George Monbiot wrote a typically thought-provoking piece for the Guardian yesterday about the food recession, how use of crops in biofuels contributes, but how eating meat could make even more of a difference.
But I have been saying this for four years, and I am boring myself. Of course we must demand that our governments scrap the rules that turn grain into the fastest food of all. But there is a bigger reason for global hunger, which is attracting less attention only because it has been there for longer. While 100m tonnes of food will be diverted this year to feed cars, 760m tonnes will be snatched from the mouths of humans to feed animals – which could cover the global food deficit 14 times. If you care about hunger, eat less meat.
And how he tried to be vegan, but failed:
But I cannot advocate a diet that I am incapable of following. I tried it for about 18 months, lost two stone, went as white as bone and felt that I was losing my mind. I know a few healthy-looking vegans, and I admire them immensely. But after almost every talk that I give, I am pestered by swarms of vegans demanding that I adopt their lifestyle. I cannot help noticing that in most cases their skin has turned a fascinating pearl grey.
I really identify with this bit. I was vegetarian for a mere 3 months and never felt more unhealthy, but the main thing that made me change back to being omnivorous was that going out to eat became really boring. I was living in Eastbourne, UK (“God’s waiting room” – a run-down seaside town, chock full of retirees) at the time, which didn’t help, but even now I notice that most restaurants have only one vegetarian option on their menu and it might not change in weeks. That might change as we all become more conscious of how eating less meat is a good for us and good for the planet.