Why changing our diets won’t save the Earth

While meat may be part of the climate issue it’s not the major or root issue, as argued here.

Received wisdom says that to save the planet we have to change our eating habits. Elaine Graham-Leigh explains why the received wisdom isn’t just wrong, it blames working people for a crisis they didn’t cause.

Class, food and climate change
By Elaine Graham-Leigh
Zero Books, 2015

reviewed by Martin Empson

Like the author of this interesting book on food and climate change I have been struck by the way that the question of diet, and in particular meat eating, has become central to debates on tackling climate change. In her introduction Elaine Graham-Leigh notes the many ways that advocates for non-meat diets are inserting this message into the climate movement. Slogans that argue that only vegetarian diets can save the planet, or that genuine environmentalists are vegan are common place. But the argument has also reached higher levels, with NGOs, governments and politicians frequently advocating this approach.


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2 Responses to Why changing our diets won’t save the Earth

  1. A says:

    Check out Cowspiracy, http://www.cowspiracy.com.

    • Bob Thomson says:

      Also check out Brewster Kneen’s book “From Land to Mouth, Second Helping: Understanding the Food System” at http://ramshorn.ca/from-land-to-mouth (free PDF)

      This book is not simply an itemized, piece-by-piece description of supermarkets and farms, nutrition and starvation, sharing and accumulation. It is a book about how the food system functions and how it might function. I refer to this as the logic of the food system because I am quite sure that it is possible for virtually anyone to grasp this logic, and in so doing to gain tools that can serve to liberate from the fatalism and sense of powerlessness that is so common in Western culture. The logic I refer to can be expressed in the concept of distancing: separating people from the sources of their food and nutrition with as many interventions as possible.

      The development of this food system need not be ascribed to either ill will or benevolence, but it is, nevertheless, a global, integrated system organized to fulfill a single purpose: the accumulation of wealth. Just as it organizes accumulation, it must organize deprivation. With its only ethic that of growth, the Market Economy of food must continue to extend its frontiers and its logic. This leaves little room for diversity, sustainability, or regional economies. It also reinforces the ideology that there is only one way to organize an economy.

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