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This is my 4th year taking part in the Earth Hour, a global event aimed at raising awareness about sustainability issues.  This year, I have decided to write a daily post during the month leading to the event in order to share some thoughts about the environment and give tips the little changes we can make in our daily lives.  There will also be some guest posts by fellow bloggers who will share their own views on a topic related to the environment.  You can read my introductory post here and access the Earth Hour website here.

I encourage you to comment and share your own tips, ideas and experience.  In the last couple of days before the event I will do a few posts about what readers had to say.  I believe we can learn a lot by sharing!

Vegetarianism and veganism are topics that might come up when talking about the environment, and Steph actually mentioned it yesterday in her wonderful post about our love for the planet.  I am neither, yet it has come to my attention that many have become so as a sort of political statement.  I must admit that I am sitting on the fence here and my opinions might appear as not clearly defined.

I understand vegetarianism a lot more than I understand veganism.  If we follow Steph’s thought, vegetarianism comes from a love for our planet and thus its inhabitants.  Therefore, people see eating animals as cruel.  I spent my holidays, in the first 13 years of my life, in a farm and thus have been used to differentiate between pets and animals raised to be eaten.  I ate one of my pet sheep once and have never touched lamb or mutton since, even the smell turns me off.  In my opinion, if the animals are raised to be eaten and treated properly, then it is acceptable to eat them.  Someone pointed out to me that even if they have been treated properly, they will still feel betrayed when faced with death.  To be honest, I do not know what to answer to that.  Since I have heard this argument, I have cut down on my already low meat-eating (although I love cured meat!).  What about fish?  I don’t think I could live without eating fish.  What do you think?

To come back to vegetarianism/veganism as a political statement, the reason behind it is that animals are often badly treated.  I totally agree with this position, but I also think that the way vegetables are produced is not exemplary either.  Foods are genetically modified, pesticides and other chemicals are used to grow more veg at a faster rate.  I therefore think that the problem is not limited to meat/fish, but also includes all other foods we eat.  Consequently, I think we need to take informed decisions about what we eat and take a position against the way foods are produced.

However, this might have an inconvenient: it often cost a little bit more, but as you have been saving on electricity, water, cleaning products, etc. (see previous posts), maybe you can afford to spend a bit more on food?  I agree with you, it is easier said than done.  However, we can progressively makes changes in our food habits, but most importantly make decisions about them (I often have guilt trips, but I know that I can’t afford to eat as I wish I could).

First of all, I think that we eat too much and badly.  We should learn to balance our meals in order to eat sufficiently to keep healthy and productive without over-eating.  I am not a dietician and I do not read about it, but I have learnt to reduce my portions and eat more balanced meals. 

If our meals are balanced, we won’t need to eat as much and we can choose products of better quality.  Choose to eat less meat and, when you do, make sure you know where it comes from.  Eat fresh fish from your local shop (freeze it if you have too much) and give up on those convenient fish fingers.  Try to buy local, fair-trade and organic.  Increasingly, such information is available to you on packages.

For instance, do you know how to recognise where your eggs come from?  On each of them a code is printed indicating its origins and if it is organic, free-range or battery.

I agree, it is not an easy battle.  I know that for those who have tight budgets it can be very difficult (I am one of them).  However, we can make choices and conscious decisions that will improve the way we eat, but also its impact on the planet.  If we all move in that direction, maybe then we will see a global change.

What change are you going to make?  My latest was to give up on ham and pepperoni pizza and replace the toppings with mushrooms I fry myself.  Next, I want to learn to make the base myself and use organic tomato base.  One little step at a time…