Monday, March 29, 2010

No Impact Man

So it's been almost a month of being a vegetarian, 3 since I vowed to "change my diet instead of go on a diet", and about 4 since I watched Food, Inc, which started it all. So far? The changes have all felt pretty easy- I'm actually not missing meat very much at all (Although hot wings I have missed, dearly). It has been great to see what I've truly missed (italian imported Speck, YES) and what I've probably been eating just because I didn't know any better (chicken breast, breast, breast). I can't say more than I'm signing up for another month. I feel really good about the fuel I've been putting in my body, and that is all that matters to me.

It has been really interesting, on the other hand, to see and hear friends and family member's reactions to the news. I kinda tried not to make a big deal out of it, but when it eventually came up- most seemed intrigued, and then wanted to know if it was politics, health, or some other reason. Well folks, as I've said before, it is both- though I still stand by my belief that meat is an ok and natural part of the diet, as long as the animals are treated humanely during their stay here on earth. I have no doubt there will be times in the future when I am going to treat myself to some meat- but that is exactly what I think it should be- a very special treat.

The past few weeks have led down some interesting paths. Can you really be aware of how your food consumption impacts the environment and your health without starting to question every other thing you do? The answer is no. Cleaning products? Make-up? It all becomes suspect. And as I look around me, I start to question our collective consumption- and my individual, too- and wonder about my impact on the environment. Right now, I take and take and take- and I'm leaving a footprint. Yeah, I comfort myself with my use of mass transit, our new reusable grocery sacks, and that we recycle our plastics and paper products. But we still produce more trash than we should, and we fly on an awful lot of airplanes, and eat food from far away. In the long run, we'll have to do more.

Which brings me to No Impact Man. A film and book about a NYC family that spends an entire year reducing their carbon footprint to zero, No Impact Man goes to the limits- riding their bikes EVERYWHERE for a year, shopping only in local farmer's markets, reducing their trash to nothing (including not using disposable TP!), and turning off their electricity.

Understandably, the author does not expect most to got to the extremes he did- and following the experiment, some things in their lives have gone back to "normal". But just like my food experiment, by pushing the limits- this family realized what they really needed and what was excess. I hope to live like that- in the balance, taking just what we need- and giving some back.

Check out No Impact Man's blog @:

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