Lately, I've been positively bombarded with links to articles discussing how meat consumption leads to Global Warming and/or Environmental Collapse.
While it's true that the people sending me these links are mostly vegetarian (i.e., not entirely unbiased when it comes to eating meat), I think they have a good point. Eating meat most certainly does contribute to the environmental degradation we are currently experiencing (and I should note, HAVE BEEN EXPERIENCING FOR THE LAST 10,000 YEARS).
The problem with the anti-meat argument is, I believe, one of missing the forest for the trees (or fields, as I so wittily used in the title to this post).
I think most rational people would agree that in order to find a solution to a problem, it's first necessary to identify the problem itself. For instance, I've been fat most of my life. I tried any number of cure (in fact, I tried EVERY number of cure), but it was only once I learned that I was insulin resistant that I was able to succesfully lose weight. Without addressing the central issue (i.e, insulin resistance), all my previous attempts at losing weight were ineffectual at best and downright disastrous at worst.
When it comes to the Global Environmental Collapse we seem to continuously come up with "solutions" that fail to address the central problem--whether it's banning fluorocarbons to save the ozone layer, recycling plastic to minimize landfills, or abstaining from meat to slow Global Warming. Yes, these "solutions" address some of the symptoms of environmental degradation, but in terms of the central problem, their benefits are negligible. After all, IT'S A BIG FUCKING PROBLEM.
So what is the central problem?
Well, up until recently, I would have said that the problem was overpopulation. But it's finally dawned on me that overpopulation is indeed another SYMPTOM and not the actual problem itself. The problem is...
(Obviously, I'm going to continue with this post, but in the mean time, I urge you to read Jared Diamond's short essay "The Worst Mistake In The History Of The Human Race." In fact, I COMMAND you to read it.)
Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4