2008-01-16

It's too late, but it's not too late, is it?

The Earth Policy Institute (Lester Brown) today announced publication of Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization:
In setting the carbon reduction goals for Plan B, we did not ask “What do politicians think is politically feasible?” but rather “What do we think is needed to prevent irreversible climate change?” This is not Plan A: business-as-usual. This is Plan B: an all-out response at wartime speed proportionate to the magnitude of the threats facing civilization.
Of particular interest to gardeners and foodies alike is this observation:
We can also reduce carbon emissions by moving down the food chain. The energy used to provide the typical American diet and that used for personal transportation are roughly equal. A plant-based diet requires about one fourth as much energy as a diet rich in red meat. The reduction in carbon emissions in shifting from a red meat–rich diet to a plant-based diet is about the same as that in shifting from a Chevrolet Suburban SUV to a Toyota Prius hybrid car. [emphasis added]
This is not news to me. I learned this 30 years ago, when I first read Frances Moore Lappé's Diet for a Small Planet. But we already know that, as a species, we are not good at putting into action what we already know.

Tomorrow never comes, so we live for today. We will be the cause of our own collapse and extinction. Then the earth will begin to heal from our predations.

Sorry, just not feeling optimistic today.

3 comments:

Anne said...

for a dose of optimism (much needed in these times), check out the book francis moore lappe wrote with her daughter anna, called "hope's edge" (aka "the next diet for a small planet").

they travel to locations from brazil to pakistan to wisconsin and meet with local activists changing their immediate environments through micro-enterprises. two of the activists profiled, wangari maathai (founder of kenya's green belt movement) and muhammad yunus of grameen bank, have won the nobel peace prize since this book was published.

not to sound like a shill, but the stories in this book definitely help me keep going and remember the importance of working for change right where i am. a story like wangari maathai's shows that something as simple as planting trees can affect huge positive change in many realms.

amarilla said...

Thanks for the reminder about the effects of diet on the environment, this is not something I hear very often, and when I do forget about it all too quickly.

Xris (Flatbush Gardener) said...

anne: Well, you know I'm all about the trees!

amarilla: For better or worse, it's becoming harder to lose sight of this. As prices for basic commodities continue to leap higher here in the city, we'll have to do more to increase food security locally.