saving the world

I saw this website recently, and I had to blog about it. In many ways, I think that environmentalism is the easiest political movement in which to engage kids. After all, kids generally love animals, and it’s an easy road to talk to them about how humans’ ability to affect the environment can make life harder for animals.

In our house, we are more vegetarian than not. Perhaps one or two nights a week, we’ll eat some kind of meat–but only fish or fowl, not mammals. If I’m out of town, landisdad may indulge in a beef or pig moment–I think this week, he’s brought real (not turkey) bacon into the house.

We’ve brought our kids to anti-war demos and other rallies, of course, but in some ways, I think the thing we’ve done that will stick more effectively, and make them less demanding of the planet’s resources throughout their lives, has been to raise them in a (largely) meat-free household. I suspect that someday, one of our kids will come to us and tell us they want to be a vegan, or an ovo-lacto vegetarian, or some new kind of diet that doesn’t even exist now. I’m dreading that moment a little bit. But I’ll enjoy it, at the same time.


November 13, 2007. thoughtful parenting.


  1. Jay replied:

    You’ll smugly pat yourself on the back on that day.

  2. Tammy replied:

    Yeah, food is a pretty major issue around our house, too. We don’t talk about it all the time, but we live it. I gave up my vegetarian ways after the first year of nursing Sam, because I started to feel like crap all the time, but I’m pretty strict about the fact that any animal-based foods in our house (including honey, because I love the bees even if I’m deathly allergic to them) have to be free-range, non-medicated, ethically produced, blah blah blabbidy blah.

    One thing about the PB&J site: does it mention that peanuts are considered one of the worst crops in the U.S., at least according to this piece in The New York Times:

    “More acres are devoted to growing peanuts than any other fruits, vegetable or nut, according to the U.S.D.A. More than 99 percent of peanut farms use conventional farming practices, including the use of fungicide to treat mold, a common problem in peanut crops.”

    You can’t win, can you?

  3. Anjali replied:

    I’ve read that if just Americans gave up eating meat, there would be enough food to feed the hungry in the entire world. The amount of water, grains, and soybeans used to feed livestock (used to produce beef) here is astounding. (Of course this assumes a lot of things — like the means to transport the food to all the hungry, etc.)

    Needless to say, we’re a vegetarian family for life.

  4. Susan replied:

    I love eating PB&J, and am rather amused to think of myself as politically mobilizing when I make my sandwiches.

  5. MommyWithAttitude replied:

    We are meat-eating environmentalists. Which means we spend a ridiculous amount of money on the meat we buy – and therefore meat is rarely the “main event” at mealtime here. I could actually live without meat (and mostly did before I was married), but my husband is pretty adamant that it’s necessary for good health, so we compromise some on that. We both worry a lot about our kids’ health and I don’t think vegan diets are best for human health (though it’s probably perfectly fine for a grown person to make that philosophical decision, I worry about proper nutrition for brain development and such in the early years). I think eating only eggs or milk or fish or some variation of that is healthy though, even for kids.

    Good lord, I should have just written my own post about this — I could go on and on! But I agree that talking about the importance of our responsibility toward animals is a really good “starter cause” for kids. Just last night I was explaining why we don’t go to the circus.

  6. Jennifer replied:

    This comment is only tangentially related to this post… I have a question for you. This past week my kids were sick (daughter had pneumonia, very scary) so we watched an unprecedented amount of TV, and I found myself explaining commercials. I haven’t had to do that before because we see so few of them. Anyway, I was trying to explain why we don’t shop at Walmart. And I couldn’t do it. I mean, I couldn’t explain it so that the kids could understand — and without using the phrase “plastic crap” : ) What would you say to them? My oldest is almost 6.

  7. landismom replied:

    It’s funny you should mention that–I just last night had a conversation with the Potato about why he wouldn’t be getting a toy from Wal-Mart for Christmas. I generally tell my kids that I won’t shop there because Wal-Mart is a greedy company that cares more about making some really rich people even richer than paying everyone who works for them fairly. We talked a little bit about the whole health care thing last night too.

  8. Jennifer replied:

    You talked about health care with your kids? Lord. I wish someone would explain it to me : )

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