As we draw closer to a world-shattering climate catastrophe, we need more and more prophetic voices able to turn around those who are paying no heed to melting icebergs, forest wildfires, increased air and water pollution, droughts, and species extinction.
Jonathan Safran Foer, the bestselling author of Eating Animals, contends that all of us are responsible for what happens to the planet and that means we need to make the right choices and then have the courage to enact them. A good place to begin is at home with the foods we eat:
"We cannot keep the kinds of meals we have known and also keep the planet we have known. We must either let some eating habits go or let the planet go. It is that straightforward, that fraught."
We Are the Weather contains ample statistics, quotations, and ideas; it describes reforms and sacrifices which must be made by individuals, communities, institutions, and corporations. Here are just a few things we learned from this book.
- "The current climate change is the first caused by an animal and not by a natural event."
- "Since the advent of agriculture, approximately twelve thousand years ago, humans have destroyed 83 percent of all wild mammals and half of all plants."
- "Globally, humans use 59 percent of all the land capable of growing crops to grow food for livestock."
- "There are twenty-three billion chickens living on Earth at any given time. Their combined mass is greater than that of all other birds on our planet. Humans eat sixty-five billion chickens a year."
- "60% of all mammals on Earth are animals raised for food; in 2018, more than 99 % of all animals eaten in America were raised on factory farms."
- "According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, if cows were a country, they would rank third in greenhouse emissions, after China and the United States."
These statistics speak boldly of the escalating tragedy of climate change. Here's another telling true story. In June of 1943, Jan Karski, a member of the Polish underground, arrived in America with a horrifying account of the widespread murder and persecution of Jews in Europe. The Jewish leaders, among them Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, refused to act; he was quoted as saying — I am unable to believe what you told me."
According to Foer, it is the same failure of imagination which serves as a roadblock to acting decisively on livestock as the single largest contributor to global warming.