Learning in Québec

My photo
I'm someone who began learning French when I was 53. I took a BA in French at 60 but wasn't happy with my level of comprehension (though I read very well). So, having really become comfortable with Spanish only by living on the Mexican border, I'm spending more time in Québec and near the border of Quebec, in Vermont, to see if I can do that here with French. I want to encourage others to do the same.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009


To improve my comprehension, I attend any lecture or discussion I notice that's open to the public. Since today is Ash Wednesday, when some people think about what to give up for Lent, it's worth noting here some things I learned last night by attending a talk by a nutritionist, Anne-Marie Roy, whose talk was for Les Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth: http://www.amisdelaterre.org/)

If you give up animal products for one day a week for one year, it's the same as not having driven 8000 kilometers. (Is that about 5000+ miles?)

The Catholic church was not far off the money, then, were they, with asking people to give up meat once a week?

I accidentally gave up meat for Lent once -- not knowing it was Lent -- and then didn't eat meat again -- not knowing about Lent.

Carême, the French for Lent, comes from the old word for forty, as it begins forty days before Easter. (As best I understand it. I went to mass at St.-Jean-Baptiste Sunday, and this explanation was in the program.)

By the way, even if you're not Catholic, going to mass is a wonderful way to practice French, especially if the priest speaks as clearly as the one at St.Jean-Baptiste. Everything but the homily/sermon is in the little book, so you can follow along. It's like buying a CD that comes with the lyrics, but it's real, en vivant, and it's free unless you want to make a donation.

By the way, Anne-Marie Roy, an elegant young woman, pointed out that the relationship between meat-eating and global warming is a taboo subject, but the fact of the matter is, as in information compiled by the UN and Greenpeace, global warming could be completely solved by the cessation of livestock production alone. Much of this has to do with how much more harmful methane is than just carbon. One title I remember from her talk is Livestock's Long Shadow.

I gather there's been a truckload of information on this relationship between meat-eating and global warming put out in the last several years. (Cool Farming, by Greenpeace, is another title I remember.) But content analysis of the US press shows that only .5% of the available articles and documents have been given publication or reference. Hmmm. That's because, like the subject of water availability in the Southwest, nobody wants anybody to talk about it. Or know about it, on suppose.

So. Think about it.


  1. That's fascinating. Speculating about how much good it would do to stop raising livestock is about the same as theorizing about how much good it would do if we all held our breath an hour each day. It's theoretically valid, but we're not civilized enough to do it. Still, it might be possible to get people to moderate their exploitation of livestock. The 15 years I was a vegetarian seemed to do me no physical harm and I felt healthy throughout. I had no idea that I was helping to slow global warming. I just knew it was good for the pizza business.

  2. This is a doable idea. We Catholics did it for decades every week all year long. Now it is only done during Lent. While it probably isn't possible to get all people to go along with the idea, it certainly should appeal to a lot of people as an easy way to do their part to slow and /or stop global warming. We should spread the word.


Leave a comment!