Ask Auntie Civ, the world’s first anti-civilization advice columnist!
Dear Auntie Civ:
Thanksgiving is here, which prompts me to ask about a matter that’s been bothering me for quite some time, namely, why are environmentalists and the social justice crowd not on board with vegetarianism?
To be fair, I’m not talking about people with allergies or sensitivities, whose eating options are narrowed for reasons not of their choosing. Instead, I’m recalling the countless environmental meetings where meat and dairy products are served without question, often at the expense of animal-free offerings.
As early as 1971, we had books like the Diet for a Small Planet, exposing the degradation and social injustice of mass meat consumption. There have been hundreds of books and documentaries highlighting the health, environmental, and social equity benefits of animal-free eating.
Currently, we have the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, who questions why we treat our individual companion animals with such reverence, while we imprison and slaughter sentient beings by the millions, under conditions that make Guantanamo Bay look like a spa.
What’s with the social justice and solidarity people who still endorse this system? Some even try to excuse themselves on the basis of the existence of local, humanely-raised meat, even though they are not motivated to seek it out.
Humane considerations aside, factory farming is a colossal contributor to global warming, pollution, and resource depletion. Do you see any hope for change?
Thank you for your passionate and articulate letter! But I can’t give you any false hope. If we all quit eating meat tomorrow, would that stop the tar sands from dumping millions of gallons of toxic waste into the Athabasca River? Would it prevent the destruction of millions of hectares of old-growth forest? Would it clean up the Texas-sized island of plastic garbage in the Pacific Ocean, slow down the extinction of the mountain caribou and the spotted owl, or reverse runaway climate change?
In North America, pre-contact societies hunted extensively. Did they wipe out the buffalo, the salmon runs, the sea lions and the great auks? No, the “civilized” colonists did that.