Our lead-generation telemarketing staff are, by and large, a great, caring team. And they too have to manage to eat in our fast-paced world where we’re time short and single-use-plastic rich. I know that they don’t set out to choke whales at lunchtime or strangle baby orangutans when they rush home and heat up a ready-meal because they’re starving, like anyone else after a full day at work, where they’ve spent the day generating business-matchmaking leads. I don’t want them to have to do without the little treats that get them through the week.
I’m sure they’d be very hurt at the notion that lifestyle choices that they view as hyper-caring, ‘woke’ and right-on, are, to wrinklies like me, just more bellicose Social Justice Warrior weirdness. I mean, really – a “part-time-vegan”? I’m shaking my head…a ‘VEGAN’ meal in a single-use-plastic container? Pull the other leg, it’s got bells on! This is consumerism 101 – producers can sell plastic with seeming impunity if they disguise the goop inside as ‘Good for the Planet’! Pop a ‘caring’ label on it, and deforested areas that wiped out wildlife are still just that; if you look at the levels of Palm Sugar in some of these “Vegan” Meals – you have to worry about the ethics! I’m sure the baby orangutans are cursing these “caring” Palm-product-eating types!
Being “Vegan” used to be damned hard work; it went beyond merely eschewing meat, it was fraught with mistakes and missteps (most of those in pretty rank plastic footwear) and it took the kind of convoluted thinking that could tie ethics experts up for months. To hear that some of our marketing staff are “vegan” for 5 nights out of 7, then chow down on meat and fish, seems at best confused, if not outright twisted-thinking. I realise eating a diet rich in more plant-based foods can be desirable – but there’s a catch-all that’s negating the goodwill in some, by the profit-driven wicked.
Having grown up eating fresh local veg, it makes no sense to me to fly-in out-of-season produce on Jumbo-jets from the often food-poor Third World. Before long I will tell our telemarketing team that the food-miles involved in getting baby-vegetables from Asia or Africa makes it no smarter than drinking “organic” water from plastic bottles. Where I grew up in Africa, “organic material” in water kills infants – it is the sort of problem global charities are set up to eradicate! And baby veg…? That’s tying up acreage that could be feeding starving people in drought and climate-change affected areas. It’s wasteful and plain nasty.
“We have glass jugs and we’re fortunate enough that our tap water is clean and potable”.
This week I said I wanted to ban the purchase of a brand of Smart water in 500 ml plastic bottles for clients visiting to discuss their B2B telemarketing needs; our marketing exec was aghast. It was akin to admitting I kicked kittens for fun, which I don’t, for the avoidance of all doubt. But the quandary of how visitors would react to drinking “unclean” water (yes, don’t let the irony of that make you chuckle too loudly!) out of glass was an eye-opener – as an 18-year-old, she’s probably always had bottled water in her lifetime. Whereas I’m old enough to remember using a shared stainless steel water-spigot from the communal water fountain at school!
I have had some support from employees, who agrees this is thought-provoking stuff! Telling them that the Global-Chain beverage containers that are clogging the deep are about to be banned isn’t going to go down too well. Or that nuke-and-puke meals must be phased out, and to that end, I’m considering removing the microwaves! Or that I’m actually MAKING some reusable beeswax sandwich wrappers out of recycled fast-fashion (his old cotton shirts) because otherwise, I might spark a mass-eating anxiety.
Then again, maybe it could be a team-building exercise if we learned to make a meal for everyone at lunchtime? And took it in turns, as Fire crews do…? I can dream on!
I could just shirk my social responsibilities altogether and not let on that I die a little every time I see the plastic that we, myself included, have become addicted to using. That we should just go ahead and head-stomp seal cubs and choke the dolphins and continue wiping out entire ecosystems.
Our selfish addiction to comfortably eating “easy” no/low-work food is destroying food-production for some communities abroad; it’s changing farming practices for the worse and leads to food poverty for some. And the knock-on effect for wildlife can be simply devastating.
Whichever way we go – it’s going to be an uncomfortable chat.