Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Joy of Summerfest

It's a big weekend for the portion of Earth to Philly staff most concerned with living sustainably by eating low (lower, lowest) on the food chain, that is to say, me. I'm off to Johnstown again for North American Vegetarian Society's Summerfest.

The Joy of Summerfest

One view of the UPJ campus, where Summerfest is held.
One view of the UPJ campus, where Summerfest is held.

It's a big weekend for the portion of Earth to Philly staff most concerned with living sustainably by eating low (lower, lowest) on the food chain, that is to say, me.

I'm off to Johnstown again (specifically, the campus of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown) for North American Vegetarian Society's Summerfest, an annual conference right here in Pennsylvania that mixes delicious food, reunions of old friends and the latest thinking and trends in vegetarianism. (If you're reading this on Thursday, there's still time to register for the weekend package, which starts Friday evening)

This year a new presence at Summerfest will be Melanie Joy, a sociology and psychology professor at UMass and the author of "Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism." Joy has a Philly connection in that, as she puts it, "a huge inspiration for my activism began in Philly, when I attended a workshop at Training for Change."

Melanie Joy suggests that instead of thinking of "vegetarianism" or "veganism" as the odd, "marked" ideologies set against normal folks' atttitudes, we should have a name for the peculiar ideology of meat-eating (especially eating one animal while petting another). For any of you who may not make it most of the way across the Keystone state for Summerfest, here's a quick Q&A with her.

Earth to Philly: What's the difference between carnism and carnivorism?

Joy: The term “carnivorism” is actually an oxymoron: a carnivore is an animal that needs to eat flesh to survive, while “ism” denotes a belief system. Carnivore (like omnivore) describes one’s biological predisposition, not one’s belief system.

Earth to Philly: Why are you proposing a new term?

Joy: For the vast majority of the world today, eating animals is not a necessity, but a choice—and choices always stem from beliefs. Just as we’ve named the ideology in which it’s considered inappropriate to eat animals (vegetarianism or veganism), it only makes sense to name the opposing ideology; otherwise, eating animals is seen as a given rather than a choice.

Earth to Philly: Do you see vegetarianism as an ideology making any strides against carnism?

Joy: Yes, I do. But I think it’s vital that vegetarians become aware of carnism, because the goal of the vegetarian movement isn’t simply the abolition of meat production and consumption, but the transformation of carnism—the ideology that makes meat consumption possible in the first place. If we see eating animals not as simply a matter of personal ethics, but as the inevitable end result of a deeply entrenched, invisible belief system, we can dramatically change the way we think and talk about the issue.

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Earth to Philly is a weblog focusing on earth-conscious technology, trends and ideas, from a Daily News perspective. We look at the "green" aspects of your home, business, food, transportation, style, policy, gadgets and artwork. If you have a Philly-related story, Click here to let us know about it!

The experts at Philadelphia's Energy Coordinating Agency answer your energy questions in our regular feature Stay Warm, Stay Green. Send in your question or questions to energy@phillynews.com.

Look for Jenice Armstrong to supply tips on green living as well as occasional columns on the subject of Green. She also blogs at Hey Jen.

Becky Batcha stays tuned for the here-and-now practical side of conservation, alternative energy, organic foods, etc. - stuff you can do at home now. Plus odds and ends.

Laurie Conrad recycles from her ever-growing e-mailbag to pass along the latest travel deals, fashion statements, household strategies, gadgets, cool local events and other nuggets of interest to those who appreciate a clean, green world.

Vance Lehmkuhl looks at topics like eco-conscious eating, public transportation and fuel-efficient driving from his perspective as a vegetarian, a daily SEPTA bus rider and a hybrid driver, as well as noting the occasional wacky trend or product. Contact Vance with your 'green' news.

Ronnie Polaneczky sees the green movement through the eyes of her 12-year-old daughter, who calls her on every scrap of paper or glass bottle that Ronnie neglects to toss into the house recycling bins. Ronnie will blog about new or unexpected ways to go green. She also blogs at So, What Happened Was...

Sandra Shea and the DN editorial board opine on any green-related legislation or policy. And we'll pass along some of the opeds on the subject that people send us.

Jonathan Takiff will be blogging mainly about consumer electronics - those things that we love to use and that suck too much energy. He'll spotlight green-conscious gizmos made in a responsible fashion, both in terms of materials used and the energy it takes to run them.

Signe Wilkinson draws the comic strip Family Tree, which follows the Tree family as they try to live green in the face of nattering neighbors, plastic-wrapped consumer products, and the primal teenage urge to spend vast quantities of money on hair care products of dubious organic quality.

In addition to these updates from our newsroom bloggers, watch for an occasional feature, Dumpster Diver Dispatches, from Philadelphia's original "green" community of artists, the Dumpster Divers. You'll learn about creative ways to reuse and recycle while you reduce, and about the artists who are making little masterpieces from what others throw out.

  • Dispatch #1: Margaret Giancola's rugs from plastic bags
  • Dispatch #2: Dumpster Divers in City Hall (Art in City Hall series)
  • Dispatch #3: Wild wood, New Jersey
  • Dispatch #4: Dumpster Divers award winners announced
  • Dispatch #5: From sweaters to colorful cuddling
  • Dispatch #6: Green artists retake South Street Sunday
  • Dispatch #7: Isaiah Zagar: He's a Magic (Gardens) Man

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