Kate over at Accidental Hedonist writes:
“That ‘organic food is better for you’ or ‘eating local is better for the environment’ and the plethora of societal-improvements that may or may not occur if these ideals moved into the mainstream are certainly compelling reasons for some – Enough so that it allows these movements to get to where they are today.
However, mainstream society often doesn’t work towards societal-improvements. They work towards what’s best for themselves. That often means that they’ll spend three dollars on industrial ground beef instead of 5 dollars per pound of grass fed ground beef, saving themselves two dollars to use elsewhere. It means that they’ll eat a Budget Gourmet for dinner in place of making it themselves in order to allocate the 30 minutes they have saved on a more enjoyable task.
If your food ideals are such that they require a sacrifice of time and/or money, how do you convince an individual with limited time and/or money that those sacrifices are worth making?”
Her question inspired this response:
I know a vegan woman who wrote, after meeting me and a few other largish people at a party, that we were the self-indulgent, resource-hogging SUVs of the human race, choosing to eat high-protein, high-calorie food when, if only we would make the same food choices as her, we could be saving the world AND skinny to boot.
I found her self-righteous attitude terribly insulting and uninformed. My knee-jerk reaction was that vegans are obnoxious and rude, even though I know intellectually that this isn’t the case. However, her gaffe did teach me that I need to be very careful about how I express my own food (and life) choices.
We homeschool, and there are people who send their children to public school that seem affronted when they learn that we keep our children at home. When we talk about our choices, school or food or otherwise, I have to couch my decisions in terms of “what works best for me and my family,” rather than “what is best for everybody.”
Therefore, I rarely bring up someone’s choices compared to mine UNLESS they initiate the conversation, OR they try to ram their own ideas down my throat. We all have our own values and priorities… what’s important to one person might be a non-issue to another.
I think the larger question is how do we shift the very deeply held American value of “me first” to the more community, world-based value of “what’s right for all of us, and the environment, and future generations?”… and this is a going to be a very big task.
(end of response… I would encourage folks who are interested in this topic to visit AH and register their own comments)