Last night I watched a Web video of a talk New York Times food writer Mark Bittman gave at a TED conference last December called “What’s Wrong With What We Eat.” Bittman, a wry and clear writer is, it turns out, a wry and clear speaker. His main thesis: over-consumption of meat is putting the planet and us at risk, big-time (his emphasis), due to its links with global warming and human disease. In crafting his argument over 20 minutes, Bittman makes some of the same points and employs some of the same data that we at Brighter Green have been using…but he has a much, much snappier Power Point. It’s worth watching and then, as I did, this morning, sending the link to friends and colleagues. Better yet: let people know about this blog. And for those unfamiliar with Bittman’s writing on these issues, it’s worth digesting his New York Times’ article, “Rethinking the Meat Guzzler” from earlier this year. The piece got quite a reception: it was the most-emailed article on the Times’ Website for days and then nested among the Times’ top 10 most emailed for weeks. Bittman’s latest book is “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.” It’s chunky and green.
Another excellent piece of writing I came across today (no video version yet) is an oped by PCRM’s Hope Ferdowsian in the Fresno (Calif.) Bee, “Fighting the Food Crisis One Bite at a Time.” She examines, through data and personal experience, how what’s on our plates — and particularly animal foods — determines what food is and isn’t available for people in the developing world (global South). With rising food prices still in the headlines, this is essential reading.
Finally, I had the opportunity to hear Heather Mills (until recently also McCartney) speak over the weekend (on Saturday night she hosted a gala in Manhattan for Farm Sanctuary; Sunday she attended a book party as a special guest. I attended as one of the hoi polloi). On Sunday, she told this story of how she’d returned to veganism from a stint as a vegetarian. During the Live 8 charity concert in 2005 (that would be when she was still married to Paul), she was standing back stage with an African woman, an NGO leader. Mills said she asked her, “How does it feel to have all these thousands of people here who’ve shown up because they care about you and your continent?” The woman replied, to Mills’ amazement: “That’s great, but it would help even more if people didn’t drink so many lattes.” The woman explained that in her country, close to villages where children went hungry at night, were huge fields of grain that were harvested and shipped to Europe to feed to dairy cows. Privation amid plenty. We are all bound together, far more than we may think on an average day. Needless to say, Mills said, that was the last day she drank a morning cow’s milk latte.