A thought exercise one evening led to the more detailed discussion of sustainability. We found that just deciding to have electric cars and eating less meat wouldn’t improve the climate.
In our fridge we have had an avocado ripening for about a month. In general, we eat very little meat; not for ethical reasons, but just because it’s an arse to cook. We enjoy staples such as carrots, potatoes, and various leafy greens. We love milk, butter, and cheese. And probably way too much white bread. We stood back and looked at the avocado in the fridge.
This avocado is sitting in a fridge on a mountain in Ireland. Where we currently can’t even grow Hawthorne because the soil here is so poor. This avocado has traveled all the way from Mexico, stopping off in various places, ending up in a Dunnes, to be ignored by us in our fridge.
These dark green fruits are the staple of any diet that claims to be good for you. But are they really good for the environment? They are used as a great substitute for meat and dairy, but in Ireland do we really need this? Do I really need an avocado slowly rotting in my fridge and does the planet really need another container ship coming across the Atlantic?
I don’t need to substitute meat and dairy in my diet, because right now a side of beef, and a pint of milk is far better for the environment than this avocado. With a dairy farm behind us, and various beef farms in the immediate area it is far more environmentally sound for us to approach them for food.
If you have an avocado tree growing in your garden, but the environment isn’t conducive to rearing cattle then it makes sense for you to eat the avocado. Especially if the only way you can rear cattle is to destroy your biome.
This is the conclusion we came to: Sustainability is different depending on where you live. If meat was produced only for the consumption of those in the immediate area, then the need to ramp up production for a whole country/continent wouldn’t be there. The need to cram as many cattle into a large shed wouldn’t be there, the need to grow way too much feed wouldn’t be there.
And after all that we didn’t eat the avocado.