Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Al Gore Tackles The Meat Issue

Looks like former vice president and environmentalist Al Gore has finally addressed meat-eating:1

Can't find the embed yet. You can see the whole 2-minute video by clicking the link above or visiting BBC's Newsnight site.

BBC's Jeremy Paxman asked Gore: "Have you become a vegetarian."

Gore: "No, I have not. Although, for health reasons along with climate reasons, have reduced the amount of meat in my diet. And of course, as we all know, it's much healthier to have more vegetables and fruits instead of meat, and actually the growing meat intensity of diets around the world is a legitimate issue where climate is concerned."

Paxman: "And we all should become vegetarians, shouldn't we?

Gore: "I don't plan to. I respect those who do. But it's a personal choice and will remain so."


Results of CAFO poll:

If all you have access to is meat from a CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation), will you:

1 Al Gore's book, An Inconvenient Truth: The Crisis of Global Warming, came out in 2006. I read it. I don't recall him discussing the major contribution of livestock production to global warming and environmental degradation. I always wondered why he didn't.


karl said...

Obliviously his choice diet-wise, hypercritical implications and all, but it was a bit disappointing for him not address the large role that industrial animal farming plays in climate change. Maybe the questioner should have followed through a bit more.

Bix said...

What surprised me was that Gore didn't offer it - his views on meat production and consumption. He had to be prodded. It is, and continues to be, a gaping hole in his planet-saving manifesto.

Anonymous said...

I liked Paxman's pointed vegetarian question, but Gore not raising the issue is no surprise. Runs the risk of alienating those on the fence he seeks to influence--vegetarians are with him already.

I hope in vitro meat becomes a viable option in the next 10-20 years. Would quickly put an end to CAFO. I continue to buy (non CAFO) locally farmed meat, but think Michael Pollan's suggestion to reduce meat consumption is a reasonable suggestion I've adopted myself.

You've got to read about the hotel towel experiment!!

"People like to believe their actions are driven by their own free will and are not unduly affected by other people. Research, though, shows the way we act is often subconsciously influenced by what we believe to be ‘normal’ behaviour."

Bix said...

Well, that was another good link - the hotel towel experiment.

I wonder if they called the project "Charm" deliberately - to give it a positive slant. That is, to not (ultimately) estrange those who might be amenable to behavioral change. Because, as I was reading it, it felt a little more like "Shame."

Foer, in Eating Animals, has a little 6-page chapter entitled "Shame," in which he writes:

"Shame is what we feel when we almost entirely -- yet not entirely -- forget social expectations and our obligations to others in favor of our immediate gratification."

Those others, he writes, may be "invisible others," or "unknown family," a term he attributes Kafka.

You could say that the notice in hotel rooms about towels ("75 per cent of the people who have stayed in this room re-used their towels to help the environment") was making reference to these invisible others.

Anonymous said...

Interesting point, I didn't consider the shame angle. Shame is a powerful force. People raised in shame-based families/cultures more susceptible to that kind of influence than others. I would think someone could also be motivated by a strong desire to fit in (no guilt or shame involved), not wanting to disappoint or create conflict. Status seeking could play a role, too.

Another angle (the healthiest I think) may be people using the towel stats to simply become more informed of growing trends, i.e., "Wow, all those people recycling towels! This must be important. I better think about doing this or learn more about it."

Whatever the drive, it appears to be effective.

I ordered Foer's book! :)

He caught my attention on Larry King and your ongoing posts and comments peaked my interest. That 6pg chapter sounds interesting. I'm curious why he chose the word shame over guilt. Sounds like a cultural thing.

Bix said...

Status seeking.

Serenity now...

(I was thinking if I would re-use the towel, and why I would/wouldn't, and then I was thinking this would make a good poll.)

Anonymous said...

Each Steak we take
and Al Gore knows,

is a stroke with a hammer
on our
dying children

and grandchildren.

Bix said...

Well, that was nice, in many ways.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Bix, status seeking was misapplied, making no sense in this case. You can have your sanity back. :-)

Anrosh said...

once a politician, always a politician.

al gore cracks me up.

Anonymous said...

We're all politicians to some degree. Explains all the white lies people tell. Gore just takes it to the next level.

Must read-

Bix said...

To Anonymous (I'm losing track of all the anonymouses.),

About status seeking - I thought you made a good point. People behave in ways they think will elevate their status - within a group.

Maybe a towel reuser would want to be seen as a good environmentalist.

There's a lot you could say about status seekiing, and status symbols.