehugger.com/green-food/energy-required-to-produce-a-pound-of-food.html (source 1), beef production is 1176 kcal/lb so this patty required 392 kcal to produce, plus the energy needed to transport it from the ranch to the restaurant.

Pork production is 480 kcal/lb (source 1), but the couple of strips of bacon that turn a regular cheeseburger into a bacon cheeseburger weigh much less than a pound. A typical bacon cheeseburger probably has 2 half-strips (i.e. 1 strip) of bacon on it, and it's 16-20 strips of bacon to a pound (source 2: https://www.thespruceeats.com/bacon-equivalents-and-substitutions-1807458), so we'll take the medium and call 1 strip bacon = 1/18 lb, i.e. 27 kcal production.

Cheese production is 1824 kcal/lb (source 1) and weighs 0.6 oz/slice (source: https://www.reference.com/food/many-ounces-slice-cheese-14dc65ec1efe34b6). Let's assume this is a particularly cheesy cheeseburger and has 2 slices' worth of cheese on it = 1.2 oz = 0.075 lb = 137 kcal production.

So the bacon, beef, and cheese in the burger require 556 kcal of energy to produce. Of course, we still have to account for the buns, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, and mayonnaise, but these being the vegan components of the burger, we'd have to eat them anyway, and we are interested only in the marginal cost. Let's double this energy figure (to 1112 kcal) to take into account the transporting of the animal products, since odds are we're sourcing everything from monocropped Big Agriculture ranches rather than everything from the same local family farm.

Now for the airplane: The article JMG linked cites that she has a Bombardier Challenger 350. I couldn't find fuel stats for the 350 but Wikipedia has them for the 300, at 1,007 L of jet fuel per hour of flight time and a cruising speed of 850 km/h. This equates to 1.185 L/km. Jet fuel is approximately 35 MJ/L = 41.5 MJ/km, which means that if she is flying from Oslo to Marrakesh (3,436 km per Google Earth), the *one-way* flight costs 142,594 MJ = 34.1 million food calories, doubled to 68.2 million because the guests have to return after the wedding.

- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_economy_in_aircraft#Long-haul_flights
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombardier_Challenger_300
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jet_fuel

Divide this by 237 because that's the number of guests = 287,800 food calories/guest *each way*, which is more than 250 bacon cheeseburgers' worth of food production (per guest).

Gallivanting around the world with only herself and husband in tow would take even more calories per capita, since now you're only dividing by 2.

- barrigan

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Date: 2019-01-26 03:15 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] auntlili
And on the other hand, Greta Thunberg: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7dVF9xylaw

Which do you think is worse, a hypocrite like Gunhild Stordalen, or someone who uses her existence as excuse to do nothing? To be honest, I don't see a penny's worth of difference between them. One irritated middle aged crank to another, I'm tired of excuses, no matter who is making them or what their class affiliation. There will always be hypocrites, but doing nothing in a crisis because other people are shameful is shameful.

Sorry, I've just come home from the farmer's market where everything is in plastic. And I didn't buy any of it. Loudly. Grump grump.

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Ohnosecond later...

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Date: 2019-01-26 03:29 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Perhaps it's telling that she was diagnosed several years ago with an auto-immune disorder called Systemic scleroderma. While it is unknown what actually triggers these types of disorders (genetics seem to play a roll in who is the most susceptible), missing nutrients from the diet may well play a big role. You just don't see these types of illnesses in people who eat traditional foods, except maybe once in a blue moon. Sounds like Ms Stordalen is her own worst enemy.

Excuse me while I go shopping for some locally raised bacon....

JLfromNH

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Date: 2019-01-26 07:05 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Good to know the UN has given her a platform to lecture us from. I noticed in Dublin lots of vegan ads. Wonder does she bankroll that?

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hypocirsy

Date: 2019-01-26 07:26 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ritaer
Similarly the January issue of the Sierra Club magazine lists dozens of sponsored trips to areas of scenic beauty. But what is the impact of flying to Vietnam or Bhutan, Costa Rica, Kenya,etc.? I sometimes see this sort of thing justified with the idea that if city people get out in the wilderness they will be more interested in preserving it. And I realize that it can be persuasive to say to a subsistence farmer "don't kill the elephant that just destroyed your crops because the rich people who come to see the elephants will spend much money, enough to compensate for your maize." But if the wealthy of the world want to preserve the elephants they could just pay the villagers to be elephant rangers and spare the environment the resource costs of their travel.

Meanwhile Mt. Everest is cluttered with the garbage of climbers. And human bodies--literally 'turn left at the guy in the blue parka.'

Re: hypocirsy

Date: 2019-01-26 07:48 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The thing about that is that those farmers won't see any of the money, so why should they care?

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Date: 2019-01-26 09:08 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Looks to me like she's following in the footsteps of her pal and role model Al Gore...

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Date: 2019-01-26 10:19 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I'm a recently elected municipal (like county, I guess) councillor in a region where the municipalities are trying to decide whether to join the lawsuits against fossil fuel companies to seek damages to help pay for infrastructure to mitigate climate change (seawalls and the like). The largest city has said yes - seeking their legal councils advice to proceed - while the rest of us have yet to. The general public opinion is basically 'but they'll just pass on their costs to the consumer anyway, won't they?' and 'but then why is the Mayor still flying to China to boost our export industry which relies on oil?' 'why sent we don't or own post which profits from exporting coal?'. I've been vocal so far against suing - do all the other climate emergency stuff! Divest! Reduce! Localize! Whatever. Just don't waste money on this, it's a waste of energy at best and polarizing at worst. Polarizing is the worst thing. I've changed a couple political minds, but made many more angry... or just feel lost and demoralized about what to do that is right...

Part of me wants to join the hopey train, but I just can't see how it would help, even if legal opinion did shift. Unlike with segregation or big tobacco, the oil industry *hasn't been the only one profiting* by causing emissions, we all also have.

I've been wracking my brain all night trying to find a third way - a way to get money redistributed from people profiting the most from misery to increase resilience for our cities and towns, but that isn't staggeringly hypocritical. The problem I've realised, is in the solution... Our cities are not sustainable even barring climate change, making them last longer is not protecting human habitat either. That realization just helped me make some budget decisions for our upcoming deliberations too...

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Date: 2019-01-26 10:56 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I came across the news of this new diet in an article on the Guardian website that included a sample weekly menu which followed the new "guidelines". Remarkably, the local British staples of lamb, fish, cheese, potatoes, etc. were rare, but more than one meal contained avocados, which have to be shipped in, mostly across the Atlantic. It looked like a bunch of hipster food to me, a lot of fancy salads with too many ingredients, and then some buttered toast now and then as if it were a "treat".

Needless to say, when I later read about who all was behind it, I wasn't surprised.

I've been grateful to be in touch with some young agriculturalists who are strongly backing sustainable, pasture-raised meat and dairy alongside scaling back the big grain monocultures. It boggles the mind how people are grasping on to exotic salads but don't see the sense in local meat and potatoes, and I honestly blame Instagram (and other social media) and how these billionaires' lifestyles are heavily promoted without any criticism or analysis. Maybe this news will spark a turn-around somewhere.

Avocadoes

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Revealing portraits

Date: 2019-01-26 11:10 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I confess to taking a malicious pleasure in the many photos of Ms. Stordalen and her hotel mogul husband reveling in their lifestyle of conspicuous consumption. Their air of self-satisfied triumphalism rivals that of Mr. Toad while driving his favorite stolen motor car. The Mirror did a fine job of using these to good effect.

It wouldn't be that hard for a handful of ecologically-minded celebrities to model a fairly sustainable lifestyle, but I'm not counting on it. I think that at this point in history our culture is adamantly determined to drive itself right off the cliff.

Kevin

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Date: 2019-01-26 11:12 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Somehow I'm not surprised. Our culture is filled with people who missed the concepts of Emerson's quote, or "actions speak louder than words", or "you are your deeds", or that brilliant gem "what you contemplate you become".

DJSpo

Two cents from up north

Date: 2019-01-27 11:53 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
(Sven Eriksen)

As Ecosophia's resident Norwegian, I'm sad to say what a complete nuthouse this country has turned into. The virtue signalling of the privileged is blasted at top volume from every possible venue. There really is no escape anywhere. What is of course prevalent at this stage of the collapse of the welfare state is the "virtue signal tax", which works like this: Every day at prime time some overprivileged talking head appears in the media and demands that ordinary working people must be forced to pay some absurdly high tax to be allowed to engage in some ordinary basic human activity like eating food or going to work because said activity is immoral (and it's immoral because it's being done by ordinary working people, of course). The tax should of course be used to fund expensive government programs that make privileged liberal talking heads feel good (through more virtue signalling). Factor in that Norwegians already struggle with the highest cost of living in the world, which is justified by the need to keep up a welfare state that no longer actually exists (at this point the state is increasingly unable to provide even basic services nor upkeep of infrastructure). Every physical good and service you'd care to name is being declared morally evil in order to justify society's increasing inability to provide them despite you being forced to pay for them. The collective resentment here is now nearing Weimar levels...

Now two questions come to mind. The first is what is it that the privileged hope to gain by trying to force everybody to partake in their virtue signalling? After all, if everybody did it, it would be useless for signalling class, which is after all what the purpose is?

And second, is the increasingly psychotic behaviour of the privileged a sign that on a deeply subconscious level they sense that the end of their existence is drawing near, like the monkey with its hand in the trap getting increasingly stressed and so desperately keeps on doing what it's used to doing with more and more frenzy? (Yeah, that was my favourite ADR post ever...^^ )

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Date: 2019-01-27 06:54 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] smwils1
Maybe off topic, but what's with the scar/growth on the husband's side/rib cage? What is that?

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it's a tatoo

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Date: 2019-01-28 03:31 am (UTC)
exalhel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] exalhel
I'm currently reading 'Call of the Reed Warbler' by Charles Massy, which is a book on sustainable agriculture with a focus on Australia. It seems that with careful management of the land, nature can support and even thrive with livestock. Livestock can even be used to help regenerate degraded soils. The key seems to be to mimic the natural behaviour of large herbivores by keeping them in tight 'herds' and not giving them access to new pasture until the grassland has matured.

I can't see how replacing a monoculture of cows with a monoculture of (undoubtedly GMO) lentils is going to help that much.

I suspect a lot of the push for a meatless diet is that the top 1% want to keep the world population growing indefinitely without total environmental collapse. If people are having less children, it means less people in the future to buy iphones and that means less profits and the whole ponzi scheme starts to collapse. Monocrops of GMO grains however can cheaply keep the masses from starvation and are profitable to boot.

TreeFrog / Aaron commenting

Date: 2019-01-28 04:58 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
At age 38 and having gone 18 years without a car, made my travels by train / bus, and only eaten fish about once a month and bird on the odd Thanksgiving, the hypocricy disgusts me. However, as we’re shouting these people down, hopefully the fact that wasteful jetsetting and industrial meat production do actually deserve condemnation isn’t lost. I know you would agree JMG, but this brief post may not have made that clear, as at least one commenter seems to have mistaken.

Otherwise the impression could be all veg-heads and bike riders are grandstanding hypocrites, therefore ecological responsibility is never anything but an authoritarian hoax.

Don’t get me wrong, I try to keep a damper over my virtue signals, as the mere admission that I prefer to avoid meat (or sight of me on a bike) is enough to trigger defensive reactions. But if you don’t state your position time and again, people will continue to try and foist it on you, and take great offence if you refuse. I show up for family dinners and they think it’s a compromise to prepare fish every time, like they could NEVER even consider having a vegetarian meal just once. I never asked for the fish, and I don’t need them to cook for me, but they don’t get it (like, hellooo, there’s a reason growing vegetables is my occupation) so I’ve started to decline and it’s been going over like a lead balloon.

Anyway, I’m ranting, and it all feels hopelessly ineffectual as a form of activism, but at least I’m not corrupting my temple with that stuff, and I can look myself in the mirror.

And I love rice and legumes! practically subsisting on them this winter!

Thanks JMG for your thoughts as always. Be well (=

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-28 02:44 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] smwils1
Guess you could say her status signalling cancels out her virtue signalling. LOL
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