What can you do?

I like to consider myself a somewhat environmentally conscious person. I would say that I am more so than your average individual.  Definitely here in New York where it seems most people don’t give a second thought to throwing trash on the ground, buying food in styrofoam containers, and using plastic bags by the bushel.  Back in Seattle I’m definitely closer to the average person’s environmental awareness, but here I feel like I’m almost some “crazy environmentalist” compared to most everyone else.

One of the things I like to stay cognizant of is the fish that I eat.  So many of the world’s fish stocks have been and continue to be over-fished.  We, as individuals making a decision about which fish we purchase, are the ones who need to be aware of the impact our dining choices make.  I carry a wallet-sized card with me that lists fish to avoid as well as fish that are okay to eat.  You can find it at the Monterey Aquarium Seafood Watch website. There is one fish in particular that I have seen mentioned in a few news articles recently – bluefin tuna.  Check out this post on Eater.com which points out two different stories in the New York Times about bluefin tuna.

One of the articles mentions how yellowfin pales in comparison to blue fin and that it just isn’t a good substitute for serving raw.  Unfortunately, I have to agree.  However, just because something tastes good doesn’t mean we should eat it to extinction.  I know this would be breaking generations of tradition since there are so many animal species that we have already decimated thanks to our voracious appetites.

I have walked out of restaurants before because of what they choose to serve on their menu.  I have refused to give my business to fish purveyors because of what they choose to sell.  However, I find myself facing a dilemma.  My employer serves bluefin tuna.  Copious amounts of bluefin tuna.  What, if anything, can I do?

First, before I go on, I want to admit that at the end of the night, after service is over, I eat some of the leftover bluefin tuna that would otherwise be destined for the garbage bin (or more likely into other cooks/runners/servers mouths).  This is leftover tuna that, whether I’m eating a few bites of it or not, would still be there at the end of the day.  I’m not generating any additional demand for it.  Despite this, I still do feel a little pang of guilt with every delicious, creamy bite.

My hope is that the tuna becomes so expensive that we can’t afford to carry it on the menu any more.  Of course… that would end my (mostly) guilt-free indulgence of bluefin tuna.  Fish that I would otherwise never purchase.

What’s an environmentally conscious person to do?


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