On Media Coverage of Climate Change and Food
The vegan and animal rights communities have long been frustrated with the media's insistence on omitting or downplaying the connection between climate change and food. It's a truth so inconvenient that it wasn't included in An Inconvenient Truth.
Enter Roni Neff and her colleagues at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, who have just released a study, about this significant coverage shortage. Grist's Anna Lappe interviewed Neff (in "Where's the Beef?") and the study can be found here. The abstract includes:
The more we needle with our blogs, our letters, our editorials, our petitions and our debates, insisting on discussing food whenever climate change is raised, the greater the attention the topic will get (if past performance is an indication of future results, unlike in the mutual fund world).
In the interview, Neff says:
And here I was thinking all of our daily advocacy wasn't doing any good. Au contraire! The coverage is not only more frequent but also more in depth.
Before you get too excited . . .
"A: I have. I haven't gone totally vegetarian, although I waiver in and out of it. I don't think that it's necessary to go for extreme delineations. So I eat a lot less meat, and I don't eat red meat, I just eat chicken or turkey, sustainably produced."
Extreme delineations? That's a new one. At least she does recommend "eating less meat and dairy," and I'm glad she included dairy. Ever the middle-of-the-roader, though, she says "we really need to cut back on meat consumption, but it doesn't have to mean going vegetarian or vegan." And if the environment is your number one concern and you don't have the propensity to believe that sentient nonhumans shouldn't be killed when they don't need to be, there's not much to disagree with there.
A discussion has begun, and no one has suggested pondering the ethics of using animals for food. Be the first to point your finger at the elephant in the room! (And do you find "elephant in the room" offensive in any way? I don't, but I could be missing something.)