I’m writing this while I’m out to lunch at a cafe. The menu only has a few options – which I usually like as it means the kitchen has a few tried and tested meals that work instead of trying to cater to everyone. The menu contains a lot of meat. The option I steer towards is a tuna and quinoa patty. It turns out that the tuna cannot be separated from the rest of the meal. I’m disappointed as the fishing industries are responsible for creating massive fish depletion and empty oceans and I can’t contribute to that. So I ask for the roast vegetable focaccia sans feta, only to get told that it’s all mixed before being asked if I’m vegan. If I was, I’d walk out right about now. But I say that I don’t eat cheese and the waiter tells me she can remove the feta. I accept my defeat and accept that there will be pieces of cheese on my meal and the vegetables will most likely not align with my locally grown and low impact values.
Right now it’s trendy to be green, ethical, vegan, sustainable. I love it, people have had their eyes opened to their personal impact on this planet and it’s beings. From small environmentally conscious businesses to big name brands having a conscious range, it’s all having a huge impact on who we are as human takers. And just to be clear, if you are reading this, you a part of the majority of humans that are takers. Personally, I was brought up to respect the earth over our nafs (self).
As an adult I’ve been through stages of being vegetarian, vegan, zero waste, local/in season produce, and a few short spells of eating fast food semi regularly. Although, to be fair I I never called myself vegetarian or vegan – for as soon as I gave myself a label I would crave meat for days. Currently I only eat meat occasionally, don’t eat much dairy (I’m looking at you chocolate!), and try to avoid food in packaging. I make an effort to curb excessive purchasing and avoid single use products. I buy second hand where possible and would rather buy a locally farmed, organic, free range chicken burger than a soy burger – something that comes as a surprise to to many vego/vegan friends I have.
I would rather eat a well brought up, local chicken burger than have a hormone disruptor, processed-with-fillers burger. I would rather buy Australian/locally grown produce that comes in a plastic container over an imported, GMO insecticide used produce without packaging. Sure, less packaging means you will be contributing less to local (or more likely overseas) landfills. But holistically, I’d rather support a company supporting soil regeneration, keeping toxic chemicals from our waterways, and generally promoting life.
I am also very torn, do I buy locally grown quinoa that has been taken from its traditional land and people and grown as an introduced crop that disrupts native land, soil and traditions? Or do I buy a South American grown quinoa that doesn’t support the local people eating their traditional food due to price hikes of foreigners wanting their staple food? It seems we can’t win.
Currently I am entering into wedding season. And I don’t have any real makeup, partly to stick it to the Man, partly because I’m a simple (read lazy) gal. I like natural hair, I like free toes, I like minimal upkeep. So I’m searching for a go-to mascara that is toxic free, cruelty free, isn’t overly expensive (because I won’t be using it much), is preferably Australian made/owned, and works. I’m dreaming right? A solution to all this would be to simply borrow mascara from a friend to use when I need it. But then, part of me wants to support a brand who is doing business in a way that supports my ideals.
Reflecting on all this, I’m clear about one thing. We must choose our battles but we must also take into account the livelihoods, passions, and different ethical lifestyles of others and how to show that we appreciate those choices. The struggle is finding that right balance. For some it will be not buying into (pun intended) many products and food and for others it will be researching, and finding the exact product that will check all their boxes.
For me, I’ll continue buying organic Australian quinoa and find other ways to support local indigenous land and soil objectives.