Do your little bit of good where you are; it is those little bits of good put all together that overwhelm the world – Desmond Tutu
I’m veggie because I don’t want to eat fish. Not eating meat just followed on from that. I consider it my little bit of good for the environment. I don’t want to eat fish because there aren’t that many left and if we don’t give them a chance the situation won’t improve. That’s a decision I took on the basis of a lot of reading, some fantastic work experience which opened my eyes to a lot of problems that the ocean is facing and the realisation that the measures we’re putting in place are not always working well.
I find myself justifying being veggie quite a lot. Sometimes people are interested because it’s a bit different, and sometimes it’s disbelief and quiet concern at the fact that I turn down bacon sandwiches.
People say ‘why don’t you eat it, it’s dead anyway’. I say, if enough people don’t eat it then demand will fall over time and the stock will be under less pressure. This is clearly a very simplistic justification, but I find it works and prevents fish politics at dinner.
People say ‘why are you veggie, you’re not going to make a difference on your own’. I say, that’s not the point. It’s extremely difficult to make a difference on your own. The point is I’m happy to be contributing to a larger group of people who feel the same way, and turn down fish for the same sustainability reasons. It’s this group which can make a difference, more so than just me.
That’s not to say everyone should stop eating fish immediately. You don’t have to be veggie to help make a difference. We are reliant on fish as a significant source of protein and therefore everyone cutting it out is unrealistic and unreasonable. What people can do is make more sustainable choices when buying fish to help take some pressure off the most threatened species.
There are lots of easy swaps to make and an app so you don’t have to remember them. You can also ask at the counter about sustainable choices, or look for the Marine Stewardship Council tick logo on packaging.
So if everyone makes more sustainable choices when they buy fish, these ‘little bits of good put all together’ will help to preserve fish stocks for the future. Don’t worry if it feels like you’re not making a difference on your own – think of the bigger picture.