Vegetarian Week, Day 5

by stephenpalmersf

This week I’m posting blogs about something close to my heart – vegetarianism.

I became a vegetarian by accident over 30 years ago. Having left university, but wanting to stay in the area where I had many friends, I ended up in 1985 sharing a house with some vegetarians. It was easy enough to fit in, so I did, but I soon became interested in the reasons people go vegetarian, and then I was converted to the cause.

This week’s posts will cover the various aspects which, for me, are the focus of the issue, under the general heading of: Why Am I A Vegetarian?


  1. Veganism, Freedom and Conclusions.

Would I go vegan? No.

There is one main reason that I give when I’m asked this question. In my opinion, changing from an omnivorous diet to a vegetarian one creates far more benefit for self and planet than changing from a vegetarian diet to a vegan one. I eat free range eggs and drink milk if it happens to be in my tea (though I never buy milk). To my mind, going vegan just doesn’t add enough to make it worth considering. Many will disagree with me.

I think the truth is a sad and predictable one about the vegetarian issue. Most people, even if partially convinced, don’t want to go vegetarian because (i) they can’t be bothered, (ii) they don’t care anyway and (iii) they would have to give up something they like. This may seem harsh, but I think it is true in the majority of cases. However, the fact is that human beings are not free to eat whatever they like. As I wrote last year in my post The Freedom Delusion, we are limited by the fact that we live on a single, irreplaceable planet:

“There is no such thing as complete freedom… That is an delusion caused by cultural narcissism, a specific refusal to accept that human beings live in communities; in societies. In fact, we human beings enjoy quite limited freedom. We are restricted by the finite planet that we live on, but also by hundreds of smaller concerns, such as the communities we live in, to which we have many obligations. But to the narcissist such obligations don’t exist. All that matters is personal freedom, to the detriment of community, of culture, of the planet.”

The more the human population grows, the less freedom we shall have. Corporate bodies and vested interests will continue to promote “consumer choice” (an illusion) and Western values of freedom (also an illusion), but the time will come when things have to change. A big reduction is meat-eating is I suspect going to be one of the main changes of the twenty-first century.

I personally found going vegetarian pretty easy. I didn’t miss meat. I didn’t miss bacon. It didn’t seem like much of a change at all. Of course, my own experience is unlike that of many other people, but I do believe that a lot of the inertia around making the change to a vegetarian diet is reactionary hype, the lies of vested interests, and good ol’ capitalist exploitation.

You have the ability to choose to do the planet some good. Make use of that ability. Live local, think global. Go vegetarian and see the difference.