Tha Murray MacLeòid ag ràdh nach eil a h-uile càil cho soilleir le cùisean na h-àrainneachd

Ma tha aon rud ann a thathas ag innse dhuinn a thaobh a bhith ag atharrachadh ar beatha airson an àrainneachd a chuideachadh, ‘s e nas lugha de dh’fheòil ithe agus gun teagamh, tha cuid againn – le sin, tha mi ciallachadh mi fhèin – a dhèanadh a’ chùis le nas lugha ithe airson ar fallainneachd fhèin a bhrosnachadh.

Tha mothachadh ann a-nis gu bheil feur air a làimhseachadh gu ceart a’ cuideachadh le bhith a’ glasadh carbon.

[English-language version below]

Ach a’ fàgail gu aon taobh nan adhbhar slàinte, tha cunnart ann le teachdaireachd shìmplidh dhen t-seòrsa-sa, gun dèan e barrachd cron na feum.

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Chan eil duine a dheigheadh às àicheadh gur e droch rud a tha ann dha beathaichean a bhith air an cumail glaiste fad na h-ùine, gun chrodhan a' dol faisg air feur, agus a’ lìonadh am broinn le biadh mì-nàdarrach. Tha sin dona dhan àrainneachd, gu math dona dhan bheathach agus a’ fàgail bidhe mi-chàileir aig a’ cheann thall.

Ach, tha an seòrsa suidheachadh ud a cheart cho eu-coltach ris na tha a’ tachairt ann an Alba gu h-àbhaisteach, ‘s a tha e a bhith a’ smaoineachadh gun cuir mise mo chùl ri ròst na Sàbaid gu sìorraidh tuilleadh.

Tha na siostaman obrach ann an Alba, a’ mhòr chuid aca co-dhiù, gu mòr an urra ri beathaichean ag ionaltradh an fheòir, no tron gheamhradh, a bhith ag ithe an fheòir a chaidh a bhuain as t-samhradh. Tha dà adhbhar airson seo. Sa chiad àite, ‘s e am biadhadh as saora a th' ann agus anns an darna àite, tha gu leòr dheth a’ fàs ann an Alba leis an t-sìde fhluich a tha againn.

Ach, an luach as motha a tha aige, co-dhiù nuair a thig e dhan deasbad a tha a’ dol an-dràsta, ‘s e ’s gu bheil e math dhan àrainneachd.

Mar a h-uile roinn eile, tha mòran aig àiteachas ri dhèanamh airson na tha iad a’ cur a-mach dhan iarmailt a gheàrradh, ach tha mothachadh ann a-nis gu bheil feur air a làimhseachadh gu ceart – gun a bhith ro fhada no ro ghoirid – a’ cuideachadh le bhith a’ glasadh carbon.

Chan eil am mòr-shluagh buileach a’ tuigsinn seo gu ceart fhathast, ach ‘s e sin an seòrsa fiosrachadh mionaideach a dh’fheumar a thuigsinn ma tha daoine a’ dol a dhèanamh co-dhùnaidhean ceart.

Agus ged a tha a bhith ag ithe lusan tòrr nas fhèarr dha do shlàinte, gu h-àraid ma tha thu a’ dèanamh cus suidhe air do mhàs, chan eil sin idir ri ràdh gu bheil e gu mòr nas fhèarr dhan àrainnneachd.

‘S e fìrinn na cùise gu bheil na siostaman àiteachais a tha a’ toirt dhuinn lusan aig a’ phrìs a tha na bùthan mòra ag iarraidh – sin a’ phris a tha sinne ag iarraidh – an urra ri stuthan ceimigeach agus feumar na biastagan a tha a’ marbhadh nan lus a sgriosadh gu tric.

’S e an aon dòigh timcheall air a sin, a h-uile càil a ghluasad gu dòighean-obrach organach, rud a bhiodh a’ ciallachadh àrdachadh gun chiall sa phrìs – tha fhios nach gabhadh daoine ri sin – no air an làimh eile, gach nì a tha sinn ag ithe a thoirt bho air feadh an t-saoghail, rud a bhiodh maslach bho thaobh dìon na h-àrainneachd.

Coltach ri bhith a’ gluasad air falbh bho bhith a’ cleachdadh ola, tha tòrr ri smaoineachadh mu dheidhinn agus chan eil a h-uile càil mar a thathas a’ dèanamh a-mach.

Chan eil sin ri ràdh nach bu chòir dhuinn càil a dhèanamh. Feumaidh gach duine againn barrachd a dhèanamh airson ’s gun tuig sinn cò às a tha ar biadh a’ tighinn. Ach, ma tha teachdaireachdan sìmplidh ann airson atharrachadh a dhèanamh dhan arainneachd a thaobh na tha sinn ag ithe, ‘s e seo: mar as fhaisge air an taigh a chaidh àrach, ‘s ann as fhèarr.

Fios bhon neach-deasachaidh:

Tapa leibh airson an aithris a tha seo a leughadh. Tha sinn an eismeil ur taic nas motha na bha riamh agus buaidh a’ Choronbhirus air buaidh a thoirt air luchd sanasachd. Mur eil sibh air a dhèanamh mar-tha, ma se ur toil, nach beachdaich sibh taic a chumail ri ar obair-naidheachd earbsach, a tha sinn a’ dearbhadh a tha fìor, le bhith toirt a-mach ballrachd digiteach.

One thing we are constantly being told to do to help save the planet is to stop eating meat and undoubtedly there are those of us – by which I really mean me – that could certainly do with reducing consumption, for individual sustainability reasons more than anything else.

But leaving aside the health reasons for shunning our carnivorous desires, there is a danger with an over-simplified message like this that it will cause more harm than good, as, like so much else surrounding the debate, the nuance of the situation is being lost in the ideology.

No-one would question for a moment that animals spoon-fed artificial diets in large feedlots, barely setting a hoof on pasture their entire lives, is both bad for the planet, very bad for the animal and exceptionally bad in terms of eating quality.

However, this is about as far removed from the reality in Scottish agriculture as it is to expect me to forevermore swap my Sunday roast for beetroot and nuts.

Livestock systems in Scotland – certainly beef and sheep, which represents the vast majority – revolve around animals grazing on pasture, and for winter its by-products in the form of silage and hay. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, it is by far the cheapest feed source available and, secondly, we have an abundance due to climatic conditions.

But where it really has value, in the current context, is in its environmental credentials.

Like every other sector, agriculture has a long way to go on reducing emissions, especially with methane, but carefully managed grassland – steadfastly avoiding overgrazing – can also play an important role in carbon sequestration.

This may yet have reached the wider public consciousness, and there may be good reasons for that, but it’s the kind of detail that absolutely must be understood if individuals are to make a proper informed choice on their behaviour.

And, while a vegetarian diet is certainly better for our health, especially for those with a sedentary lifestyle, it is by no means the case that it is better for the environment.

The unfortunate reality is that arable systems producing food at the price the supermarkets demand – ie the price we demand – require a huge amount of chemical input and the bugs that kill the plants need to be routinely slaughtered for the produce to make it to market.

The only alternative to that is for everything to turn organic which would lead to an astronomical rise in the basic price of food – can’t see the public swallowing that one – or for everything we consume to be shipped in from all corners of the globe, utterly counterproductive from an environmental point of view.

So, as with society’s move away from fossil fuels, when it comes to choosing an ethical diet there are all sorts of uncomfortable choices at play and checks and balances to consider.

That’s not to say we should do nothing. We should all do more to understand better where our food comes from and under what environmental conditions it is produced.

But if there is an easily-understood message required for changing what we buy to eat, both to save the planet and for all sorts of other reasons, it should simply be: keep it local and focus on quality not quantity.

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