Daily Archives: May 18, 2008

Stand up for fatties!

Was it not Martin Luther King who said we should judge a man “not by the colour of his skin, but by the content of his character“? When faced with a report saying “Obese blamed for the world’s ills“, I say it’s time we invoked the great man’s rhetoric. Judge me not by the amplitude of my girth, but by the content of my character!

When I heard of the report, my first reaction was to try and seek out the original. Failing that, I thought I’d leave it: the news reports probably misrepresent it anyway. But then today out cycling up Dartmoor, I met a chap even more rotund than myself on a bike, and looking plenty fit enough for Dartmoor’s hills, and thought maybe this is at least blogworthy. This kind of report – judging people for what they are – is perilously close to the kind of prejudice Dr King’s people suffered.

I’m a fatty, so I eat 18% more calories than average?

Probably guilty as charged, though I eat a small fraction of what I did in my youth, before the middle-age spread set in. But against that, the fact I don’t eat meat must surely in itself put my dietary carbon footprint well below the developed-world average.

But more than that: I’m sure my good layer of natural organic insulation is one reason I don’t need to heat my environment in the English winter. Not the only reason: the fact that I’m fit and healthy helps, as does the legacy of my youth when the cost of heating was out of the question, meaning I got used to nature’s temperatures. But anyway, I have no doubt that my layer of fat more than pays for itself in carbon emissions saved.

And I drive an excessive amount?

Definitely not guilty: the last time I drove was a little over three years ago, when I hired a van for a day to move house. I use a combination of bicycle and public transport for all my travel. More importantly, I make efforts to avoid unnecessary travel, particularly that western-country ritual of commuting, which I have eliminated altogether from my life. To cap it all, my life’s work is dedicated to developing the infrastructure for many more people – in principle everyone in the knowledge economy – to be able to avoid much of their travel.

So I guess I’m guilty of being portly, just as Dr King was guilty of being black. I don’t see that either of us has anything to be ashamed of!