The Ethical Case for Eating Meat

The New York Times posed the question and now you can vote for the most convincing case. Here’s the one I found the most surprising:

Production of vegetables without the use of animals requires much larger amounts of energy. In small-scale farming, we use animals to clear fields of vegetation instead of relying only on industrial systems like tractors and herbicides. On our farm, we grow rows of vegetables while green cover crops and weeds fill the spaces in between those rows. After the harvest, dairy goats are grazed to get the land back under control, followed by the chickens that eat most of the remaining vegetation, and then finally with one pass of my tractor, I incorporate what is left back into the soil and plant the next crop. The animals clear vegetation and leave free fertilizer. They build biology in the soil rather than destroy it. Working in the natural order reduces our dependence on outside sources of energy, allowing us to harness the energy that is on-farm. The method leads to a better product, one that is more balanced for my customer, my community, my land, and me.

From Put Your Ethics Where Your Mouth Is {nyt}.

Vegan Pizza & a New Bridge

We took a ride on the newly paved bike lanes on Pine & Spruce streets this Saturday to check out the opening of the new South Street bridge. There wasn’t much going on besides a lot of standing and staring, but it’s great to have a bike route from very east Philly to very west Philly.

We didn’t want to let all those calories we burned go to waste, so we filled up on the “South Philly” pizza (seitan, broccoli rabe, eggplant) from the new vegan joint, Blackbird. Sooooo good.


The Weekday Vegetarian

I consider myself a vegetarian in spirit. I don’t crave the taste of meat, and I’m far more likely to grab a bag of baby carrots over a pack of salami while shopping at Trader Joe’s. But I do eat white meat pretty regularly, even though I’m cognizant of the detrimental environmental effects of our industrial meat production system,¬†and appreciate the health benefits of a vegetarian diet. Maybe I’m just lazy: but I need the calories and the vitamins, and getting them from the diet of a vegetarian never really worked out for me.

Graham Hill (founder of treehugger) has a proposal: let’s all be vegetarians from Monday to Friday. It starts with “Meatless Mondays;” a sort of gateway to meat-free eating for the rest of the week. It’s also the subject of his excellent TED talk {video below}. The weekday vegetarian plan is a great compromise; after all, if half of the world’s population ate half as much meat, it’d be like half of us were vegetarian.