So I have finally made what I hope is another sustainable decision about my diet: I am cutting my dairy consumption by at least half — less cheese by far, soy milk in my coffee, very little yoghourt or sour or cream or what-have-you — but I have also decided to start eating pig products again.
I get asked often enough whether I'm a veg, and my response is always that I'm n "environmental vegetarian," by which I mean I'm trying to do my best by the environment by the food choices I make. So beef has been an obvious choice to leave out because of the effect of methane, a powerful "greenhouse gas," on the atmosphere and the fact that cows, which ruminate, produce a lot of it. But I miss meat. So last week I did a little digging around about exactly which animals were ruminants, hoping to discover that maybe there were some animals I hadn't thought of that I could sink my teeth into. Well, in fact, in large part the answer was no, BUT, it turns out according to a report by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board of Kenilworth, Warwickshire, pigs are better than cows emissions-wise because they don't ruminate (to oversimplify, chew their cud).
So my thought is this: if I cut my dairy by more than half but eat a little pork or bacon now and then, I am in fact decreasing the emissions for which I'm responsible. Granted, cutting the dairy and not eating the pork would be better again, but I'm not ready for that yet. I love cheese. I had even begun having a new recipe for savoury oatmeal for my breakfast most mornings... as a digression, here is the recipe:
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup rolled oats
...stir oats into stock in a microwave-safe bowl. cook 3 minutes.
grate in 1/2 a cup of cheese (I used cheddar but anything will do) and stir until melted.
best served with Louisiana hot sauce.
...so giving up this amazing creation is no fun, but if I console myself with a little pig now and then — we ate 7 strips between 3 of us this morning — I won't just break and slide back into heavier-emissions consumption. It's not perfect, but it's something I think I can probably manage long-term, which veganism really wasn't.