Thursday, 9 April 2009

Shades of Green by Paul Waddington

This is an A-Z of advice 'for the reluctant environmentalist' but actually useful for everyone who wants to become greener. It ranges from 'don't fly, ever, if you want to be at all green' to the appalling advice that rabbits are greener pets than cats and dogs, because you can eat them. Now in my book this misses the whole point of keeping pets (which is for companionship, and for me rabbits are the most companionable of all) and also misses the point where rabbits genuinely are greener, which is they are vegetarians, which is not only greener in itself but also means their faeces can be composted. Other than that it is a thought provoking book, encouraging the reader to weigh up all aspects of issues to see which is on balance genuinely the greenest. However it is sometimes a depressing read as many of the 'deep green' options are just not realistic options for a lot of people, unless society and the shape of our cities change a huge amount.

10 comments:

Paul said...

I wonder why cats and dogs are deemed inedible but rabbits are not?

Elizabeth M Rimmer said...

Whenever there's trouble people always blame cats and dogs! During the war when meat was rationed there was a short-lived campaign to put down pets, but the increase in rats and mice soon changed all that. Then someone on television did an experiment from Darwin which roughly worked out that no cats=lots of mice=less bees. Worth a thought, I'd say.

Nia said...

Paul: where rabbits are a staple food, cats are used as a bad substitute. Asians eat dogs but historically, Europeans have never considered it normal. One reason we don't normally eat cats or dogs is that most cultures have a very strong taboo against eating carnivores.

desert rat said...

I can't imagine eating an animal companion (so I guess it's a good thing I'm a vegetarian). Some farmer friends of ours once tried to raise rabbits for food, and ended up letting them go in the end, because they were just too darned cute (and these were people otherwise happy in their carnivore lifestyle, who raised beef cattle). Unfortunately at least two of the rabbits were subsequently carried away by eagles - that's nature for you, eh? As for flying - one of the reasons I hardly ever fly anymore is because of how horrifically polluting it is. Does make travelling a bit tricky, though; I kind of miss my youthful globe-hopping days.

Susan Tuttle said...

Some very good points here and food for thought.

Happy Spring!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Never eat your best friend.

Rabbits' Guy said...

Well, there certainly are many shades of "green."

Kay said...

The whole of society has to change as a unit for a lot of things to eventuate - as you wisely point out. But we do have to start somewhere individually as well as collectively ... but I conjecture, not by raising rabbits to eat. Bad move that one.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Paul, Nia - I think traditionally predator species have been domesticated to be predators and their usefulness is in hunting (dogs) or keeping down the vermin (cats) whereas traditionally rabbits and other herbivores have been raised for food. then the idea of pets appeared...

Elizabeth - interesting points, thanks

desert rat - yes rabbits are definitely too cute to eat

Susan - thanks

Pamela and Edward - indeed...

Rabbits Guy - and some are greener than others...

Kay - yes we need a balance between individual and collective, you're right

Mistlethrush said...

Interesting post and comments.

I really couldn't eat a pet though - mine or someone else's