It’s hard to change a habit, even if there’s a good reason for it. And comedian Nato Green thinks he has a pretty darn good reason.
I’m one of the great comedians of our time. But I’m also dumb. Because I’m not a vegan. Even though I claim to believe in science and the science is overwhelming that the best thing we can do for climate change is adopt a vegan diet. Even not adopt a vegan diet, just be more vegan. It’s like the Kinsey scale -- like no one’s really gay or straight -- there’s a spectrum. Like, just move toward the gay end of the spectrum of veganism. Carnivorous-fluid, like gender-fluid.
I’m terrified about climate change. I would place my level of panic about the future of the planet somewhere between listening to Nick Cave and dry heaving on the bus.
But I’m still not a vegan, because vegans are annoying.
I’m a Jew, I understand what it’s like to be right and irritating. Like most progressives, I believe that feeling sufficiently upset is an acceptable alternative to doing anything concrete. Like most Americans, I hope denial will save me.
Someday I’ll have to tell my kids, "Sorry, we had to move to Fury Road because in 2017 daddy didn’t want to stop eating brisket."
Maybe it’s not me. I read that alfalfa is a water guzzler which California harvests for export to China to feed cows -- the worst offenders for greenhouse gases -- to feed workers to make our iPads. The solution to climate change isn’t for me to stop eating meat because the offending meat is in China. We’d be better off to boycott Apple products. But Californians prefer apocalypse to a day without Words With Friends.
For years, I’ve been Saint Augustine about veganism. Yes, but not yet. I love animal products too much. I’ve made my own bacon.
I’m experimenting with cutting beef out of my diet and cooking more vegan at home. It makes me angry, but I like it. Less full, less sleepy, less heartburn. I would need to eat a whole lot more fruits and vegetables than ribs and scones to fill the hole of anxiety inside of me.
But I will forage on -- see what I did there? -- for the sake of the planet, even though enjoying vegan food makes me furious.
Nato Green is a San Francisco-based comedian and humor columnist currently residing in Cuba. His Perspective was produced by KQED Science for its series on climate change airing this week called This Moment on Earth.