World Environment Day 2013 – another lost cause

A mystery. We were puzzled. Why had our neighbour’s son not been going to his college course in catering?

We watched for a few days and hadn’t seen hide nor hair of him. His younger brother was being transported somewhere by his dad (not that there is a perfectly good bus service directly to the college, much) but no older bro in evidence. [Note, environmental day, five or ten minutes in the car v getting the local bus … groan … how many would get the bus?]

Had he chucked it? Been kicked out? Got a job elsewhere? Ha! Not right now where we live in Andalucía. No jobs. Maybe he was on a secondment, I said, not really believing it.

Eventually Nosy Partner asked.

Yay! He was based in Sanlucar de Barrameda (fine sherry I add quickly, possibly the best), working in Cota Doñana. Because he can drive a 4×4, works with horses, and is training as a chef, he was taking food into the national park every day and generally having a good time. Presumably he and some others prepped the food and then he transported it.

That was a relief.

But I wonder what else they teach them at catering college? After reading a post by Brit on the Rock, about visiting the eastern side of Gib and the Caleta Palace Hotel, I decided to look up their menus on their website. Except there weren’t any. Apart from the banqueting ones which left a lot to be desired from a vegetarian point of view.

So then I looked back to the menu I posted for the Rock Hotel, some time ago:

rockmenu

I could have gazpacho followed by tomato salad for the bargain price of nearly twelve quid. That’s just for one person so £24 for anyone who hasn’t worked out there are two of us. For cold tomato soup and salad. That I could do as well, or better, and certainly cheaper.

Rock restaurant. Closed.
Rock restaurant. Closed.

If I want to eat in the Rock restaurant I can have risotto with dolcelatte and broad beans for a starter. No choice. £10.

rock starters

For my main course, I have a choice. I can have beetroot and asparagus pie with soft cheese. Or a sweet veg bavarois with a tortilla and some tomato sauce, although it has a posher name than that. £17 for either.

rockmain
rockveg

So for two people we’ve now got to £54 for a rice starter, and either an omelette and soft veg thing or veg pie for main course.

What about the Elliott?

ELLIOTT

Starters – goats cheese tart, or more rice – this time with Parmesan biscuits. Cost – £7-8.

startell

Main course – veg stir fry and noodles for the glorious sum of £13.50. So we’re looking at £22 each, ie £44 for a cheese starter and a veg stir fry.

mainell

So what, you might ask, as you are drooling over the carni/pesci options, is my point? Apart from the fact that none of those non-veg options on either menu would have interested me years ago.

The point is the veg menus are totally unimaginative. With the exception of the veg stir fry (cost of ingredients for two, a couple of quid at most), they are largely based on cheese/milk ie dairy products. Next question, is the cheese being used vegetarian? ie is it made with vegetarian rennet or rennet from cows/calves/pigs stomachs?

I’ll start with Parmesan cheese. You can’t call it Parmesan unless it is made with calf rennet. So that’s easy isn’t it? Anything using Parmesan is NOT vegetarian. Please note that, Elliott Hotel.

Goats cheese may be vegetarian. But given your lack of knowledge about Parmesan, Elliott, I wouldn’t be too keen on trusting you about your goats cheese.

Dolcelatte? Mascarpone? Allegedly vegetarian according to some sources, ie no dead animal rennet. But quite honestly, why can’t all you clever trained chefs offer food without dairy produce? If I can, and I’m not a trained chef, why can’t you?

And as to the Rock, for your veg main courses, no, a number of starter courses do not suit certain vegetarians and so can be served for a main course. There is one vegetarian starter only.

Both hotels offer a cheese board. And how much of that is vegetarian I wonder? Let alone vegan. Laughing at the thought of vegans even being thought about.

So I am left wondering exactly what my young Spanish neighbour is learning about vegetarian catering. If anything. A bit of cheese or a tortilla for those hard-to-please customers? Shall I get into the free-range egg issue?

And why is it even relevant?

The theme for this year’s World Environment Day celebrations is Think.Eat.Save. Think.Eat.Save is an anti-food waste and food loss campaign that encourages you to reduce your foodprint. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted. This is equivalent to the same amount produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger.  

Er why are starving, emaciated, hungry people a theme for celebration? Wrong words there.

Foodprint. Oh no. These prints are getting beyond a joke.

While the planet is struggling to provide us with enough resources to sustain its 7 billion people (growing to 9 billion by 2050), FAO estimates that a third of global food production is either wasted or lost. Food waste is an enormous drain on natural resources and a contributor to negative environmental impacts.

I probably won’t be alive by 2050. I’ll have died off in the workhouse. Due to the negative environmental impacts. Or something like that.

This year’s campaign rallies you to take action from your home and then witness the power of collective decisions you and others have made to reduce food waste, save money, minimise the environmental impact of food production and force food production processes to become more efficient.

I think there is a way of saying that in English. Stop buying ready-made meals, bleating about your frozen mince being horse or donkey not cows, buy locally instead of cheap imports. Really. Do these people live in Dreamland? Honestly, who gives a shit about the environment enough to act on their principles?

Would you buy organic veg at premium price?

Would you support local shops instead of doing the easy supermarket run?

Would you buy local produce if it was more expensive than imported food?

And as for the last comment about making food production processes more efficient? Isn’t that the whole problem? Efficiency equals bigger bucks, more profit. Bad choice of words there, UN, very bad.

If food is wasted, it means that all the resources and inputs used in the production of all the food are also lost. For example, it takes about 1,000 litres of water to produce 1 litre of milk and about 16,000 litres goes into a cow’s food to make a hamburger. The resulting greenhouse gas emissions from the cows themselves, and throughout the food supply chain, all end up in vain when we waste food.

Well, there’s an easy answer to that one. Don’t use dairy products and don’t eat meat. But no-one wants to say that do they? They say just don’t waste it when you’ve bought it.

In fact, the global food production occupies 25% of all habitable land and is responsible for 70% of fresh water consumption, 80% of deforestation, and 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. It is the largest single driver of biodiversity loss and land-use change.

Really? Tell me something I didn’t know. Vegetarians, and more importantly, vegans have been saying this for years. So it takes the UN until 2013 to discover this?

Making informed decision therefore means, for example, that you purposefully select foods that have less of an environmental impact, such as organic foods that do not use chemicals in the production process. Choosing to buy locally can also mean that foods are not flown halfway across the world and therefore limit emissions.    
So think before you eat and help save our environment!

What a cop out, UN. You could also point out that being a vegetarian, or preferably vegan, would do a hell of a sight more. You might also want to stop pussy footing around with silly statements, and realise that people don’t give a shit so long as their food is cheap, easy, and they have money to spend on important things in life. You know what they are. Holidays, clothes, meals out, status symbols, a few little gadgets around the house, a large screen television, a new car. The list is endless. An easy life.

Summertime, and the living’s easy. Because that’s what people want. Not this silly difficult ethical business.

After all, who amongst us would take a permanent drop in our standard of our living for the benefit of the environment when we have worked so hard all our lives? Take your wings and spread to the sky.

Thanks to ilargia64 for the alert

And UN link

For more on an environment-related theme, you can read about GMOs over on Clouds.

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42 comments on “World Environment Day 2013 – another lost cause

  1. Friends who visited us in France always wanted to go to the markets….yet they had a Farmers’ Market nearby in the U.K. which they never used.
    Why not?
    Their view was that they were not paying some stuck up woman in a Barbour a premium price for the privilege of eating something produced on her land, nor were they putting up with exploitative hippies asking top dollar for what were, after all, veg.
    I’ve never been to one of these markets…is that really how the stall holders are?

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    • I’ve been to one in Spain. Miles away from where we lived. Not huge miles, but just not our local shopping circuit. So what is the added value in going to a market further away and using up a load of fuel to buy something I can get in the village? There was one good stall, with some decent veg, but we didn’t need any of what they had. The rest was total tat, cards, cakes, chutneys, you know the sort of thing. Police were there as well! checking out all the cars – legal or not.

      We never went back.

      I could be that stuck-up woman in a Barbour. It’s nearly 30 years old now and has been falling to bits for years. Barbour jacket story here to save me repeating it http://wp.me/p1XwsS-iP

      I would say not, from what I saw in Spain, not a Barbour in sight. But I have a cynical view about farmers’ markets. After all, I did grow up on a market stall. A real one, not a Barbour jacket one.

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      • I too had a Barbour…it lasted for years and then I turned to Driza Bone.

        Farmers markets here interest me….the house in San Jose is just up the road from a big one and the night before these huge trucks turn up with veg and park to keep their space for setting up the stall in the morning.
        I suspect that all is not as folksy as it seems.

        The visitors liked our local French market…three veg stalls, one fishmonger, an outfitter complete with salmon pink corsets flying from the supports and occasionally a chap cooking black puddings in a cauldron.

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        • My partner’s Barbour is still OK although has to be regularly rewaxed when it acquires mould. But he didn’t commute in and out of London. He also fancied a Driza Bone. Sadly no-one seems to drop those on the street for him to pick up.

          A bit like car boot sales where professional market stall-holders turn up. I’m never sure about farmers’markets either. Just another outlet for a commercial business? And is the produce really any better or fresher than elsewhere? Who can say? Not me.

          We’ve only used our local market a couple of times. There is often better choice in the shops, often as cheap or cheaper, and maybe fresher. Our local shops, both in the village and in town, are invariably backed by some ground in the campo somewhere, that either they or their relatives own. So they can avoid the wholesaler, and transport from ground to shop. A farmer’s market within a shop? Plus, there are then all the local contacts they have, so they can buy stuff in cheaper than using the corrida.

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    • Must be your age! But me too.

      They probably aren’t even expensive to people who earn good money and eat out regularly :(

      I would never had thought about it in my youth. But how many meals would that fund for a few starving people somewhere else? £14 for a noodle veg stir fry? I think that would feed a few starving people. Our morals are so skewed :(

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      • Heh heh you are the second person today to call me old. ;-) I wonder what it could mean?! :-)

        I used to work in the bar/restaurant business and never thought twice about what I paid to eat and drink out. Of course back in those days I would get off work at 3am and be looking for something to do. Those days are long gone. Guess cause I’m old. :D

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        • I did not call you old. So there.

          But it is a fact of life. When young, eat out, spend money, have a good time. when older (not old!), spend time and money differently. That’s all.

          I worked in catering at one point too. Never paid for food. Ate during the day and took food home as well. And got paid. Excellent!

          3am. Hmm, you must have been like the guy in the flat opposite us in Sydney. Came in at 3 or 4 am and put on LOUD MUSIC. We were getting up at 5am. Not good.

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  2. I’m hungry now, reading through all those menus. Some of the veg items – risotto with dolcelatte and broad beans & beetroot and asparagus pie with soft cheese sound lovely, and & I take your point about the cheese, but the Vegetable Stir Fry… nup.
    Every Day is an opportunity for someone somewhere to push their barrow load of hype… I got this newsletter http://cdn.vogue.com.au/media/newsletters/2/html/220130604.html… In case the link doesn’t work, it starts with “Think. Eat. Save. That’s the message from this week’s World Environment Day aiming to raise awareness of food wastage. It’s time to think about ways to be a little more environmentally conscious. Give your kitchen the once-over with homemade cleaning products and then set about whipping up warming winter dishes like pumpkin soup and mushroom lasagne using home grown herbs and vegetables. And before you throw away the leftovers, discover the importance of composting and how to do it right. Together, we can make a difference”, and has lots of shiny home decor type photos. Fair enough, I subscribe to the newsletter… but it makes me laugh that everyone has a way of hijacking a cause with a cause…
    I think the Think. Eat. Save premise is a valid one. After all, it’s what I adopted myself and I have seen the positive effect on our spending, buying and eating habits.
    Perhaps though, yes, a little less selling & subtly is called for and some plain speaking in its place.

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    • I am an inveterate menu reader. I can’t walk past anywhere without stopping to read the offerings. A bit like Partner can’t walk past a tool shop. It’s useful when tool shops and eateries are located together as we can both gaze at our preferred distraction.

      They are the sort of meals dreamed up by non-vegetarians basically. Where are the nuts? tofu? tempeh? seitan? legumes? Given our proximity to Morocco, I’m surprised there wasn’t any couscous, which is the other trendy token gesture to vegetarians. (We don’t like couscous).

      I like veg stir fry. But it goes without saying that mine isn’t sweet and sour, it’s just sour :D And of course it has ginger and chilli, and coriander when I have it in. A Thai one with a green paste would be good – but plain veg stir fry and noodles? That could be two bags, one of chopped veg, and the other of the noodles. For £14? Talk about feeling like a second third class citizen.

      When I was writing this post, I did think about you. I nearly wrote:

      Honestly, who honestly gives a shit about the environment enough to act on their principles? Except for EllaDee.

      And the same for the questions that followed.

      My point is that few people will have even heard/read the message. I only noticed it because I read it on someone else’s blog.

      And will anyone be interested in Think.Eat.Save? No. Because the ones who are interested have already thought, eat differently, and save whatever. (Food, money, environment).

      That’s the reason I would have gone in a lot more hard-hitting to get more publicity. So on the one hand they are saying that:

      global food production is responsible for 70% of fresh water consumption, 80% of deforestation, and 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. It is the largest single driver of biodiversity loss and land-use change.

      and

      For example, it takes about 1,000 litres of water to produce 1 litre of milk and about 16,000 litres goes into a cow’s food to make a hamburger.

      but they daren’t upset the dairy and meat industry to say – cut down on your consumption of these products because it is eating away at the planet. I would have said that. I would have said the way the western world eats is unsustainable.

      This wasn’t a post about being vegetarian/vegan per se. It was about the fact that raising animals for food is far more costly, not just financially but environmentally, than plant food. After all, Bill Gates has said that, so it must be true. But more about him when I write about GMO.

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      • Hah… the G.O. doesn’t like couscous either…
        Thank you for that thought… my motivations are different to yours and I’m nowhere near able to live as I’d like but I’ll keep on with it as I really hate greedy bastard big business and the holy grail of shareholder profit at the expense of the rest of the world.
        The intraweb, as another blogger calls it, is helping a lot, blogging and online forums are shouting out in it and from it.
        I’ll be interested to hear about BG, and GMO’s :)

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        • Partner hates it with a vengeance. Well at least we both know if we ever entertain each other what not to cook :D And ginger is something to always be added for both of us.

          I don’t think our motivations are so different. I dislike corporate giants and globalisation too, I believe in shopping locally (and not just for food, I would rather support local industries of any type), I’ve always been anti-pesticides and anti-GM because I think it is unhealthy. I was interested in the environment and hated waste and consumerism long before I as vegetarian. It’s co-incidence that my dislike of animal cruelty for the food industry fits with all the other ethics.

          I could have added fishing to the list of unsustainable food practices. By 2030 another 37 million tonnes of fish will be needed. In a world with ever-depleting fishing stocks? And of course that affects other marine life too.

          I’d better start writing my GM post.

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  3. I was brought with my parents supporting local produce,, and markets..we had a local man doing rounds where my mother bought all her veg,, herbs .. but the one grievance I have with markets,, is the quality of the vegetables at times..people I think in general want to support local, but they also wish to purchase vegetables that are not decaying or heading that way..I dont means all are like this, but what they dont sell today, they will try tomorrow,,so the freshness is not there..But also they are dying off slowly as well,, less and less stalls.. I go to one in Lymington that has been going for years,, every Saturday it is,, and is one of the few that has good quality,, and then do not mind paying a few pence more..and your point about children dying,, this should never be today in this world,, when one considers the wastage the governments are creating…:) Nice read as usual..

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    • Well I come from a market stall family, so have to declare an interest. We obviously knew a lot of the other stallholders, and even back then, much of the produce was imported. Our main day was Saturday, and many of the veg stalls would start to sell produce cheap in the afternoon or otherwise it would go to waste – strawberries a classic example. Although many of the veg stalls bought our goods (bacon and cheese) we actually only used a couple of veg stalls because their produce was better quality, and as you say, not deteriorating as the day went on.

      Not just about children dying Gerry. About people starving while the rest of us happily tuck into steak and chips (not me with the steak, but you get the idea). How many people with a good well-fed life would really change to benefit either the environment or other people? And thanks.

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      • Yes of course not just the children,,,however the market stalls I refer to did use local farms,, some were actually the farms people..I would get some of the best large black cherries you would dream of.. I know not all markets are the same and not always local produce,, but it is the thought that one is supporting locla traders… ;)

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        • That’s interesting about the local farms. There was no local produce that I knew of when we worked on the markets, but these were big markets with hundreds of stalls.

          I still try and support local businesses when I can. We go to the big bad supermarket for cheap beer, recycled kitchen towels/toilet rolls, and organic veg. And the bread is decent too. Other veg come from the market or local shops. That’s in Gib. In Spain, we use our village shops.

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  4. I’m not a vegetarian although I often opt for the veggie option and can see how little choice there might be if you are restricted for whatever reason to just that choice. Being a veggie in France must be a nightmare, them being a carnivorous lot – and raw in many cases, to boot! Goat’s cheese salad however, is always a lunchtime favourite.

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    • I think for non-vegetarians, the veg option is often quite interesting. But for vegetarians, or vegans, it is invariably well, to put it bluntly, just not good enough. And not even vegetarian let alone vegan.

      Being veg in Paris was fine, but in Vercors (south) was a different matter. In Spain we can always eat, there is always salad and chips, plus gazpacho, ajo blanco, patatas alioli etc

      Cheese in Spain is a nightmare. Never seen a vegetarian one yet (ie made with vegetable rennet rather than from cows insides). But as I avoid cheese anyway, it’s not an issue for me.

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      • I grew up in a very carni home. Even fish was seen as not a main meal – OK as a starter or fish course, but my dad wanted meat on his plate. The point about the veg menus above is that they are just falling back on the same old trick, substitute meat with dairy and/or eggs. They might as well be offering that old stand-by – the cheese omelette.

        And the relevance of the menus and the UN statement is that eating less meat and more veg food would be more sustainable. But not if you just swap meat for dairy, I find it sad that the UN can come out with the facts but won’t draw the unpalatable (!) conclusion. Because people certainly won’t draw it for themselves.

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        • You hit the nail on the head. Switching meat for dairy does nothing when one considers that significant amount of green house gases produced are from the animal based industries. The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.

          Cattle-rearing generates more global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than transportation does. Cattle-rearing is also a major source of land and water degradation, according to the FAO report, Livestock’s Long Shadow–Environmental Issues and Options. ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/a0701e/a0701e00.pdf Overall meat production also uses a massive amount of water and other resources which would be better used to feed the world’s hungry and provide water to those in need.

          In 2006 the FAO said: “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems,” senior UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) official Henning Steinfeld said. “Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.”

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          • It’s interesting – and extremely depressing – that food production is such a controversial issue. One of the basics of life, along with shelter and warmth, and yet it is a generator of so much income in a huge variety of different industries (pesticides, GMOs, ready-made meals for example) that there is no honesty about it. Big business always wins at the expense of everyone and everything else.

            The FAO report is a good one (OK, I didn’t read all 300+ pages of it) but how many people will read it? The trite press release put out by the UN for WED was just amateur in its message.

            In the report, it talked about needing to double the amount of livestock production by 2050, and pointed out, that to preserve the status quo consumption needed to be halved. (Pretty simple maths that one!) And as you’ve quoted, ‘urgent action is required.’

            But urgent action isn’t about not wasting the food you do buy. It’s about changing what you eat. And that is the message no-one wants to hear.

            Look at summer barbecues, for example. What are they full of? Sure, there might be a salad on the side. And some cheese. And some butter to go with the bread. It is 90% (or more) based on animal produce.

            The problem with telling people to cut down on their meat/dairy consumption is that it is linked with loopy lefty vegetarians eating brown rice, wearing sandals and all the rest of the hippy 60s image. And they care more about animals than people etc etc

            There are three very good reasons for moving towards a vegetarian-based diet:
            1. Health – lots of studies to show vegetarians/vegans have longer life expectancy and with fewer health problems
            2. The environment, as we’ve both discussed. Less damage, less irreplaceable clearing of rain forests, less CO2, less water use, the list is endless
            3. Starving people in the world might get a chance to eat because there would be more land available for crop production

            That’s before you even get into the ethics of whether or not you should be abusing and killing animals for food.

            You and I both try and avoid waste, we recycle what we can, and try to live a life that is based on what we consider to be sound principles within our very differing circumstances. To me, waste is also about buying something you don’t need in the first place. And the blunt truth is, people don’t need to eat meat, fish or fowl or their related produce – dairy/eggs – to live.

            The PR side of me doesn’t like negative messages, but the UN and governments need to grasp the issue and say that people need to eat a more vegetable-based diet. Won’t happen in my lifetime though. Maybe not ever.

            Thanks for your thoughtful comments and good link. Almost forgot, on CO2, animal produce then also generates even more because of the transportation – around the world once it goes into the food chain. Slaughterhouse, freezer trucks/planes, factories, processed food, etc.

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  5. As I’ve mentioned before I took to refusing to take my vegetarian brother out for a meal (on the then rare occasions I’d see him) because IMHO restaurants rip off vegetarian customers. More recently its not an issue as I don’t have contact with him.

    Locally to me here, the only restaurants where vegetarians can get an enjoyable reasonably priced meal seem to be Indian or pizza restaurants. I would have thought supply and demand would have increased the number of restaurants offering a good variety of vegetarian and meat dishes, but it seems not to be the case.

    As for World Environment Day, I waste very little food. Anything approaching its use by date that I don’t want to eat now goes into the freezer for another day. I do fear though that the current economic climate means that our climate change targets will go out the window, with people going back to burning coal and fracking up shale gas rather than developing renewable energy opportunities.

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    • Absolutely, veg meals out are a serious rip off. Which is why, in our early veg days for health not ethical reasons, we departed from the veg options and ate dead animals when we ate out. I did try the veg option at our favourite restaurant at the time – The Swan in Leighton Buzzard (now Wetherspoon!!!!) and it was a big mistake. Home-made pasta requiring three arms, in case you are interested.

      Also agree on Indian and Italian. Maharajah and Quattro Staggioni being my faves in Gib, the Waterfront (Queensway Quay Marina) used to be good when we first came, but obviously the chef changed and it resorted to the curry, veg lasagna, something else banal option.

      The best veg food is always at specifically veg restaurants. There were a couple of great ones in Newcastle, and the other three excellent ones I have eaten at were Tarragona, Málaga, and Los Boliches (Fuengirola). It’s ironic but Spain does some seriously great veg food. When we ate at Tarragona, near the university and full of arty types – we obviously didn’t look arty or veggie – the waiter said: ‘There’s no meat here you know’. Um, that’s why we were there.

      Non-vegetarians just don’t get it, simple as that, so they can’t cater. And the exception to that is Indian food, for obvious reasons.

      Freezers are good for not wasting. In Spain, have left over food, put in freezer for another day. In Gib, fridge hasn’t yet packed up but freezer has, so we need to keep resorting to pot au feu.

      I don’t think domestic coal is an issue. It’s the industrial demand for energy that is the real problem. Fracking is off the wall. It really is. I’ve got too many other things to write about so I’m not getting into that one. There is an easy answer. Use less energy. But why, moan moan, why not jump in the car for a five minute journey?

      We supported renewable energy years ago. Went round a wind farm in Cumbria. Really interesting. Pros and cons to that too, but compared with petrochemicals and oil wars?

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      • I was looking at the website of an American resort hotel today. It has no less than 7 restaurants in the resort, and each restaurant featured its own separate vegetarian menu in addition to the meat/fish menu.

        Of the options on the vegetarian menus I’d say over half were non-dairy dishes (I’d hesitate to say vegan because I know there are all sorts of things like gelatin which might slip through the net) which sounds to me like progress in terms of vegetarian choice, and from the USA of all places.

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        • Unless it is veg gelatin, animal-based gelatin is neither veg nor vegan. One of the reasons I stopped using the SLR years back because it was involved in the processing.

          America is quite surprising in terms of vegan/veg food. I drool over some of the vegan blogs I read. The choice of restaurants they have and the range of ingredients is amazing. Not enough to make me want to live there, but if vegetarianism was more or less invented by Britain, American has certainly caught up and moved out in front.

          Idle browsing or are you planning a holiday?

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          • Why are they asking you? :D See what I say about weddings? It becomes everyone’s business! Mind you, much as I don’t go out, don’t stay at hotels, I am a sucker for looking at menus, accommodation, etc – hence all the menus above.

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  6. Today is oceans’ day. Sadly, too, the state of the world’s oceans is nothing to celebrate. Between the enormous load of junk that gets dumped into them daily and the horrendous fishing practices of just about every seafaring country the current state is awful and there’s no end in sight.

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    • Unless the UN did something for oceans; day too, I think they should have mentioned the unsustainable overfishing for world environment day too. If you read my comment to EllaDee you will have seen the figures on that and how we can’t keep pace with that either. Not helped by all the illegal practices that continue, I don’t mean the limits, I’m talking now about taking the baby fish that are not meant to be caught. They have adverts on Spanish television every year telling people not to buy the baby fish because it is illegal to catch and sell them. We have a fish man comes regularly around the village. And everyone buys the baby fish from him.

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      • And therein lies the heart of the problem. The fishers who spurn the rules will continue to do so as long as consumers are content to buy cheap product. They, (the consumers) in reality are who’s destroying the ocean. It’s just ONE itty-bitty fish, right, what odds?

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        • WE are the ones slowly moving towards self-destruction. Or maybe not. Perhaps people will find a way out of this crazy life. Unlikely in my lifetime.

          I just wish things could be different. That I didn’t feel like I am the only person railing against selfishness and disregard. Oh well, off to cook tea (no fish).

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          • I like the way Noam Chomsky explains much of this. He notes that many of the decision-makers take items not directly related to the corporate agenda and classify them as externalities. Even though they, as individuals, may not agree with the decisions they make, in this model they find ways of justifying what they do in the name of corporate growth. Here is fairly short clip of him expanding on this a bit (you can find much longer ones–Chomsky is a prolific writer and speaker). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7i6C0Vs-xw8

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          • That was an interesting link. He’s very much stating the obvious, but maybe it isn’t obvious to everyone. Trouble with Chomsky is, that his perspective/political viewpoint is pretty well known (it should be by now!) so his credence will only really be with like-minded people – which came across in the vid.

            Too true that we all rationalise what we do for work. We’re employed to do a job. I’ve tried not to work where I didn’t agree with the ethos, but you can never really escape it. I did leave the private sector when I felt I was working for the benefit of shareholders and not for me.

            I don’t actually blame big business for trying to earn money. I do blame governments for getting into bed with them. I also blame people for not being aware of what is going on.

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  7. Sadly I think you hit it on the head with EllaDee: those that care already do.
    So much “Healthy Eating” and “vegetarian”is just marketing – and people don’t take time to read if they aren’t really understanding vegetarian lifestyle – only doing it for show?
    We like to shop local and eat fresh. There’s a really great farmer’s market in the middle of their farm, actually – but it’s a 45 min drive – and that’s not such a good idea. We have a close Sat. farmers’ market that is actually near-by farmers and organic farmers bringing their produce – but it’s only open 3 hours and stuff gets bought out fast. Shoreacres called and has found a coop/deliver type deal where you get a box of what ever is growing that week – which may be an option. But we don’t really eat as much as we used to.
    The UN – don’t get me started.
    Or on making vehicle fuel from a food source (Screaming).
    Or about overfishing the fisheries (Sobs) And all the agricultural chemicals that wash into the bays and gulfs.(Ban chemical lawnscape companies…if it lives, it lives…lawns don’t have to be green…plant appropriate plants to the area!)
    At least there’s a group that goes around to restaurants here and collects leftover food and takes it to the shelters. Some people are trying….Others always feel “someone else” will take care of the hungry so they don’t have to bother.
    OK…I will go over here and sit quietly.

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    • Ironically, I think it was EllaDee who told me that vegetarianism had become quite trendy in a sort of fashionable way. That has me tearing out my hair.

      We used to have an organic box scheme when we were in the UK. Actually we had two, one in one house, and one in another one later. They would deliver into the city but it cost extra, which was silly, because that encouraged people to drive and collect. It wasn’t much extra but as it happened to be en route to the beach we would go and pick up our boxes and walk the dogs. Which we would have done anyway. It was sort of good, but the fruit part was totally ridiculous as it was all flown in :( The veg were ok, but there were too many carrots (OK if you eat carrot cake but we don’t) so we asked them to swap for something else.

      I liked the idea of using what was in season and fixing my meals around that, rather than buying something flown in from Africa or wherever. It wasn’t caterin for vegetarians because it didn’t have the right mix of veg, but rather for middle class yuppies who wanted some organic veg. A few of my non-veg work colleagues used it as well.

      I write enough about fishing on here, so I’m trying to give it a rest for a while, but it is just as big a problem. But nobody sees the depletion of the sea or considers the effect on other marine life.

      Ban chemical lawnscape companies? Ban chemical companies. Or better still, tax higher, enforce strict regulations, and put the taxes towards something vaguely environmental. I will write a post about pesticides soonish, I’ve already done GMOs over on Clouds, nearly put the two together but ‘twould have been too long.

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