How being ethical made me hate being ethical.
At some point many years ago I started to ask questions about the food I was eating. Where did it come from? How was it made? What impact did its production have on the environment? The more questions I asked, the more horrible realities I was faced with. Factory farmed poultry and pork, international food miles, pesticides, preservatives, plastic packaging, it became overwhelming, it became life consuming. I was sucked into the ethical black hole.
I considered much of it an injustice and I wanted nothing to do with it. My approach to deal with this situation in some ways was unconventional. Instead of becoming vegan I took it upon myself to kill the animals I ate, preferring to hunt feral pests for meat. Instead of relying solely on a local farmer's market and certified organic produce I began growing most of my food. I documented the journey online, wrote a few books and caught the eye of the media and a groundswell of people feeling similar vibes.
This is where my down fall began.
I was so excited about the process of making change and discovering this new 'ethical' way to approach food that I wanted to share it with as many people as possible hoping to get people thinking about their food choices. Admittedly I overshared online, and I was aware that I had opened the doors for criticism.
I had it coming in from all sides. When my kids and I killed some feral pigeons to make a delicious pigeon pie, I was told I was a bad parent for doing something so brutal in front of my kids. When I posted photos of the neighbouring farmer spraying pesticides in the paddock next to my veggie garden I was told to toughen up, because it was the reality needed to successfully feed the world's population. Sure, I had plenty of support, but equally I had plenty of negative responses. That's the reality of putting yourself online, especially when sharing a topic covering underlying moral principles. I think the nail in the coffin was when I posted a picture of a cup of peppermint tea I was drinking because I was off booze for a few months to improve my health. I literally had people complaining about the tea. Someone complained that even though it was Nerada organic Peppermint tea that the bags and string are toxic and another person was upset that I didn't grow and dry my own peppermint tea. Fuck. Off. 'Tea-gate' still makes me laugh though.
Where do people get off on sharing uninvited opinions on social media? What the fuck goes through someone's mind to make them think it's a good idea to comment and say someone else is doing it wrong because they're doing something that doesn't sit neatly into our approach to life. I see plenty of stuff online that I don't agree with, but I don't ever feel obliged to make a comment about my feelings on the matter. Sure, if it's an uninvited dumb Instagram add, that's a different story, that's fair game. But if it's someone I'm willingly following that posts something dumb or something I don't agree with I'll scroll over it and if they do it enough times I'll just unfollow them. It's as easy as that.
Ok so there'll be people thinking, "harden the fuck up Ro, stop being a sook". Sure thing mate, when you're on the receiving end for about 5-6 years, then come and tell me how it feels.
It's not just the clashing of ethical criticism that bothered me and turned me away the whole ethical food movement, it's the ethical elite people that are full of annoying opinions and criticism about EVERYTHING. It's all consuming and it's not a healthy way to live. You end up hating the world you live in.
We once went to a community talk with a discussion panel and one of the people on the panel, in front of an audience told everyone they should quit their jobs and live off the land in a fucking permaculture utopia where we whip arses with bits of reusable cloth, avoid vaccines and school our own kids because the education system is so fucked, even though it somehow manages to turn students into doctors that help save lives, and technicians smart enough to design things like iPhones. Are you kidding me? How fucking out of touch with reality are you? People are struggling to pay bills, mortgage, rent, send kids to school and pay for car registration (insert me). The best bit is a lot of these internet famous permaculture gods are in fact 'Trustafarians' those living off inherited trust fund wealth while complaining about how fucked the world is from the comfort of a no mortgage or minimal bills situation that has been gifted to them, or they labour for free accomodation and food in return. Some of these people are apparently 'experts' on every-fucking-thing to do with the grown and gathered lifestyle and how to live a perfectly ethical life. They happily complain that you use plastic, yet they drive cars full of plastic and use plastic wheel barrows. It's a social movement riddled with contradictions. I don't care how awesome and 'perfectly ethical' you are, please stop being dis-honest and annoying.
Being part of this movement and seeing the endless contradictions just put me off, I could even feel myself heading down that path. In reality I've only ever wanted to be like Angelo Pellegrini. I see myself as a descendent embracing some Mediterranean roots; a wog that grows, hunts, cooks and loves the simple things in life, all while leading a relatively 'normal' life. I work a desk job as a designer, I tend my food garden, prepare good honest food, hunt and pick free wild food when I want to. I try to make good choices when I purchase things but refuse to obsess over it, nor do I criticise people when they eat food that's out of season. That is their choice. All I can do is lead by example, if people don't vibe on that, I don't really care. The humans as a whole have already royally fucked the health of the planet anyway, there's is no going back no matter how many re-usable compostable shopping bags and electric cars we consume. The best outcome for the planet is for human annihilation, then a few thousand years of no humans to repair and the planet will be right as rain once again.
I am very happy being a person that makes an honest living. Sure, it's a desk job, it's not my dream but fuck, who lives their dreams? Not many of us are that fortunate. My job puts my kids through school, puts a roof over my family's head, pays for good food, and allows us to have our type of adventures. I have enough time to tend a veggie garden, pay for ammo for my rifles, money to buy the things I can't grow and time to cook good food. That's pretty good in the scheme of things.
I'm not telling anyone what they should be eating and why. I am done with the ethical elite people and their annoying opinions. I'm fed up with people telling me I should ferment more, use mineral rub deodorant, and grow my own peppermint tea. You have put me off making better choices. For everyone out there, I really don't care what you eat, as long as your happy and healthy, really why should I care? It's not my business. You're an adult, you can make your own mind up. If you're vegan, good for you! That takes serious commitment. Even if you do eat highly processed soy and corn meat substitutes that are full of chemicals and preservatives, good for you. I don't give a shit. Just don't be an annoying prick and hassle me online because our principles don't align. If you do choose ethical, organic or in season, that's also great. Just don't hassle the people that aren't doing what you do. Just be cool. Live and let live.
Oh, and one last thing. If you do choose to make more ethical choices in life it doesn't mean you have to stop showering, wear hippy clothes, home knitted beanies, excessive amounts of felt and polar-fleece, grow long beards and have hairy legs, you can also make ethical choices wearing high fashion or dressed as a circus clown, it doesn't matter. You're also not required to drive a Subaru Forester or a Prius. Drive whatever you want. Just stop being fucking annoying. No one cares about your ethical opinions and convenient contradictions. Stop sharing them.
To celebrate todays outburst I'm going to bathe in chicken nuggets and rub sugar filled condiments all over my naked body tonight in honour of all the people that also don't give a shit.