Apparently, because of not living on the Coasts or in a major city, I missed the memo that 1. waffle cones will save the planet from the evil polluting effects of cardboard bowls and plastic spoons, and 2. that plant-based ice-cream has a smaller effect on the environment than does Ye Olde cow-milk sort. Since I’m a fan of waffle cones, I see no problem with people eating the serving dish rather than throwing it away, although some of the bright colors (hot pink, kelly green, electric blue) are a touch disconcerting.
I’m not certain about the plant-based ice-cream being better for the planet, though.
The argument goes something along the lines of: cows eat a lot, generate lots of waste including methane gas and CO2, and the industrial plant required by commercial dairies for milking, transport, and then making ice cream all generate a lot of pollution and require large amounts of energy. This is bad. Plants absorb CO2, and plant-based milks and ice-cream need less energy and generate less waste.
I’ll agree that if you cannot eat dairy products and yet want ice-cream, plant-based ice-cream would be a very good thing. And if made properly, it could be Kosher and eaten after either a dairy meal or a meat meal. Those are both pretty good arguments for plant-based ice-cream.
However, saving the planet? Hold on a moment. We are talking soy, almond, coconut, or other domesticated plants, many of which require a fairly large amount of “inputs”—fertilizer, pesticides, fungicides, irrigation water, and other things—in order to produce the best yield. Then they have to be planted, tended, and harvested. Then the ingredients are processed, using machines made from steel (mined), copper (mined), plastics (mined), probably cooled and powered by electricity (coal/natural gas, maybe solar/wind/hydro/tide). Then transported (mined, grown [if bio-diesel]), kept cold at a store or in the house (electricity again), and then eaten.
What if the plant-based ice-cream company buys carbon offsets so the above don’t count?
Hold on another moment. Have you read about how people are forced off of their land in order for outside companies to plant trees as carbon offsets? Or the fraud in the carbon market? Trees that in some cases are cut and sold as firewood, which is burned and pollutes the air? And that can damage the native flora and fauna?
If you want plant-based ice-cream, great. Go for it. Especially if you like the flavor, and enjoy making it. I’ll stick with dairy-based ice-cream, thanks. I know what goes into it, what the process is, and really, I’m pretty OK with that.*
*Yes, I have first-hand knowledge of what some of the huge commercial dairies do, and the way the don’t properly dispose of their waste, and what becomes of unwanted dairy calves. Don’t lecture me on that particular topic, please.
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