An Inconvenient Appetite?
Last month the city of Fargo dropped off a blue mammoth recycle bin on my curb. It was a welcome sight. When I heard rumblings within the community about its taking up too much space in their garages and complaints about the inconvenience of having to recycle, I almost fell off my off my bike into oncoming traffic.
Although I too, at times, have been annoyed with the little inconveniences of trying to clean up the planet. The low flow shower head my husband installed has left me shivering more than once, and the high efficiency lighting makes my living room look drab instead of warm and comforting. I’ve adjusted. Our efforts to be more earth friendly make us feel like we’re doing something to help instead of harm our planet.
We also do something else; something much more radical than just turning off the lights and unplugging from the grid. We eat plants. A lifestyle that has reduced our carbon footprint far more than all of our other efforts combined.
I realize my quinoa and avocado toast eating lifestyle is Martian in comparison to the Fargo of the 80’s in which I grew up. A Fargo where anything South of 32nd Avenue was considered “the country” and seemed like a good place to drive the gravel roads and smoke pot out of pop can. Back then Fargo, was… Fargo.
Today, we are urbanites. The most liberal city in North Dakota. Where more juice drinking, plant eating individuals now reside than ever before. My wish has come true. Ten years ago when I would speak to audiences about health and weight loss the words “plant-based” or “vegetarian” were gasp worthy. Eyes would roll, whispers were exchanged, seats were abandoned. I didn’t dare say the word Vegan or I would have been booed off the stage firing range style in a hail of tomatoes.
Today, Fargo is waking up.
We have more options for meatless meals than ever before, in the grocery stores and in the million restaurants of this town. We have Vegan cafes, juice bars, farmers markets and co-ops. Farm fresh eggs are prevalent, vegetarian options more abundant and we have little green leaves on the menu showing us meatless dishes. A signal of the rise in consciousness of big corporations who are listening to the demands of the public.
The world is waking up.
The number of plant only eaters in the UK has risen 350 percent over the past ten years. 42 percent of those are between the ages of 15 and 34.
In 2016 Google trends data revealed a 90% increase in ‘vegan’ searches.
Eating plants is currently the number 1 food trend beating out Paleo and Gluten free diets for the top spot.
“According to the EPA the livestock sector is one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide pollution, and the single largest source of both methane and nitrous oxide. According to the world bank, animal agriculture is responsible for nearly 90 percent of Amazon rainforest destruction.”*
There is a movement all over the world; people are realizing that the consumption of animals, our health and the health of the environment are intrinsically linked.
I have said for years “come and live with me, I will cook for you and you will never miss eating meat.” And that if they did, it would only be for a reason that stems from ego or a deep rooted notion that if we don’t eat meat we will wither and die only to be buried in a protein starved grave.
When I met my husband he was a meat eater. I always wondered what would happen if I fell in love with a meat eater. How would we raise our kids? Would I be okay with bacon being cooked in my kitchen; in my virgin fry pan that has never experienced anything other than stir fry or the occasional cage free egg?
Two things happened.
- I chose the right man, or rather he chose me. Either way, my genius boyfriend was already aware of how his choices (food and otherwise) impacted the planet. He was on board to change. Perhaps he had been waiting for a good reason to make those inconvenient changes all along and I was just the kick in the butt he needed.
- My assumption “Let me cook for you and you’ll never miss meat” was accurate. That’s exactly what happened.
Seven years later I don’t have to cook for him in order for him to not eat meat. He is a completely self sufficient plant eater and together we raise our kids that way as well. It’s been 15 years since I’ve stopped eating animals, 7 years for my husband.
No longer is eating a plant based diet just for hippies and health nuts; now, it’s just a smart way to live that can help decrease our ecological footprint and promote great health.
It’s not a trend folks, it’s a revolution.
Written by Charmaine English
*EcoWatch Aug 07, 2017. “Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Sequel conveniently leaves out this one big truth.” By Rachel Krantz
*The opinions in this article are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Fargo Monthly.