In 2014, my blog was featured as The Guardian’s Sustainable Blog of the Week as part of their ‘Live Better’ campaign. This involved me answering a set of questions about how and why I started it, and about my own personal journey with sustainable living.
Below I have posted the Q&A as I think it captures the reasons why I started blogging better than I have managed to in any of my posts!
What inspired you to live more sustainably, and write about it?
Over the past few years, my interest in food and the effects of diet on the human body has been growing and eventually I found out just how bad the modern meat industry is – from the pain and misery we inflict on animals through ever intensifying processes, to the rise in antibiotic resistance in humans as a result of the drugs routinely used on our farms. That’s before you even consider the environmental cost of rearing, transporting and removing the waste products from so many animals, an impossible task without damaging the environment in some (and often many) ways. The book Farmageddon is a real eye-opener for anyone who is keen to know more about what I am going on about. My blog started life as a result of all this research, and was a place for me to share restaurant recommendations of places that serve higher welfare meat or awesome veggie food. I wanted to prove that it’s still possible to have a happy social life and care about the food you eat. It doesn’t have to make you weird, and it shouldn’t be viewed that way.
What changes have you made to live a greener lifestyle?
I have always been a bit of a “hippy” in that I’m passionate about conservation, will tell people off for dropping litter, and am passionate about recycling and nature and wildlife and try to get others to be passionate about it too. I only eat meat once or twice a week. I did try going completely veggie but apart from missing meat, I also realised that I wasn’t supporting more ethical, higher welfare or organic farming practices. I also try to support local businesses, farmers markets, anything in the local area – I think we’d all be a lot better off if we tried to rely more on our local community and aimed to be more self-sufficient in that way.
What have you learned along the way?
There are some narrow-minded (or old-fashioned I suppose) people in the world, who think that a meal isn’t a meal without a slab of meat in it. I try not to get angry about it now, but it still irritates me. There are also quite a few people who genuinely feel that ignorance is bliss, and point blank do not want to know the realities of how their food got to their plate, because it’s inconvenient. I’ve also learned that for some reason, eating this way gets people’s backs up sometimes – some seem to think it’s stuck up. The reality is that I am from a working-class background and was raised on chicken nuggets and chips – my opinions about food have been formed as an adult and not because of a being born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Apart from that, I have learned how utterly delicious vegan and vegetarian food can be, and that has been a pleasure to discover.
How has your family reacted to your decision?
My sister makes fun of me and says I will end up a “Fairtrade mum” – whatever that is! My mum is quite open to it all and has tried loads of new foods since I started talking to her about them – she has also cut dairy and red meat out of her diet and prefers it that way. I still find battery hen chicken in the fridge sometimes (which she tries to hide when I come over) – then I give her an ear bashing! It’s only my mum and my boyfriend who have to hear my rants though, with everyone else I don’t talk about it unless I am asked. There’s nothing more offputting than someone on their soapbox, and I’d rather someone ask me (or have a look at my blog in their own time) than me try to talk to them when they just don’t want to hear it.
What encourages you to keep living sustainably?
Good veggie restaurants, inspiring vegan people and cooks, stories like this one about Richard Branson giving up eating beef. Similarly, the depressing stories about the environment also keep me motivated, because you’ve got to dig our heels in haven’t you? Writing my blog also helps me to keep trying to live sustainably, because if I didn’t, I’d have nothing to write about! I love finding restaurants who are sourcing their food in a way that is more environmentally friendly, meeting other passionate people and championing environmental charities, food producers and other organisations who are doing their bit.
Read more about hungrycityhippy in the media, here.