I don’t eat meat, or fish, or, as a friend puts it, anything with a face. (This comes up because in the Midwest, when you tell your host you are a vegetarian, you will be asked, “What about chicken? Do you eat that?” So you need a quick summary that describes the boundaries of your food weirdness.)

Occasionally people will assure me that I should be eating fish for the health benefits. After watching an extraordinary documentary feature called Deep Trouble by the BBC, I’m content to stay a herbivore. Less mercury that way too.

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Deep Trouble is a lengthy, absorbing, and depressing special feature on a DVD that contained two episodes from the Beeb’s magnificent Blue Planet series. The DVD I just watched was from Netflix, and it had the “Tidal Seas” and “Coasts” episodes.

One searches for a parallel to the way we’re treating the seas … about the best one I can come up with is the wholesale slaughter of the buffalo (or bison, I can’t get it straight in my head) in the 19th-century western U.S. Massive killing to take only the tiniest, choicest morsels, meanwhile denuding the habitat and the creatures that depended on it.

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Vegetarianism: not just about saving land animals.