OPINION

I love a big, juicy steak.

Topped with a dollop of blue cheese sauce with a side of chips, it's got to be one of the best dietary indulgences there is - for me at least.

But my carnivorous appetite appears to be among a dwindling trend as the number of people choosing meat-free lifestyles is on the rise.

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A new Ministry of Education report - Climate Change: Prepare Today, Live Well Tomorrow - offers tips to children aged 7 to 10 of how to take against global warming, including reducing meat and dairy intake with methods such as meat-free Mondays.

Such gestures appear to be taking up popularity.

In 2019, a consumer report showed the number of meat-eating New Zealanders who reduced meat consumption grew by 24 per cent. An additional 18 per cent identified as "flexitarian". Environmental reasons were identified as one of the main reasons why.

It is a noble gesture. Any greater action towards reducing our environmental impact can only be a good thing.

On the flip side, when I bumped into an old work friend the other day, he boasted his joy at continuous dinners of steak and bread only - no veggies in sight - because his partner was out of town. I dread to think of the impact on his digestive system.

He also, is among the dwindling numbers. Meat isn't for everyone it seems. But neither is a plant-only diet.

And it got me thinking.

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In today's increasingly-woke society, there is a lot of pressure. It seems one must not eat meat, smoke, offend people, use plastic, or drive cars.

Even referring to a man or woman instead of a person is now questioned. The list goes on. At what point are we, as individuals, able to simply enjoy life without feeling guilty?

A colleague of mine shared her concern the other day at having watched Taki Waititi's film 'Jojo Rabbit'. She felt that while it was good, it wasn't right to find that movie (about Nazi Germany) funny. The fact people did was abhorrent to her.

Trying to keep up with such pressures must be exhausting. I'd wager there are many miserable people out there struggling to do so.

Life is for living. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying "trash the planet" but I'm sick of being told what I should or shouldn't be doing. All of this environmental white noise and societal finger-wagging is tiresome.

Personally, I know I'm already contributing to reducing my carbon, waste and plastic footprint. I don't need to make a song and dance about it but I'm doing my part.

So I'll tuck into that juicy steak with a clear conscience thank you.

I'd encourage other meat-lovers to do likewise.