Vegetarians, Flexitarians, and all other -tarians out there! Help!
How do you deal with our reality? When so much of what we have access to (food-wise, and product-wise) contains toxic chemicals… When so many things go unlabeled in products we use daily… When even trying to buy only what you need (versus what you want) exposes you to these chemicals over and over… When your abilities and resources don’t allow you to access the perfect foods all the time… How do you handle the overwhelming sense of dread, the depression associated awareness of a problem that is unsolvable on the individual level?
I read the news, and I often read the Green section on various sites, learning all sorts of new and wonderful things… as well as harsh realities. The poisons in our waters, our ground, our food, and our very houses. I can’t avoid them. I can’t go back in time and rebuild my rental house as a green home full of safe products. I can’t stop the societal structures that control the way my water is processed, the way businesses run, the way cars aren’t forced to go greener, and so on. I can’t guarantee that my healthy choices are actually any better than old ones (look at BPA and it’s replacements). So much of the exposure I’m forced to endure is literally out of my hands, regardless of the choices I make.
I can’t live off the grid, self-sufficient. That would require money to start off such an endeavor, as well as skills I don’t possess. And I like my Netflix, thank you very much! But more importantly, I don’t think I could adapt to complete removal from a society I’ve been indoctrinated into my whole life. (To be honest, it’s the money more than anything that stops me. If I had the money, I’d plop it down on a house made as green and grid-free as possible… but that’s pricey!)
I eat as a flexitarian to try and make a change, for my health and the planet. I love vegetarian food, and I’m okay with rarely including meat in my diet. When I finish with my newest stint as a vegetarian, I intend to stick to the “green” meats at my local Nature’s Grocer. They’re pricey, but they’re better for me and Earth. But I can’t always afford to spend the money it takes to get the greenest veggies and products. And I’m uneducated, slowly building my own awareness of what is bad and how to replace it.
It’s so frustrating! Overwhelming! Maddening!
How can we avoid sinking and giving up, when faced with so much impossibility? My great grandchildren, if lobbying and global change happens, might get to enjoy a cleaner world with fewer hard choices… but I’m pretty much screwed. I’m 25, a quarter of the way through a long life. Too many issues are stacked against us at this time, too much to change in the short time between generations. I’m scared for us all, because yelling and screaming and begging are failing to bring the world’s attention to our emergency. How can that change, when people are so willing to experience extreme climate change first hand and pretend it’s a fluke? How can we save ourselves?
I guess my main question to any of my readers is this: How do you handle the stress of living on this planet today?