Eating Less Meat to Save the Planet: Why is Meat-Eating Left Off the Table in Environmental Discussions? (mp3) – Your Call Radio KALW 91.7 San Francisco
I recommend listening to this really interesting discussion between panelists and callers. I promise this isn’t just a presentation of all the facts about how the production of meat releases greenhouse gases. The guests actually analyze why meat is a difficult topic to address. It’s also about how to persuade people to make the choice to eat less meat, through empathy and understanding.
What I learned: It can be difficult to understand why meat is responsible for so much greenhouse gases. It’s easy to understand the carbon footprint of a car or airplane, because you can visualize it. It’s not the same for meat. You don’t see the resources put into creating cattle feed, the land cleared for rainforests, the energy it takes to slaughter, the methane emitted from the cows and manure, etc.
Also, I got the impression that some people feel threatened by those who raise the subject of the environmental impact of meat because it suggests everyone should be a vegetarian or vegan. Fair enough. Perhaps this is a subject that must be handled more carefully. In my opinion, talking to someone about the environmental significance of eating less meat should be like talking to someone about why a SUV is not climate friendly. I would rather encourage many people to eat less meat, rather than possibly alienate some people in order to push vegetarianism. At the same time, I think it’d be wise to provide resources on how to be a vegetarian or vegan, should one choose.
Interesting point from Linda: Lets focus not just on why we shouldn’t eat meat, but why we DO eat meat.
- Melanie Joy, UMASS, Author of Strategic Action for Animals
- Linda Riebel, Save Nature, Author of Eating to Save the Earth
- Chris Jones, Staff Researcher at Berkeley Institute for the Environment, Leader Developer for Cool Climate Calculator