We seldom realise that our thoughts and emotions are not actually our own, but which were given to us by our society.
With access to so much advertising, social media, news and a wealth of information we are increasingly making our decisions based on algorithms i.e. our thoughts and decisions are being made for us whether we are consciously aware of it or not.
I believe that this is reducing our ability to think critically about problems.
It is creating a culture of ignorance.
A culture devoid of taking responsibility for our actions and the choices we make.
A culture where political correctness and not upsetting the apple cart is the norm.
But this has a significant impact on our health and quality of life.
And someone has to fight back and stand up for our quality of life.
The question of what we should eat to reduce our devastating impact on the environment, while also reducing diseases is one of the most important challenges of our time.
My former career was all about environmental sustainability and reducing climate change.
However, the focus was mainly around our energy system and moving to more renewable energy.
Government policy relating to climate change prioritised this.
Whilst this is very important, it’s ignoring the elephant in the room.
Animal agriculture has a significant impact on the environment.
For example, one in nine of the world’s population – almost 800 million people – go hungry, whilst enough grain to feed up to 3.5 billion people is fed to livestock.
Deforestation is also occurring at an alarming rate with the World Bank estimating that animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction.
Moreover, the University of Oxford completed a large study stating that avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest thing we can do to reduce your impact on the earth.
And an Australian study backed by a defense chief and royal navy commander states that human civilisation will collapse by 2050 if we don’t take urgent environmental action.
If this wasn’t enough, the world health organisation has declared some red and processed meat to cause cancer.
And this is before even mentioning the ethics of animal cruelty in a society which normalises the killing of 150 million animals every day just to satisfy our taste buds.
Yet, despite these facts, every time I would attempt to highlight the issue of animal agriculture in my previous career I would be shut down.
I would be faced with blank stares that made me feel like I’d just said aliens have landed on earth.
Then there would be the usual rationalisations and excuses.
It’s not really mentioned in government policy.
We are designed to eat meat.
It’s too sensitive a topic to challenge with the public.
It’s not ‘politically correct’ to tackle animal agriculture and we don’t want to offend people.
What you eat should be a choice.
I like the taste.
The real reasons we don’t take action
The statistics are staggering. Yet these excuses and rationalisations trump all rational and logical statistics.
Nobody wants to address this issue head on.
I think it’s down to several reasons;
- Eating meat and dairy is not just normalised but praised in our society. Many people care about their status and want to fit in to what’s considered normal. This makes any attempt to highlight the issue mean you are fighting an uphill battle before it’s even started.
- Many people are addicted to animal products. They love the taste. When someone is an addict they try to make excuses and rationalise their actions and end up being in denial about this issue. Humans are hardwired to become very defensive against anything that goes against their worldview.
- We live in a world where political correctness trumps truth. Therefore, anything that goes against this politically correct normal is portrayed in the media as something that’s radical and extreme because it goes against the status quo. Therefore, the scale and urgency of the challenge is disregarded. Also, these terms have negative connotations which puts people off taking action and realising how important it is.
- We live in a world of consumerism. This has made the education system focus on creating a nation of workers. This means we grow up learning how to remember things and be productive, but are not be able to be creative and think objectively and critically about an issue.
- The animal agriculture industry is a very powerful lobby and campaigns to promote eating meat and dairy as normal and necessary. This leads to misinformation on the nutritional need for animal products. This leads to confusion and uncertainty which again leads to inaction.
Do you feel like it’s necessary to reduce your meat and dairy consumption?
This blog is about awareness and improving your health.
Without a good quality environment i.e. land, air and water, we will not be able to sustain a good quality and healthy life.
And animal agriculture is clearly a key cause of environmental destruction.
So the real question is: what’s more important to you – your taste buds or the quality of life and health of the environment that your children and future generations will have?
That’s what it comes down to.
And I don’t think it’s about going 100% vegan or anything overnight. It might be difficult for you to go fully vegan or give up certain animal products.
It’s about looking at the evidence, realising there is an issue, not living in denial and trying to make some positive progress and find some balance.
For example, do you feel like you could have a red lentil bolognese or bean chilli instead of beef?
This may not seem like a lot, but it can have a significant impact on improving the quality of the environment we live in and the quality of life future generations will have.
You may agree with this post.
You may disagree.
But at least ask yourself the question, why do you agree or why do you disagree?
What people and experiences have influenced your decision?
Where’s the independent, scientific evidence to support your decision?
Asking these types of questions is key to self reflection.
And self reflection and perspective are key to raising consciousness, becoming more aware of the world we live in and the actions we all take.