Saturday, January 10, 2009

Veganism and the economic crisis

A friend of mine has a blog wherein she talks about finding old friends and enemies from high school (remember high school? Yech) on Facebook, and being tempted to compare herself with those who have apparently become "more successful" than she in the ensuing years.

I've thought about this a lot myself, since I live a pretty simple life. I always have lived a simple life, either by necessity or choice depending on current circumstances, and sometimes I'm tempted to compare myself to "more successful" friends and colleagues and find myself lacking.

But here's the thing. Especially as a vegan, I've learned to pay very close attention to how my behavior impacts the environment especially. What I noticed is that often, those with "more" money also spend more money, sometimes wastefully and sometimes in ways that cause more trash, "keeping up with the Joneses" behavior, et cetera. One of the reasons our current economy is in collapse is because appearances became more important than whether or not we as a country actually had the money to live the consumptive lives we were living.

What's my point? I don't think the current economic crisis is necessarily entirely a bad thing. It's taught us to revamp our priorities, scale back unnecessary spending, and most of all, not to spend money we don't have. We were doing that as a country and as a government for a long, long, time, and the piper finally came calling.

Don't get me wrong; I know lots of people have lost their jobs through no fault of their own because of this economic collapse, and people are hurting -- including me. That's tough, and it's going to take a lot of time to recover from that. But maybe, just maybe, this will sober us up as a country so that we learn where our priorities are once again, spend only on what we really, truly want and need for ourselves instead of to impress others, and learn how to take care of the planet in the process, too.

And that doesn't necessarily have to include becoming a vegan or vegetarian for everyone, but maybe the economic crisis will also have more people turning to this gentler and more environmentally friendly diet at least part time because it also happens to be cheaper. So maybe that's one more silver lining, too.

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