Doing our bit: Rise of the veggie footsoldier
During the last few days the British press has run some relatively prominent articles once again highlighting the correlation between meat eating and climate change, also resulting in a few additional commentary pieces and the usual backlash.
Perhaps biggest of all is the Observer Food Monthly magazine’s OFM vegetarian recipe special edited by none other than the McCartney family (Sir Paul, Mary and Stella). Far from simply a collection of recipes – including several from Gwyneth Paltrow and other veggie celebs – the OFM special contains interviews with each of the three McCartneys, plus one piece that specifically connects environmentalism and not eating meat: 10 ways vegetarianism can help save the planet. You know, less land and water use, climate change, deforestation, health, pollution, production costs, economics, yada yada…
The way we breed animals is now recognised by the UN, scientists, economists and politicians as giving rise to many interlinked human and ecological problems, but with 1 billion people already not having enough to eat and 3 billion more mouths to feed within 50 years, the urgency to rethink our relationship with animals is extreme.
–John Vidal in the Observer
In an opinion piece for the Independent, climate change skeptic Dominic Lawson points out what he sees as the hypocrisy of those who are for fuel and carbon taxes, but remain silent when it comes to meat eating’s effect on the climate:
Lord (Nicholas) Stern is generally accorded a respectful audience when he preaches the need to reduce our use of fossil fuels; yet when, nine months ago, the author of the Stern Review on climate change raised the idea that we should switch to a vegetarian diet, he was greeted with abuse – and has not repeated the suggestion in public since.
Of course most of the abuse I recall came from right-leaning media and climate skeptics, but fair enough. Lawson argues that giving up meat would be far less damaging to the economy than abandoning fossil fuels. He certainly has a point and is right about any hypocrisy, but so what? Is he suggesting an all or nothing position for the green lobby? Thanks for the advice on political pragmatism.
Well, in the end he comes to his real point: climate change is simply a ruse for a great green leftist movement who wants to dismantle our ‘prosperous, consumer-driven way of life’. The final paragraphs are total Red Scare, ‘greens under the bed’ nuttiness tantamount to the worst McCarthyism.
Obviously, I prefer the ‘McCartneyism’ of the Observer features and Sir Paul to Lord Lawson (Dominic’s father). For his sister, the lovely super-chef Nigella, I am willing to make an exception.
In other news, I also enjoyed last weeks story of Africa’s first Lettuce Lady, PETA activist Michelle Odhiambo, who campaigns for vegetarianism and the environment in Kenya. She is a true veggie footsoldier.