Foreign Policy Blogs

Glorious Food

I wrote last week about some of the ins and outs of food insecurity relative to climate change.  (Forgive me, not incidentally, for not writing so much or so often in recent weeks.  I’ve been finishing up a big writing project and I’ve been pretty focused on that.  It’s done, finally, as of this past Friday – for now.  I will be picking up the pace and giving more thought to forthcoming posts.)

For the moment, here are some letters to the NY Times in response to the big, important article to which I was adding my thoughts:  A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself.  They are all four excellent letters, but the middle two give further thoughts to some of my perceptions on meat consumption.  “…doubling supply is one option to the impending food shortage, but another option would be a global focus on shifting diets away from the vast inefficiencies of animal consumption to the healthier and more sustainable consumption of crops.” says one writer.  Another one puts it this way:  “Put simply, more people who can afford to are simply eating too much grain-intensive meat, severely shrinking the land available to produce plant-based food for human consumption.”

Frances Moore Lappé said it 40 years ago in Diet for a Small Planet.  Her daughter gave it a different spin a couple of years ago in Diet for a Hot Planet.

Lord Nicholas Stern, the biggest gun in environmental economics working on climate change, has said:

Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world’s resources. A vegetarian diet is better. I think it’s important that people think about what they are doing and that includes what they are eating. I am 61 now and attitudes towards drinking and driving have changed radically since I was a student. People change their notion of what is responsible. They will increasingly ask about the carbon content of their food.

Hard to top that.



Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change