The meat of the climate crisis

Humanity has not evolved to think long term. With the advent of agriculture 10,000 years ago, the species was forced to start thinking at least a year ahead, but most of us today don’t think much beyond the daily or weekly cycle of life. This is why solving the climate catastrophe is so difficult. Research scientists and scientific writers, however, can help build our awareness of the long-term effects of our current shortsightedness, and Greta Thunberg’s “The Climate Book” is an important reference manual for this goal.

This book is a compendium of the most current and accurate articles from these writers as well as numerous chapters written by Greta herself. She has many quotable lines and distills the issues down with a sometimes brutal but simple honesty, like when she says, “If the bathtub is overflowing, we don’t just put towels on the floor, we first turn off the tap.”

But my favorite line of hers is when she talks about how many people ask the question, “What can I do to help stop climate change?” Greta goes on to say, perhaps the question itself is wrong, and what people should be asking is, “What can I STOP doing?”

At this point, it’s fairly clear what we need to stop doing: stop flying, stop driving so much, drastically reduce concrete use, stop mining for Bitcoins, stop single-use plastics, stop the endless, insatiable consumption of unnecessary garbage. But, the single-greatest thing we in the privileged global North can do is stop eating beef, lamb and goat. Dairy products, of course, have a significant impact on the environment, but it is orders of magnitude less than actually eating the meat itself.

– Paul Larson, SW Colorado