04 December 2008

Morning Ritual

Tomorrow is my last day teaching this academic year and also my last day waking up at 6:30! I enjoy teaching and have lovely, motivated students, but I must confess to not enjoying waking up so early 5 days a week. There was a time when I voluntarily woke up early every morning. I am not quite certain as to what changed, but those days are long gone. Honestly, my ideal sleep pattern now would be to go to bed early, wake up late and take a nap in the afternoon. This isn't really possible (not always). Perhaps I think too much about sleep. I do not like being tired and know that I am less productive and function not as well on little sleep. The fact that I have been incredibly tired for over a month has done little for my academic work, but things will change soon (I hope).

The earliest I have to be on campus (which is a less than 10 minute bike ride away) is 9am. So, I probably don't need to get up at 6:30. I do not take much time showering or "primping," but despite my busy schedule and dislike of prying my eyes open so early, there are certain rituals I am unwilling to cast aside. Or perhaps precisely because of my busy schedule and my exhaustion, I cling even more to my morning ritual. I wake up, I sweep up after the kitties and their dusty bran litter, I shower, turn on the npr, feed the cats, brush Firlefanz, make my tea, prepare breakfast (granola from the CSA or oatmeal), and then settle down to read the paper (online) and scan my food blogs. Everything leads up to dropping myself down into my comfortable desk chair and catching up on the world. I need time to enjoy, relax and reflect before facing a long day. I cannot imagine having to spend up to 12 hours on campus after a rushed morning; I'd feel frantic all day. And I know the cats appreciate my sloth-like presence. Usually Firlefanz finds repose on my lap (making sure I am extra furry before walking out the door), while I read the New York Times. Getting up extra early in order to have time to wake up and come to terms with the day means a lot to me. The same routine happens on the weekend too, though not quite as early.

This morning while reading the paper I came across quite a few noteworthy articles. One New York Times article in particular dealt with the relationship between meat consumption and high emissions. It is definitely worth taking a look at it. Of course I am an ecovore and vegetarian (of sorts), but neither I nor the article is suggesting that meat consumption must be eliminated altogether. Rather, the article clearly and rightly states that meat consumption should be reduced and that the consumer should make wise choices when considering what kind of meat to eat, taking into account origin and farming practices.
I encourage you to check out the article in full, but here are a couple of highlights:

“It’s an area that’s been largely overlooked,” said Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Nobel Prize-winning United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He says people should eat less meat to control their carbon footprints. “We haven’t come to grips with agricultural emissions.”

The trillions of farm animals around the world generate 18 percent of the emissions that are raising global temperatures, according to United Nations estimates, more even than from cars, buses and airplanes.


A sober scientist, [Dr. Pachauri of the United Nations] suggests that “the most attractive” near-term solution is for everyone simply to “reduce meat consumption,” a change he says would have more effect than switching to a hybrid car.

Producing a pound of beef creates 11 times as much greenhouse gas emission as a pound of chicken and 100 times more than a pound of carrots, according to Lantmannen, the Swedish group.
I believe that many are unaware of the true environmental impact of producing and consuming meat. I too was ignorant for a long time about these facts. Knowing these figures, however, is, for me, incredibly convincing. Again, I do not say that everyone must be a vegetarian, but reducing meat consumption is necessary for the future of our planet.

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