I am not a vegetarian. I don’t eat meat at every meal, or even everyday, but I do eat it. I have always struggled with the idea of being vegetarian. Growing up, meat was an enjoyable part of my family’s meals. We often had bacon with breakfast and ground beef with dinner. My parents made an effort to introduce my siblings and I to vegetarian options, especially tofu. I have found that substituting meat is almost worse than no meat.
It’s well known that being vegetarian can significantly reduce your water use, carbon footprint and oil usage. By eating meat, we are essentially consuming and participating in the use of resources to raise and transport that livestock and product. The environmental repercussions of the meat industry are greater than I can fully express here. For more information, check out “10 ways vegetarianism can save the planet” via theguardian.com.
I am not trying to convince anyone to be vegetarian, not even myself. Instead, my goal is to convince people that taking steps to limiting your meat consumption is a functional and effective way to begin reducing your impacts. So, how do you begin reducing your meat consumption? If you eat meat at every meal, try to eat meat at only one meal a day. If you already have begun taking steps to reduce your meat consumption, another option is to try VB6. VB6 is “Vegan Before 6,” this is an idea to limit meat and meat byproduct consumption, by not eating any animal products before 6 p.m.
Additionally, if you want to continue eating meat at your current rate, you can still make better choices. This can be done by purchasing local meat. There are farmers markets daily in the Monterey Bay area, from Carmel-by-the-Sea to Soledad, there is even a bus that can take you to each market. By purchasing from a local farmers market, you’re limiting the resources spent to get that product to you and supporting smaller more sustainable farms.
So, whether you wanna go “cold turkey” and quit meat altogether, or start with a smaller step, your decisions have an impact.