Monday, January 4, 2010

Vegan? Vegetarian? Omnivore?

Many people love to describe themselves and others in familiar terms: They are either men or women. They are either republicans or democrats; activists, environmentalists, or simply tree huggers. They are either Christians, atheists, spiritual-but-not-religious beings, or simply do yoga and love nature. They are either vegan, vegetarian, or omnivorous.

But are things always that clear? What do you make out of such a statement: I am vegetarian and I love fish and chicken, but never eat red meat? Since when was fish a vegetable? You are either vegetarian, or you are not.

Here is a fragment of an interview that is quite enlightening.

“I think that people have framed this conversation in absolutes. Either you are or you aren’t. The word vegetarian, I think, does a disservice because there are a lot of people who care but maybe don’t care, or can’t care in an ultimate way. If you think about environmentalism, nobody would ask, “Are you an environmentalist or not?” The question doesn’t make any sense. And the notion that the first time you drive in a car or fly in a plane that you should throw your hands up in the air and say, “Okay, well I give up. I’m not going to try at all anymore,” is crazy. If people thought about food more like how we think about the environment, a lot of people would be eating differently and the whole system would look a lot different.” - Jonathan Safran Foer, from an interview about his book Eating Animals, with Kiera Butler for

Image credit here