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Jonathan Safran Foer: What if Fighting Climate Change Is As Easy As Giving Up Meat?

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Jonathan Safron Foer's latest book 'We Are the Weather' is a manifesto for meat reductionism. In it, he writes: 'We must either let some eating habits go or let the planet go. It is that straightforward.'

INKOO KANG: ‘Given the outsize role that animal agriculture plays in global greenhouse gas emissions—estimates range between 14.5 percent and 51 percent of emissions, with the latter figure considering meat production’s role in deforestation — refraining from consuming animal products, argues Jonathan Safran Foer, is one of the most significant actions individuals can take to help prevent global warming, along with driving less, flying less, and having fewer children. “We must either let some eating habits go or let the planet go,” he writes. “It is that straightforward, that fraught.”

Still, the idea of chosen veganism en masse is as improbable as it is urgent. Perhaps that’s why Foer, who previously wrote the novels Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, as well as the factory farm critique Eating Animals, spends more time thinking through how “knowing without believing” paralyzes our response to climate change than on his main proposal, which is to go without animal products—including eggs and dairy—before dinner.

In ‘We Are the Weather’, Foer persuasively leads the reader to the inevitability of more sustainable consumption practices—or as he puts it in one of his many elegant neo-aphorisms, “The future of farming and eating needs to resemble the past.” Perhaps just as importantly, he restores the role, and responsibility, of personal choice to the larger climate change discussion—while acknowledging the difficulty of following his own advice (the book includes at least one anecdote of Foer eating burgers on his last book tour).

On Sept. 20, the first day of the Global Climate Strike (and just before he headed to a climate march in Austin), Foer talked to Slate about the necessity of modifying food traditions and creating new culture in response to climate change, meat eaters’ culpability in the Amazon fires, and the ways government—if not the current administration—can help foster more sustainable eating habits’.  SOURCE…

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