I was just struck by two items lying dormant in my reader (thanks for letting me down magic sort). First, there’s a well-written Atlantic Food Channel post by Jason Williams dissecting the “psychology of sacrifice” vis-a-vis the “meatout” or “meatless” campaigns that advocate eating less meat for the sake of the environment, among other things.
Williams highlights Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, who recently declared March 20 “Michigan Meatout Day,” but she’s certainly not alone. Paul McCartney and IPCC chief Pachauri have testified before the European Parliament about the benefits of a meatless existence, and Quebec, along with many others, has its “Lundi sans Viande.”
The benefits are well-documented, but, nonetheless, all have stirred an unnaturally angry response. Granholm, for her part, was greeted with personal (verbal) attacks and a defiant barbecue hosted by the Michigan United Conservation Clubs on the grounds of the state capitol. London Mayor Boris Johnson likewise promised “carnivorous festivals of chops and sausages.”
Williams breaks down the rabidity rather elegantly:
The psychology of sacrifice is complicated. Studies consistently show that humans are remarkably quick to give up something for a loved one. But when it comes to self-denial, especially at the behest of a stranger’s advice, or in the interest of a disembodied “cause,” we tend to be more libertarian. Not to mention defensive and skeptical. Making matters even more complicated is the fact that food is, for many of us, religion.
He goes on to praise Bernard Brown, who runs the PB&J Campaign, a pro-Peanut-Butter non-profit that wants people to eat less meat, but does so through the less-divisive manner of pushing something completely different. We all have a somewhat set intake of food, right?
This all brings me to the second post…on peanut-butter cocktails. Of course I know that you’re not going to be replacing the meat juice in your cocktails with peanut butter punch (who would? a beefy Manhattan is just delicious), so the GHG difference is minimal. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t raise a glass to the peanut in defiance of the defiant barbecues. Seriously, get to experimenting with your peanut cocktails; they’re just begging to be your Earth Day toast.