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Sharing my inner eco-crazy

When it comes to deciding on a stance with regards to certain products I find it harder to come to a conclusion than to act accordingly. In my last post I decided that giving up milk altogether was the best option for an environmentally and ethically clear conscience. I never buy unethical animal products and avoid packaging wherever possible. But with my reasoning in mind (I care about animal welfare and reducing/eliminating waste) I can’t help but question myself on certain aspects of my stance.

We all want to do our best for the world and nothing’s more annoying than when someone pokes holes in your arguments. But what if that person is you? Blogger Miyuki McGuffie externalises some of her internal dialogue.

Picture by Rachel Sian via Flickr Creative Commons

When it comes to deciding on a stance with regards to certain products I find it harder to come to a conclusion than to act accordingly. In my last post I decided that giving up milk altogether was the best option for an environmentally and ethically clear conscience. I never buy unethical animal products and avoid packaging wherever possible. But with my reasoning in mind (I care about animal welfare and reducing/eliminating waste) I can’t help but question myself on certain aspects of my stance.

Is it okay to eat something with non organic/free-range dairy, eggs or meat if it’s bound for the rubbish bin anyway?

This one often comes up because I work at a restaurant where things get thrown away all the time. And we don’t have a pig bin, so when something’s chucked it’s headed to the landfill. Almost every day there is baking that can’t be used the next day and—recently, at least—a dozen crème brulees were biffed because their tops were bumpy. I have almost a freezer full of muffins and scones at home but there are only so many I can consume while maintaining a reasonable standard of health (one a day when I’m stumped for breakfast and two when there’s nothing else to eat).

Am I doing the world a favour by saving these potential m-bombs from detonation? Big picture considered, no. But on a smaller level, I am saving space in the rubbish bag, saving these muffins from being buried underground and producing methane gasses when they decompose, saving myself money by eating free food, and making good use of something that otherwise would be waste.

But is that worth compromising my principals? Or is reducing waste more important to me than my stance on animal products? This is the kind of self-questioning I am up against, all the time. And it’s hard because I’m not often around people who are concerned about these things either in the slightest, or to the same degree as me, so there is rarely anyone to debate the issues with as they arise. For the record though, I usually take the food.

Can I treat myself now and then? For example, if I feel like an ice cream or a hot chocolate from a cafe, I can always get them organic. But seeing as my issue with these products is their packaging, by my own standards I should refrain.  Am I a bad person if my treats are environmentally unfriendly? Surely, if I know what is right and wrong, I should be able to rise above whatever cravings I might have for “unholy” foods like chips, chocolate (kerbside recycling doesn’t want your foil) or yoghurt.

Do I take all of this too seriously? I wouldn’t know, because I’m not religious, but these internal debates resemble the ones I imagine a born-again-anything might have. Is comparing my environmental principals to religion a sign that I take them too seriously? They are more or less the same thing after all: sets of beliefs that we adhere to and deem to be true.

Does anybody else follow the same line of thought as I do about any of this? Please let me know, and let’s be crazy together. Not that I think I’m crazy of course. Unless we’re talking crazy about the environment, in which case, I am. Certifiably.

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