May 2, 2009

Buenos Aires: Best Beef in South America. But I Think I’m Going Vegetarian…

World famous for good, cheap steak.
That’s Buenos Aires.

And let me tell you, I love steak. I’ve always loved meat, but something has snapped in me after the absurd amount I’ve been consuming since I’ve moved to Argentina for the semester. All of a sudden, I see something incredibly wrong with meat that before I sort of just ignored. 

The arguments for going Vegetarian are probably not breaking news for many elephant journal readers, but let’s recap:

1. impact on the environment

2. personal health

3. ethics

So, what prompted this 180 degree change of heart? 

To give you some context, I grew up in Boulder, go to college in Boulder, and am going to have a very difficult time leaving Boulder for any extended period of time. That said, moving to a big city in the Southern Hemisphere has opened up my eyes to the degree in which I’ve taken for granted Boulder consciousness. 

The abysmal amount of littering, lack of recycling facilities, insane traffic, smelly pollution and questionable air quality, water contamination, unavailability of quality organic and unprocessed food, lack of infrastructure for bicycles, and general unawareness of a lot of health and environmental issues are just a few of the problems I’ve noticed in Buenos Aires. 

But this city is far from the worst of the big cities in terms of negative environmental impact. It’s simply the first I’ve gotten to know intimately. Knowing this fact and imagining the degree to which the rest of the world is committing these environmental atrocities is difficult to stomach. 

Tofu and soy milonesa are not. 

Vegetarianism is one thing I can personally do for myself and for the rest of the planet. I may not be able to implement a recycling program that supports 13 million Argentines, but I can take more responsibility for  the impact I personally create. The more I talk to locals about it, I realize Vegetarianism is more common here than I thought. We would joke that it’s a waste of time for Vegetarians to visit Buenos Aires because the meat industry is one of Argentina’s greatest draws. But there are hidden gems tucked around the city that support this alternative lifestyle: a bomb natural deli with tofu salads and organic jam and a vegetarian all-you-can-eat Korean buffet. To be fair, Buenos Aires certainly has its share of conscious consumerism. This means the movement is growing, and it’s something I can get behind. 

And so, I begin the transition.

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Caroline Clark  |  Contribution: 510