Things have changed a lot since 1961, while I was sleeping. Some, like traffic, air travel and parking, for the worse. Many for the better — women’s rights, civil rights, tools, and TED. We’ll talk about human rights and tools another time, maybe even at the same time, but today, we’ll talk about TED.
In a nutshell, TED is an annual gathering of the world’s smartest people, devoted to “ideas worth spreading.” Originally TED was short for “Technology, Entertainment and Design’ but even that broad description was too narrow for the subject matter covered by TED in the last few years. What kind of subjects?
Jaime Oliver on children and nutrition, Isabelle Allende on global feminism, Karen Armstrong on religion and philosophy, and lots of experts that you have never heard of speaking on topics that are relentlessly thought-provoking.
Well, Graham Hill’s “The Weekday Vegetarian ” is a good example of the sort of practical, thoughtful suggestions that come out of TED. It’s such a good idea, you already get the meat of it, if you’ll excuse the pun.
We all know that consumption of too many animal based foods is bad for us. The things that make us fatter and give us heart disease are mostly foods like ham and cheese omelettes, big pastrami sandwiches, cheeseburgers, ice cream — you know, all those things that taste really, really good. Taste good to most of us — all you vegans and vegetarians are excused.
It’s also true that human beings are evolutionarily omnivorous. We conquered the planet, in part, because we can live on darn near anything. Our front six teeth, top and bottom, are pretty clearly designed to rip flesh, and the rest can grind even acorns into submission.
But just because we CAN eat all those things everyday, doesn’t mean we should. It’s bad for us individually, the mass production of meat and poultry is bad for the planet (too much energy and water per calorie, and too much pollution released), and it’s really a monotonous diet.
So — the Weekday Vegetarian. All those fast meals we have to eat during the week can easily be vegetarian, or at least meat-free. Culver City sports at least four really good restaurants that specialize in such fare (the two Samosa Houses, M Café and GreenPeas) and virtually every other restaurant in town can accommodate you, especially if you’re not a strict vegetarian, but just a person trying to make a difference. Vegetables are easier and less messy to cook than animal protein (steam them and eat them out of Pyrex measuring cup, if you’re superannuated college student like me).
This is just one of the hundreds of ideas presented at the annual TED conference. Here’a a link to the video.