Thursday, April 24, 2008

Just shut up... please.

Warning long post this morning and a bit of a rant too!

I write a blog for my job. This week in honor of Earth Day I have been writing about activities that my company or our employees have participated in to honor of Earth Day. The first post I wrote was about a co-worker who planted 31 trees on her property in Louisiana. Yesterday's post was about a PB&J campaign we promoted on college campuses across the country. (We are a world wide food service and facilities management company.)

Basically this campaign promoted a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch instead of a hamburger. According to the actual PB&J Campaign, substituting one PB&J for one hamburger can reduce water consumption by 133 gallons and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2.5 pounds. And, animal products require six to 17 times as much land as soy to produce the same amount of protein.

Sounds like fun, right?

We were not out to change the world - or convert people to become vegetarians - it was for fun - for awareness. It's just one small "act" that may or may not have an impact. At the very least these "acts" show that we (the company) are making an effort to raise awareness.

Well... I have this friend. The husband of a friend who is what I would describe as a paranoid skeptic and not afraid to say what's on his mind even if half of the stuff is way over the top conservative. I don't know how else to describe him - he's really and truly a nice guy and I absolutely adore his wife. So do you think he would be offended if I told him to just shut up? What about if I said, "Shut up, please?"

Why would I ask him to shut up? Well... after reading each post he was quick to his computer to research the opposing sides of the efforts and then email me these findings. So for example on Tuesday in response to my coworker planting 31 trees on her property for Earth Day with her family he emailed me and this is what he had to say...

"Enjoyed your Earth Day report. Trees aren't always good for the environment. Further, "'Tree huggers' claims of mass de-forestation are completely unfounded based on the numbers. In the early part of the twentieth century, people cut down twice as many trees as they planted; now the United States grows 36 percent more trees than it harvests. Some researchers believe tree numbers are larger today than when Columbus arrived in 1492!"

Not trying to be critical -- just thought you'd appreciate a little extra insight on the wonders of Earth Day and environmental issues that you rarely hear about."

There was more to his email but I won't bore you (anymore than I already am). I emailed him back and resisted the urge to tell him to "shut (the hell) up" and tell him to just enjoy the post for what it was meant to be - entertainment. The purpose of the post was not to make a political statement it was meant to just be a nice story about a nice person who happens to work for the same company that I work for. The purpose of the blog itself is to show our company is more than just a foodservice and facilities management company and that our employees are able to have fun and are free to be creative on the job.

I didn't of course - he's a friend and even though he didn't hesitate to spout off unnecessarily to me, I tend to avoid conflict and move on down my merry little way.

So what did I have in my in box this morning?? Yes, another, "I don't mean to be critical" email from "Mr. Know It All And Have To Be An Ass About Because I Am A Man And Men Get Away With This Crap." It's true don't you think? That men think they can get away with saying things that women who dare to do the same are labeled stupid or bitchy or worse - labeled, by the way, by these types of men!

So anyway.... in response to my simple, fun little post about how we encouraged students on college campuses to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead of a hamburger. HE had this to say...

Whenever I see an article like the one you described, I usually try to do some background work and research the source(s) before taking their word for it. The website you noted contains links to a few animal "rights" organizations, who in my experience as an enterprise journalist, are anti-meat and pro-vegetarian, because they equate meat with animal cruelty. It's a crusade for them, and they're really good at producing cool PR campaigns with the stealth goal of transforming carnivores into herbivores by showing them alarming statistics, awful pictures and various other scare tactics. PETA is probably the most successful organization using these tactics. Of course, they'll throw in a few medical reports by like-minded doctors, just like a trial attorney has "experts" who will attest to their client's innocence by manipulating data, medical reports, etc.

The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS), one of the groups listed on the PB&J page, has notoriously and aggressively lobbied for federal and state laws that restrict or eliminate hunting, fishing, the ownership of pure breed pets and certain livestock, circuses, rodeos, medical research on animals and other activities.

It doesn't surprise me that HSUS and other animal "rights" groups want people to eat PB&J instead of hamburgers or any meat product sandwich. It starts with, "Just try doing this one day a week." Then, they say, "Well, if you could do it without any problem one day a week, try doing it more frequently," until people ultimately are convinced they no longer need meat in their diet to survive.

Again, I'm not trying to be critical of your blog or efforts.

My reply this time was not as nice and yet still nice. Is he for real? Does he really have this much time on his hand to go out of his way to be combative and disagreeable to a friend? What is he trying to prove? Who asked him anyway??

So there you have it... hence the title of this post. Just shut up... please! And go pick on someone else - someone who doesn't have to smile and be nice to you the next time we have dinner together. Please!"

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