Train-spotting in Potsdam attracts attention

“Climate change threatens world food supply” was the lead story recently in leading newspapers.

It was prompted by the release of a summary report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, staffed by more than 100 experts from 52 countries.

The report details how climate change is threatening our world’s food and water supplies — turning arable land to desert, degrading soil and raising the frequency of devastating weather conditions.

It concludes that avoiding wholesale starvation and mass migrations requires fundamental changes in current animal agriculture and land management practices, which account for 23 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

The conclusions of the IPCC report match closely those by Oxford Univrsity in 2017 and by Chatham House in 2015.

A 2010 United Nations report blames animal agriculture for 19 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, 70 percent of freshwater use, and 38 percent of land use.

All reports recommend a massive shift to plant-based eating.

In an environmentally sustainable world, meat and dairy products in our diet must be replaced by vegetables, fruits and grains just as fossil fuels are replaced by wind, solar and other pollution-free energy sources.

Our next visit to the supermarket provides a superb starting point.

Woody Hudson

Watertown

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(5) comments

Eyepublius

So we should switch more to veggies from meat, get rid of cows just to change/stop dramatic and climate problems while our duly-elected attend more election fund raisers from those who really cause the damage and enjoy t-bone dinners while we vote for them on broken promises and enjoy our veggie burgers? I see, I see. Is that about right? Science deniers have one thing in common: They don't don't care about destruction of Mother Earth since they figure by that time they'll be long gone. Ergo: They don't care about now or future generations.

hermit thrush

yes dan, we should all eat less meat.

rdsouth

Calls for individual sacrifice are not the solution for anything. If something needs to be done it needs to be mandatory for all. The entire meat industry needs to be regulated to be more humane and sustainable. We have a duty to obey the law and to support moral laws. We do not have a duty to exceed the law in unilateral moral action, though we can reserve the right to make moral choices capriciously. Calls for things to be on an individual basis cover over the fact that they really need to be on a collective basis. So I will reserve the right to live in the world history has led up to for me, one in which I arrive finding I don't have the practical opportunity to pioneer my own organic farm in the unspoiled wilderness, which is what I would do if we were really individuals. We are thrown together into a machine and asking people to pretend otherwise is just asking them to be harmed by the machine. It always comes from a position of privilege, and is faux liberal. So I'm going to get what's available at Wal Mart to fulfill my nutritional needs. And frankly that often involves avoiding unhealthy red meat. But I don't pretend I'm saving the planet. That's the job of government. So I'll also be voting for government to do its job.

rdsouth

A caveat to all this is that it pertains only to the extent you are in a democracy. If the laws don't come from the people, you owe them nothing. Furthermore, you have no political recourse, so fixing the political situation is priority number one, not making right food choices. But until then, the answer is to change the laws. I guess it comes down to the question of whether to fix the world and assume people will follow, or to fix people, and assume the world will follow. I know for a fact that you can be the best of people and the world doesn't follow. And that most people are well meaning but realistic, so improving the world will allow them to improve too.

Scoot24

Fixing the political problem needs to come first. The gridlock between the parties is and will have an affect on the country until they decide that they need to accomplish something instead of having a standoff.

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