Posted by: Jill | July 18, 2008

Thoughts on meat.

The surface of the earth is about 70% ocean, which is roughly the same proportion of saltwater that our bodies contain. I’ve always found comfort in this knowledge: my body and the planet are equally dependent on the sea.

I just learned another way to look at this human body / planet earth harmony.

My sister recently began eating vegetarian, after lots of thought about what it means and why it is a good idea. She sent me an article that Mark Bittman [N.B. his How to Cook Everything Vegetarian would make a truly excellent gift for me] wrote in the New York Times in January about how Americans’ overconsumption of meat has serious environmental consequences. He quotes a geophysicist named Gidon Eshel who studies the carbon dioxide emissions from meat production (what does meat have to do with geophysics? I’m not entirely sure). Eshel points out that cutting back on the amount of meat we eat can save carbon emissions and can also improve our health:

“The good of people’s bodies and the good of the planet are more or less perfectly aligned.”

Our bodies are not only composed of the same ingredients that make up the planet , but we also need the same things to be healthy. Oh, the poetry, the poetry!

***Note: it’s particularly interesting that I’m writing this from the “meat mad Philippines,” where meat is a part of EVERY meal. I choose to base my diet on what fits with both my own preferences and with my environment. When I was in Costa Rica, I ate rice and beans and coffee all the time. When I am in Seattle, I eat only produce that fits the season, and I can get away with not eating meat except for special occasions when I splurge on the expensive, happy cow meat from farms near my home. Here in the Philippines, where I see pigs, goats, and chickens in the street and everyone is either a fisherman or a farmer, I feel comfortable eating meat. Plus, it would be basically impossible to avoid it. Plus, I get to learn more about the culture through its food. Plus, it’s delicious.

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