Problem Solving 101
When you have a problem and you know what causes it, what do you do? Do you attack the symptoms of the problem? No, because you know what the cause is. When wouldn't you go to the problem's cause? Simple: When you don't want to.
Thus is the saga of the myriad ridiculous, expensive, time- and energy-consuming strategies of environmentalists and other scientists, who are treating the relationship between raising animals to kill them for food and climate change like Rubik's Cube.
Let's deconstruct "As More Eat Meat, a Bid to Cut Emissions" in today's New York Times:
- The title of the article clearly doesn't allow for a solution other than more eating meat. We know where the article isn't going.
- I was surprised to read this in the NYT: "[A] group of farmers-turned-environmentalists here at a smelly but impeccably clean research farm have a new take on making a silk purse from a sow’s ear . . . " Silk purse from a sow's ear? My guess is that's supposed to be playful, at least for those who don't care about harming sentient nonhumans. I found it offensive, unnecessary and creepy, and my ear stings just reading it.
- It may indeed be true that "more and more people are eating more meat around the world." But each individual who is aware of the connection between climate change and "meat," even if they don't find the thought of consuming another to be repugnant, can be part of the solution. Each person can do something about cause of the problem.
- Nobel Prize-winning Rajendra Pachauri didn't get that Nobel Prize for nothing. His ingenious idea? "Eat less meat." But that simple idea, which does indeed go directly to the cause of the problem, is overlooked again and again.
- "The trillions of farm animals around the world generate 18 percent of the emissions that are raising global temperatures, according to United Nations estimates, more even than from cars, buses and airplanes." Knowing that, I'm not sure why any thinking person needs a gaggle of scientists to provide a solution for them beyond their own personal actions.
- In case you aren't sure what the solution is: “Of course for the environment it’s better to eat beans than beef,” according to the chief of sustainability at the Swedish agricultural group Lantmannen. Later, the group also adds that "producing a pound of beef creates 11 times as much greenhouse gas emission as a pound of chicken and 100 times more than a pound of carrots." Even the people who study agriculture say that it's better for the environment not to eat animals! Yet, the notion isn't treated seriously as a solution.
- Dr. Pachauri tries again:
Nah, let's just label the products about how much harm they cause and hope people read the labels and choose well, and that will be their statement of how much they care about the planet. That should do the trick, right?
- Once again, and I find it unfathomable, "any suggestion to eat less meat may run into resistance in a world with more carnivores and a booming global livestock industry."
Sure there are oodles of fascinating experiments you can try with the feces of other species to resolve this problem. But all of that is absurd given the simplest, easiest solution that's most ethical in every regard. You can begin with what a Nobel Prize winner's been talking about for years: eating less meat. And then you can simply stop, once you realize killing unnecessarily isn't a very kind thing to do.