Have I Always Been a Hippy?
I’ve always been a bit of an Earth-loving hippy, even when I was a kid. My parents had a big garden out in their backyard in Edmonton, Canada and I remember eating peas and raspberries straight from there, as a snack when I playing in the backyard. It just seemed normal to me. And for whatever reason, I loved the compost. There was something magical about it. Turning waste into this rich, beautiful soil that smelled better than just about anything. And, I always used to stress out about food waste, driving too much, wasting electricity, overconsumption, and all those other things that the average North American doesn’t even think about. I’m sure my parents were so annoyed! I grew up and lived in much the same way as I did when I was a kid.
I Made it 33 Years Without Owning a Car
I never had a car for years and years. I mostly just lived close to wherever I worked or went to school and would walk or ride my bike. Public transport or friends would take care of the rest. Truthfully, I didn’t really think that not having my own car was a hardship.
But, three years ago, at the age of 33, I bought my first car. I bought it for a few different reasons, but mostly because I wanted to get into surfing and paddling and camping, and without a car, those things are pretty difficult to do. Another reason was that public transport where I live used to stress me out so much on a daily basis, that I almost used to hate leaving my house.
Own Car = Guilty Feeling
I struggled with it though, wondering if I was a terrible person for contributing to the global warming crisis. It didn’t fit with my Earth-loving, hippy ways most certainly. I honestly thought at some points, I’d make it through life never owning a car. That I could bicycle my way to awesomeness. So, it was a bit hard to let go and just buy one. I felt guilty about driving.
Beef Production = Worse than Cars. Guilt, Somewhat Alleviated
These days though, I’m feeling guilty, sometimes, but also am mostly okay since discovering that animal agriculture, especially beef contributes more to global warming than cars do. It’s mostly because cows produce methane as a waste gas, which is far worse than the CO2 that cars produce. It’s this little known, but important fact that I hope to spread to the world!
Going vegan is rarely mentioned in lists of things you can do to live in an eco-friendly way, but it’s something that can make a big difference! Imagine the possibilities if every single North American cut down on the animal products in their diets by 50%? That could have a way bigger impact than you, or me, biking or walking to work instead of driving. And that’s only talking about the environment. For details about the health impacts of this, see: Forks over Knives.
It’s All Grey
So, where does that leave me? An almost vegan, car-driver. It leaves me in this kind of world knowing that some choices I make are not great for the world. But, that some choices I make are significant. Going vegan, growing my own good, buying local and eating no processed food can make a big difference. So, I try not to feel guilty about driving. It creeps up on me every so often though. I have this image in my head of a big tire track destroying those little footprint tracks going down the beach, at sunset. It disturbs me a little.
But, my life is mostly lived in the grey. Black and white, right and wrong is always kind of fuzzy, so maybe it’s just my style. Some good things, some bad things. Figuring out the balance. Feel guilty about driving = only sometimes. Feel great about eating mostly vegan = always.