The Lazy Environmentalist Indeed
June 10, 2009 by The Dove
By Shannon Dunn
As I settled in for the evening to watch a preview copy of Sundance Channels soon-to-be-aired The Lazy Environmentalist, I was looking forward to learning how its easy to be green-that we can all do it, once equipped with the know how.
My excitement turned to disappointment part way through the first episode, which is set to air on June 16, as the shows host, environmental entrepreneur Josh Dorfman, forgot to mention an important fact to the family he had gone to help: their excessive meat consumption is one of the major reasons our planet is being destroyed.
Instead, the Martinez family were encouraged to think about heading to the butcher instead of their local supermarket in order to reduce the amount of packaging their meat comes in.
Fair enough I thought. Small steps are very important when it comes to lifestyle changes. Small steps lead to more small steps, which add up to be bigger steps. One person can absolutely make a difference to the world. Still, the vegan in me squirmed as it became obvious there would be no mention of how meat is the number one industrial polluter; how half of the worlds rainforests have been razed for cattle grazing for beef; how it takes 14 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat but it takes 441 gallons to produce one pound of beef.
Regardless, what Dorfman was doing was helping to educate on recycling and reusing, so he had my vote-at least until he too chowed down on ribs, straight from the hot plate of the Martinezs barbecue.
Now there was something wrong with the picture. Really wrong. And it wasnt with my television. As I sat there contemplating the positives of The Lazy Environmentalist, my heart sank as I realized Dorfman wasnt an environmentalist at all — rather an entrepreneur who recognizes the value in the green movement.
I have a solid understanding that changing from a meat eating lifestyle to a vegetarian way of life overnight is rare (nor recommended-reducing meat consumption should be done over a period of time). Its also important not to preach: no one likes a bible basher. Leading by example is by far the most effective way to show others what works. My concern lies with those we look up to as environmentalists, yet arent fulfilling the job description.
Perhaps Howard Lynn, a former fourth-generation Montana cattle rancher, who is now a vegan, says it best: “To consider yourself an environmentalist and still eat meat is like saying youre a philanthropist who doesnt give to charity.”
But Dorfman isnt the only environmentalist whose diet comes before the planet. As hypnotherapist, spiritual teacher and The Green Dove contributor Cynthia Morgan wrote recently about Al Gore: “The King of Green gave us The Inconvenient Truth, a documentary about a planet on the verge of self-destructing from global warming; yet as a carnivore, he partakes in the very act that creates more greenhouse gases than cars!”
Dorfman told me he became The Lazy Environmentalist when he realized most people wanted to solve environmental challenges such as global warming, air and water pollution and food quality.
“We often arent willing to change our personal habits or be inconvenienced just to help contribute to the solutions,” he said.
So what gives? Why hasnt Dorfman changed his meat-eating habit to lead by example and become a true environmentalist? We wanted to know.
“As Ive become more educated on this issue over the past few years I have chosen to limit my consumption of meat,” he explained.
But Mr Dorfman, your name is up there in lights as an environmentalist. Environmentalists dont eat less meat. They choose not to eat it at all. An environmentalist doesnt become “more educated on the issue” they are educated on the issue. And this folks, is where the problem lies.
Dorfman says “its reality that few people will change their eating habits just to save the earth”. Rather, “millions of people might want to change their eating habits if they understood all of the benefits that would accrue to them”.
“And since saving money and being healthier is usually in most peoples immediate self-interest, I think we have an opportunity to spread environmental information in ways that people can really relate to and will be willing to act upon,” he added. “We are a meat eating nation (the United States), so we have to think deeply about how we work with that reality and attempt to change it.”
Well save you some time, Mr Dorfman. Put the ribs down. Stop eating meat. Show your audience how its done.
So, according to The Lazy Environmentalist television series, it seems its a case of why bother telling people about earth-damaging meat production at all if the environmentalist host believes its a lost cause, even before he begins?
As a member of Newsweeks Global Environment and Leadership Advisory Committee; the Wolf Trap Foundations National Advisory Council for the Arts and Environment; and as someone who, as an environmentalist, has addressed corporations such as Google, MTV Networks, Pepsico and Bristol Myers Squibb, Dorfman is in the perfect position to make a difference and truly lead by example.
We at The Green Dove, would like to offer up that challenge to The Lazy Environmentalist, to stop being lazy and show the world-through leading by example-how everyone will benefit from a flesh-free diet.
See The Green Doves full interview with The Lazy Environmentalist, Josh Dorfman, below. To read more about how eating meat affects the world we live in, head to www.chooseveg.com/environment.asp
THE GREEN DOVE: How did you become The Lazy Environmentalist?
JOSH DORFMAN: I realized that people while most people want to solve environmental challenges like global warming, air and water pollution, and food quality issues, we often arent willing to change our personal habits or be inconvenienced just to help contribute to the solutions. So I started the lazy environmentalist to help lazy, resistant-to-change Americans reduce their environmental impact and begin to bring their lifestyles into greater balance with nature.
TGD: In your opinion what could every household do that they currently may not be doing to ensure a greener planet?
JD: Every household could easily switch to low-flow showerheads, which is one of the best ways to reduce the use of water and energy (to heat the water) and save money by lowering utility bills. I personally like the Roadrunner showerhead from Evolve because it reduces the flow of water from 2.5 gallons per minute for typical showerheads to 1.5 gallons per minute and also includes other water-saving features. So someone taking a typical 10-minute shower everyday could save over 10 gallons of water per day and over 3600 gallons of water over the course of year. The Roadrunner still provides strong pressure so lazy environmentalist wont even notice the difference yet theyll be doing something really good for the planet. It costs $39.95 and pays for itself in terms of lower utility bills pretty quickly. www.evolveshowerheads.com/roadrunner_showerhead.html
TGD: Please view this link . Before reading the story above, were you aware of the impact meat-eaters have on the planet?
JD: Yes, Im aware of meat eaters impact on the planet.
TGD: Do you think it’s something you would consider giving up, considering your public role as an environmentalist?
JD: As Ive become more educated on this issue over the past few years I have chose to limit my consumption of meat. When I was hosting my daily radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio we implemented Lazy Environmentalist Meatless Tuesdays. The idea was to consistently reduce meat consumption every week in a way that made it a fun challenge and non-threatening for our listeners. The point here is that you can have all the environmental statistics and data on your side, but unless youre willing to give serious thought to how you present that information to people who really dont want to change their habits and dont want to stop eating meat, you will continue to come up against a wall of resistance and change will only happen on the periphery. We are a meat eating nation, so we have to think deeply about how we work with that reality and attempt to change it. I tell audiences that eating less meat will save them money and make them healthier and also be beneficial to the planet. For better or worse, Ive found from my experience that most Americans are only willing to change their habits when they perceive doing so to be in their self-interest. And since saving money and being healthier is usually in most peoples immediate self-interest, I think we have an opportunity to spread environmental information in ways that people can really relate to and will be willing to act upon. The reality is that few people will change their eating habits just to save the earth, but millions of people might change their eating habits if they understood all of the benefits that would accrue to them. Oh, and there also has to be lazy and delicious ways to eat less meat. Id like to see the emergence of more roadside vegetarian fast food joints that serve really tasty food.
TGD: What do you hope the program will achieve?
JD: I hope the TV program is really entertaining so that people who arent environmentalists will want to watch. There are lots green TV shows these days. I think our show stands apart because were testing environmental alternatives in the real-world with regular Americans to see if theyd be realistically willing to adopt them. The show doesnt preach or moralize about the state of the planet. Instead it attempts to show that environmental alternatives really can stand up in the marketplace and that they can truly improve the quality of our lives. Ultimately, if we can attract people to the show who dont self-identify as environmentalists then I think will be succeeding because well be helping to expand the movement.