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For years I was vegan.  For even longer, I was a vegetarian.  Then roughly two-years ago I abandoned my vegan lifestyle for reasons that are quite personal and rather complex.  One of the ways I rationalized my decision was by latching onto the farm-to-fork movement.  Needless to say, farm-to-fork isn't cheap, and it isn't very convenient.  Indeed, eating as a vegan poses considerably fewer difficulties than trying to find ethically sourced animal products.  During the last two-years I have regularly reflected on my decision to consume meat and other animal products, but I have always found reasons to continue to do so.

This morning, however, I heard a story on NPR which in many respects was not terribly dissimilar to ones I have heard numerous times before; namely that ocean fisheries are rapidly depleting.  What made this story different, however, was that for the first time in my memory at least, New England fisherman weren't talking about the impacts of reduced government quotas, but rather their inability to catch even enough Cod to meet what are already severely smaller catch limits.  As one fisherman put it, "there aren't any cod left."  

For years, I've known that our oceans were being severely overfished.  And that was a big reason why I was reluctant to indulged my desire to consume seafood.  I love seafood, you see.  I Always have.  And there were few times as a vegan when I was more tempted to abandon my diet than while walking by the fish markets in London.  I know this probably repulses some people, but I love the smell of the sea and that of freshly caught fish.  And I suppose that's why this particular NPR story had such an emotional catch for me.

As a progressive, I've known for years that as a society, we have been exploiting our planet, and that someday tough decisions were going to have to be made.  Somewhat hypocritically I suppose, I assumed many of these tough decisions could be delayed until tomorrow.  Then today, I heard a story about there being no cod off Cape Cod, and it got me thinking; perhaps tomorrow is already here.  Perhaps tomorrow was actually yesterday, and we've already blown by it.  I promise I'm not trying to be some coffee-shop philosopher here.  But I've recently become a dad, you see, and as just about any parent will tell you, having a child really changes you.  Suddenly, I'm less concerned about my own future and am instead constantly thinking about my son's.  I worry that when he's my age, he may not have to moralize as I presently do about the ethics of eating fish.  Due to overfishing, there may simply be too few fish in the oceans left for him to eat.

I can't say with absolute certainty that I will never eat meat again.  Nor can I say that I'll swear off dairy anytime soon either.  But as I find myself agonizing over my own dietary choices--my own decision to once again consume animal products--I am reminded of a journey that began many years ago for me. I'm pretty sure I have traveled this road before.  I don't know how long this repeat journey is likely to take, but I suspect my son's arrival will hasten my pace.  Ultimately, I suspect, the destination I arrive at will be one I've been to before.  Either way, I'm sure to keep this diary posted.


Are our current farming practices sustainable?

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