Monday, February 02, 2009

Environmentalism and Animal Welfare: Mututally Exclusive?

Now, I haven't had the chance to really suss out this apparent irreconcilable difference between holding the two ideologies of environmentalism and animal rights/welfare. However, it occurred to me that it may be terribly difficult to enact certain desires of each without embodying hypocrisy.

Taken to an extreme, certain environmental tenets proclaims a necessity for "returning to the earth". That is, we ought to forsake (as much as is possible) the artificialities of human existence. By artificialities I do not mean, like Thoreau, that we should extract ourselves from society. Society in and of itself is integral and beneficial to human existence. It has also been documented in innumerable animal congregations and thus cannot be called singularly human. I mean instead that we move away from man-made things and embrace naturally found resources to facilitate our lives. Evidence of this mindset is most prominently found in advertising - because it work; a rash of consumables with "90%+ all natural ingredients" like make-up and cleaning products have hit the market in the last ten years. Think of it as putting our lifestyles on a whole food/marcobiotic diet.

Here's where things start to get muddy. In many ways, synthetics have come to replace the natural resources that we used to use and that many would have us return to. Specifically, synthetics are often used to replace animal-derived products. Although part of this shift has to do with the excitement and lure of science and progress, part of it has to do with an increased awareness of item production and the role of animals as consumables. Companies hoping to "ethically" cash in on pro-animal sentiment advertise animal free products and testing. Instead, synthetics are used to replace the animal-derivatives.

So if we fully reject synthetics, animals (more fully) resume their role as consumables. If we swear off animal consumption, synthetics abound. Is there any way to happily inhabit both ideologies simultaneously?


Blogger Bette said...

You are so silly. How can you possibly go this long without blogging and then come back with something so heavy? You kill me, V!

7:28 a.m.  

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