Monday, November 25, 2013

Going Meatless


When our family pulled away from processed food, it was a slow venture.  A few foods here, a few there.  A lower grocery bill pulling us on, but still splurging a bit on junk fast foods occasionally.   With the exception of our hike, we don't eat that junk food anymore.  It actually makes us a bit sick when we eat it, now.  The Barracuda and I are now venturing into meatlessness, and potential vegan-ness. 

Flesh and I have never been all that great of friends.  I mean, we get along and all, but I'm definitely a much stronger herbivore.  It's not like my relationship with lactose or eggs....even writing eggs makes me slightly uncomfortable internally.  It isn't some massive ethical debate for me.  I'm mainly just put off by the texture and how they make me feel.

Jules is the exact opposite.  He has actually been hospitalized for eating a steak so rapidly it endangered his ability to breathe.  Yeah...He's not giving up any meat, anytime soon.  We aren't even going there with him.

The Barracuda is a true omnivore.  He's got a thing for BBQed muscle tissue, or marinaded, or stir fried, or roasted, or dry rubbed...Even if his stomach doesn't whole-heartedly agree with him, it is mainly on board and so is he.  Veggies are awesome too, fruits are a total score, hook him up with some cheese, he'll eat anything.  Until he heard about this, this, this, and lastly this.

Oh First World Problems.  Talk about an issue.  Does he give up meat and save the planet?  Does he enjoy meat as the planet crumbles around him?  Does he listen to Jules who will never give up meat?  Does he go with Mom who can totally turn her back on it with no issue?  Does he crumple into fetal position in the corner crying?

Google came to the rescue.  Google usually rescues him.  There was a whole lot of reading, and talking, and thinking. 

After much deliberation, the consensus has become that the only meal which will contain meat is dinner.  That means 2/3rds of the week will be meat free and mostly dairy free.  Fish eating can happen sporadically since he can't quite decide if fish is considered a planet-damaging meat or not.  Dairy sparingly and so with eggs as well.  We'll have to see how it goes.

 "Obedience to the standard culture is what got the world in this place.  Perhaps it is time we all felt a bit uncomfortable and tried some cultural disobedience. Meat is a luxury most of the world doesn't have.  I have a whole lot of luxuries in my life and I don't need this one anymore." ~ The Barracuda

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Plant for the Planet?

 "What is a coalition?"  The Barracuda asked earlier this year to another passenger in our carpooling cargo van as it traveled to coal train hearings.  We were all wearing our "Power Past Coal" coalition T-shirts, criss-crossing the state to speak out about tons of coal being shipped through our backyard.  I smiled; he was starting to openly discuss with the other faces he saw so regularly.

"It is a bunch of people, companies, or groups that are working together for some thing they all want.  Most of the time the coalition gets a name that tells you what they want or how they want to sound. Usually it is a politics thing."  Responded a kite-boarder who has had an interesting political past since the Vietnam War.  It was a good answer; far better than I could have provided on the fly.  So very often the other people we travel with have amazing areas of interest and can give so much more information than I can.  We have both learned a lot.

And that was it...for months.  I thought nothing of such a question other than noting it away in the "self-directed-project-based-homeschool-is-working-so-you-can-stop-worrying-mom" folder that I keep in my head.

Photo by Trip Jennings

Then last month we spent an epic day traveling to the last of this round of coal train hearings.  In our carpool a National Geographic Explorer (his actual job title) explained fracking using cheese as a metaphor, and talked about how we need to balance personal activity with group organizing to create the large scale change.  The Barracuda listened intently, thoroughly star-struck.

And that was it...for a couple of hours.  I was once again happy at my son's interactions, and quite happy to have met an attractive National Geographic Explore (because that still seems incredibly cool).

But there was a kid at the hearings.  A kid who spoke at the rallies, and worked with environmental groups.  The Barracuda basked in the other kid, spending hours playing impromptu games and discussing their various work.

"I want to start a coalition," came out while sipping celebratory Sprite at the bar for the after party. (The Barracuda learned how to talk his way into bars on the PCT.  He's become quite good at it now. I nod and smile.)  "Um...yeah," was my very intelligent reply. "I want to create a Plant for the Planet chapter in Portland, but we would work through the entire Gorge," The Barracuda continued, "We can do that.  I'll start networking."

He's now moved on to fighting Big Oil.
Photo by Trip Jennings
And so he did.  And it appears to be going quite well.  I am often surprised by the people which show up in my email asking to work with him, and the friend requests I'm getting on Facebook.  He told me today that he needs to order business cards, because "they are easier to hand out than making you write contact information.  I need legitimacy and having to write my mom's contact information doesn't help."

I'm still back at, "Um...okay...yeah."  But that mental "homeschool works" folder is getting bigger.