Saving the Planet

I would say off the bat that I believe the chance of saving the planet from climate catastrophe is slim to none, that horse has left the barn. Personally, I feel great angst and a deep sadness about the current state of the planet’s well-being. Back in the 70’s and early 80’s when the issue of climate change would rarely surface it was presented as something in the distant future and that would not significantly affect humanity for several generations to come. Well as it turns out that is not how things have played out and ecosystems have unraveled much faster than nearly anyone predicted.

How far we are already down the rabbit hole of climate catastrophe was brought home to me this morning in a Facebook piece posted on a site out of Israel called Mental Floss. This post dealt with the dramatic decline in worldwide insect populations since the early 2000’s as well documented by the dramatic decrease in the number of insects being squished on automobile windshields. One might say well how is fewer bugs a bad thing, but we need to remember that many of these insects are pollinators for much of our food. Surveys of the number of splattered insects on cars have been documented in studies conducted in Great Britain showing an almost 50% decline. Industrial farming, insecticides and climate change are felt to all be contributors.

A recent very successful Netflix movie called Don’t Look Up starring Leonard DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence is a satirical look at an impending catastrophe for humanity in the form of a comet on a path to obliterate most if not all life on earth. The comet is a thinly disguised metaphor for impending climate disaster and without being too much of a spoiler it does not end well. The film was almost universally panned by the critics but has been an audience success, nonetheless. At first blush many of the topics and scenes addressed seem absurd but, when the satire is appreciated on closer look it is all too real, unfortunately. Human indifference, greed and hubris are all on display and very accurate depictions of the current state of denial around impending climate collapse. Fuck the critics I highly recommend it.

Two other video presentations I recommend, these both being short, were found on the NYT web site, which unfortunately has a very robust firewall these days, so access is limited to subscribers only. The first of these was called:  Meet the people getting paid to kill our planet. This addresses the amazingly outsized influence that agribusiness has on our food production and the destructive effect it has on the environment. The Ag-giants enjoy amazing influence in Congress. This influence is explained in part by the fact that Wyoming with a population of about 579,000 has two U.S. senators and California with a population of over 39 million also has two senators.

The second video I am referencing here on the Times web site is called: See the true cost of your cheap chicken. A warning this one is not for the faint of heart as it is quite graphic in showing the factory farm conditions chickens are raised under. As is pointed out it is easy to find chicken at less than $2 a pound but truly humanely raised organic chicken comes in at better than $6 dollars a pound. Perhaps meat should be used as a condiment only or as a special treat on holidays and purchased from a local small farmer. You would make the purchase and kill the animal yourself to truly appreciate what is involved here.

I am a firm believer that the climate crisis if it can be addressed at all in time to avert disaster, and save the planet, must deal with our food. I have for years been extolling the virtues of a vegan low-fat diet which I must admit is difficult and something I believe in wholeheartedly but still do not easily achieve in my own life. When I look though at what I can do for the environment this is certainly the most impactful. When it comes to the bang for the buck an animal product free diet far, far outpaces recycling until you are blind. What you put in your mouth is far more impactful than driving an electric vehicle, not flying, meticulous sorting of recyclables and never ever voting for Republicans or compromised Democrats.