A few weeks ago, I had a dream that the world was ending, and when you looked out the window, the air was saturated with fog so thick that all you could see was gray. So I yanked the curtains closed and spent my day (presumably my last) in the kitchen making chocolate chip pancakes. I sunk my hands in the runny batter, and threw handfuls of it onto the griddle, savoring the spatter and the hiss, the comforting Saturday morning sounds of breakfast. By the time I had finished, there was a towering stack of pancakes looming above me, and the room had taken on its own foggy-gray murk of steam and cooking oil. I sat down at the kitchen table and devoured the whole stack, sunk my teeth into pancake after pancake and ripped them apart, taking breaks only to stand at the window and check on the swirling ice-cold silver outside, waiting for it to consume me.
I woke up to an overcast midsummer sky with a hankering for pancakes. I got up, showered, and tried to shake the leftover feeling of the dream off, the hopelessness, the gluttony, the regret. The world was ending, I thought to myself, and my solution was to make pancakes?
I tried not to think about it too much.
But the dream has been floating around my head lately, in spite of my best efforts to ignore it. What was there to say? That I was afraid my country was falling to pieces, and that I was starting to feel powerless? That I felt like I was watching the government finish off the earth as if it belonged solely to cold, mechanical hands of big corporations, and that no one was interested in saving it?
“Climate change is getting bad,” say so many liberals, as they dangle a strip of bacon over their mouth, as they chomp away at the rainforest and the ozone layer, savoring it between their teeth, laughing at the silly tofu-eaters and fuel-efficient car-drivers.
The number one cause of rainforest deforestation is conversion to cropland and pasture. And the majority of that cropland is used to grow food to feed the animals in the pasture. The animals we eat, the eggs we eat, and the dairy we eat all encourage the destruction of our rainforests. Everyone, it seems, has something terrible to say about the tragedy of the ozone layer. But almost no one will lift a finger and actually do anything about it.
If you point fingers at the climate change deniers and continue to eat the seeds of its undoing, you’re no better than the deniers. Your greasy hamburger produces as much methane as anyone else’s.
“How the hell do you milk an almond?” says almost everyone I’ve ever known.
“How can you destroy the environment we share?” I want to reply. “As if it only belongs to you?”
If you’re going to drink a tall glass of cow’s milk, you know, you might as well stick a straw in it too. And while you’re at it, close the curtains and ignore the heat, the muddling of seasons together, the extreme temperatures and the thinning sky. Gorge on butter and chicken breasts and roast yourself a sirloin steak. Just know you’ll wince when you pull back the curtains.