I just came from Whole Foods and I thought I'd get some swordfish because everyone knows we should get more Omega-3 oils in our diet. The only thing was I couldn't remember what kind to buy. As I stood at the counter trying to remember if I'm supposed to buy fresh or farmed (something about mercury?) Alaskan or Norwegian (something about over-harvesting?) I noticed a sign that said "Harpoon-caught Swordfish" Under those words, in small print, I was informed that it was "from a fishery certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council."
Now first of all I have to take exception with the phrase, "Harpoon-caught". I'm pretty sure "harpoon-impaled" or just plain old "harpooned" would be more accurate but then that doesn't sound so nice does it?Harpoon-caught. Okay, sure, that must be a good thing or why else would they put it on the sign? No nets to accidentally catch dolphins or something. But wait a minute--what exactly are the harpoons made of? What if they're made of teak and come from a rain forest (formerly known as a "jungle") and each time you eat a fish that has been harpooned a teak tree is cut down to make the harpoon and the beautiful rain forest is being destroyed which in turn leads to increased global warming and those melting ice caps so the penguins, like the ones in that cute movie no longer have a place to live (although I saw how cold they are and it wouldn't hurt them to warm up just a teeny bit). Anyhoo, do I really want the deforestation of yet another rain forest on my conscience? No. No I just could not support harpoon-caught salmon without further research.
So I went off to the vitamin aisle in search of fish oil supplements for my Omega-3's but then I remembered I read something about being careful of which kind of fish oil to buy because, well, I don't remember why. Something about how the fish oil is harvested--sometimes it is cruel or "unsustainable" (formerly known as "wasteful"). Think about it--how DO they get all that fish oil? Milk them? Wring them out then throw them back? The truth is I had no idea and now I felt like just another thoughtless, lazy consumer who might as well be buying McDonald's cruelly-raised food and taking it home in a non-biodegradable plastic bag and giving my kids the Happy Toy made by a child-slave in China. So I nixed the fish oil.
I veered away from the vitamin aisle and realized I still needed something for dinner so went back to the meat counter. I decided to get burger, (Lilly could eat a veggie burger). I read the choices carefully and after convincing myself that the cattle had been raised humanely, in sunshine, allowed to eat real grass, not fed hormones or antibiotics, AND that no workers were exploited, the neighbors were not offended by the smell of the cattle ranch, and that no American lost his job in the process, I went ahead and bought a pound.
Exhausted, I stumbled to the checkout counter only to realize I had left my reusable bag in the car. I felt too guilty to use a paper bag for just a pound of beef so I put it in my purse and left quietly, thinking wistfully of a time when our mothers' only tough choice to make at the A&P was beef, chicken, or pork.