Nato Green: Eat the Drought Away 

click to enlarge Eating low-water foods like fruits and vegetables is a way to reduce water usage, but converting to veganism is a tough sell for carnivores and those who enjoy their freedom. - JAE C. HONG/2014 AP FILE PHOTO
  • Jae C. Hong/2014 AP File Photo
  • Eating low-water foods like fruits and vegetables is a way to reduce water usage, but converting to veganism is a tough sell for carnivores and those who enjoy their freedom.
Like all of us, I spend 35 percent of my waking hours panicking about the news that California has a year of water left. Like most progressives, I also believe that feeling sufficiently upset is an acceptable alternative to doing anything concrete. Like most Americans, I hope denial will save me. Like most white people, I trust my fellow whites running the planet not to let anything truly awful happen to us. These are not pleasant feelings to have.

The worst thing about the prospect of a drought-induced collapse of society is realizing that Burning Man enthusiasts are better adapted to survival in the future. When they are our overlords, they will be insufferable. Mandatory ayahuasca retreats. I keep praying that Google reveals a top-secret program to extract water from beards, or a phone-based seawater desalination system for which we would rightly be charged $1 million each.

I am not prepared for life adjacent to Thunderdome. I don’t even like camping, which is genetic. My great-grandparents were avid campers, but they called it fleeing marauding Cossacks. I have no survival skills. My big plan is to fatten myself so my children have something to eat. I’m a foie daddy.

My family had a serious debate about which of us would be willing to eat the others to avoid starving. Family-style dining is when you share dishes. Donner Family-Style Dining is when you share dishes made of your deceased loved ones, and we will all be doing it in 30 years. My stepmother replied to a routine “How are you?” by worrying whether we ought to start teaching the children how to forage.

This seems like a good time to declare a state of emergency and shut down golf courses and water slides. People say it’s industrial agriculture and not individual showers draining our water reserves at a record pace. It is a relief to know that we will not be memorialized in song for driving California into a barren hellscape because too many of us had sex in the shower.

Apparently, alfalfa is an intolerable water guzzler, which California harvests for export to China to feed cows to feed workers who make our iPads. Some argue the drought can be helped by not eating meat, but if the offending meat is in China, perhaps we’d be better off to boycott Apple products. (Californians prefer apocalypse to a day without Words With Friends.)

Our government should nix the alfalfa racket pronto. I can’t wait for the Alfalfa-Industrial Complex to challenge excessive government intervention in their freedom to engage in commerce with the centrally planned economy of a communist state.

For years, I’ve been St. Augustine about veganism: yes, but not yet. I love animal products too much. I made my own bacon. Unfortunately, I also believe in science. The evidence is inescapable that meat, especially beef, is the worst offender for both water use and global warming. High-water foods: meat, nuts, grains. Low-water foods: fruits and vegetables. Beer is better than wine. Beets are the best, for water-intensity but not eating. So I’m experimenting with cutting beef out of my diet and cooking more vegan at home.

I hate it because I like it. “Big Vegan” from Chronicle Books has tasty recipes, and shockingly, I feel better. Less full, less sleepy, less it is day and night. Yet I need to eat a lot more fruits and vegetables than ribs and scones to fill the anxiety hole inside me. But I will forage on (pun totes intended) for the sake of the planet even though enjoying vegan food makes me furious. It does so because I’d rather not be associated with existing vegans. Vegans can take a joke even less than the Islamist extremists who shot up Charlie Hebdo. Je Suis Carne Asada.

Nato Green is a San Francisco-based comedian and writer. You can see him on Tuesdays with The Business at Hemlock Tavern, this week featuring Tom Ammiano. Send grievances and recipes to @natogreen on twitter.


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