The short answer is: because I can’t imagine living any other way.
A bit longer answer can be summed up by this awesome infographic (click on the graphic to make it readable and don’t look at the comments if you’re sensitive).
The real answer is a lot longer and would make me cry if I went on and on about all the reasons. Basically, I love the world and life. I can’t understand why I would want to hurt another being for a reason so selfish as “it tastes good”.
Our world is beautiful, but it’s getting uglier by the day. Animal agriculture is one of the major things trashing our planet. No, the world isn’t going to end if everyone keeps eating meat. But we might.
And even if we move to Mars or find some other high-tech way to survive on a depleted planet, I know I’ll miss the trees. Grazing by “food” animals is a major cause of deforestation. And we’ll all miss clean water when it’s gone. One of the biggest pollutants is run-off (i.e. shit) from factory farms. I like being able to breathe, and though cow farts sound funny, the impact of methane on our atmosphere is real. And that’s not counting the air pollution from the massive amounts of transport the animal agriculture industry requires.
I just don’t understand why these things don’t matter to more people.
Maybe you think I’m too sensitive, but I like to look at the world with my eyes open, to enjoy the beauty before it’s gone.
The best part of picking up a new hobby or advancing my skills in an old one is being excited by the small successes. I’ve noticed the same thing when I make jewelry and when I cook, like the first time I made a chainmail bracelet that held together or the first time I made tofu and it didn’t taste like a wet sponge. It works for writing too. With the first short story I finished, it was fun to read it and realize it had all the parts of a real story. I hadn’t left the climax out because it was hard to write. I hadn’t skimped on character description because I hadn’t figured out who this guy really was yet. Instead I’d pushed through and made it complete.
To get to the point where the object starts to take shape, somewhere along the way I have to recognize my mistakes and figure out how to fix them. I took a picture of this hat for posterity right after I ripped out half a row three times trying to figure out where I’d picked up two extra stitches and gotten off pattern. And then I didn’t know how to fix it in circular knitting, which is a bit different than working on straight needles. But I figured it out, and I know for next time. And that was just as exciting as seeing the hat start to look like a hat..
Of course, some things can’t be fixed without doing a little damage. If I cut a piece of silver too short when making a wire-frame pendant, there’s no way to stretch it out again without changing the diameter. But that’s another valuable skill: knowing what to keep from my mistakes instead of trashing the whole thing and starting over out of frustration, which I’ll admit has too often been my solution. So I have a scrap box where I put odd bits of silver that might come in handy later. I also save all kinds of things from my writing, like when I’m forced to admit that though this line of dialog is brilliant, this character really wouldn’t say it. I have a separate “book” in SuperNotecard just for these bits and pieces, and I dip into it when I’m looking for inspiration.
I guess I was inspired to write today to say that our creative pursuits, whether writing or crafting or cooking, should be enjoyable, even when we screw up and have to fix things. Maybe especially when we screw up, because then we have the greatest opportunity to learn.