Dave Sirota helps Salon in its descent into satire:
In case you missed the news, humanity spent the Earth Day week reaching another sad milestone in the history of catastrophic climate change: For the first time, measurements of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surpassed 400 parts per million, aka way above what our current ecosystem can handle.
Here’s the good news, though: The fastest way to reduce climate change shouldn’t seem impossible, because it requires no massive new investments, technological breakthroughs or long-term infrastructure projects. According to data compiled by former World Bank advisers Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang, it just requires us all to eat fewer animal products.
If you find it demoralizing that we are incinerating the planet and dooming future generations simply because too many of us like to eat cheeseburgers, here’s that good news I promised: In their report, Goodland and Anhang found that most of what we need to do to mitigate the climate crisis can be achieved “by replacing just one quarter of today’s least eco-friendly food products” — read: animal products — “with better alternatives.” That’s right; essentially, if every fourth time someone craved, say, beef, chicken or cow milk they instead opted for a veggie burger, a bean burrito or water, we have a chance to halt the emergency.
The trouble, of course, is that environmentalism and conservation — like everything else — have been unduly politicized. Consequently, opposing those once-universal values now seems to be viewed by many on the right as a constructive expression of patriotic defiance. Indeed, according to one recent study, many self-described conservatives will refuse to buy a green product once they see it marketed as being environmentally responsible. Similarly, another study shows that conservatives are prone to consume more energy when warned that they are already using a lot.
In light of that, I’m sure some conservatives will read this column and send me email smugly pledging to eat even more meat than they already do, just to make some incoherent point about freedom. What they will really be proving, though, is that no matter how straightforward a climate change solution may be, we will never be able to combat the crisis until everyone is willing to sacrifice just a little bit, and nobody pretends ecological survival is anything other than what is: an apolitical, transpartisan priority.
My political leanings have nothing to do with the fact that a bacon cheeseburger is one of my favorite foods. But every time I eat one from now on I’ll take extra pleasure in knowing I’m pissing off Dave Sirota.
BTW: I guess Dave didn’t get the memo that the Earth’s temperature hasn’t increased for the past 16 years.