Ask Him Why He’s a Vegetarian

Ask Him Why He’s a Vegetarian

Rajendra Pachauri speaking in Maine in October 2011

A near-final version of Brighter Green’s forthcoming policy paper, Veg or Non-Veg: India at the Crossroads (policy brief, here [PDF]), charting the climate change, food security, resource use and animal welfare impacts of the intensification of India’s livestock sector is in the hands of a colleague of IPCC head Dr. Rajendra Pachauri. She said she’d be sure he got it. Pachauri runs a research institute, TERI, in New Delhi. I imagine he’s pretty busy right now as the climate talks move to an inexorable conclusion here in Durban. But it turns out he had time to talk to Democracy Now‘s Amy Goodman, who’s here, too, about why he’s a vegetarian. Here are excerpts. He makes clear he’s speaking personally, not on behalf of the IPCC (too bad). Thanks to Stewart David for sharing:

Amy Goodman: Dr. Pachauri, you’re a vegetarian?

Dr. Rajendra Pachauri: I became a vegetarian some years ago for environmental reasons.

AG: Why?

RP: Because the meat cycle is highly intensive in emissions of greenhouse gases. If you look at the global meat cycle today and, you know, this is a personal view; I’m not saying this as chairman of the IPCC. Since you asked me a personal question, I’m giving you a personal answer. You cut a number of forests in several parts of the world to create pastureland. Then you feed animals with a lot of food grains, which incidentally are produced with the use of fertilizers and chemicals. Then, when you kill these animals or birds or whatever, they have to be refrigerated. They often have to be transported long distances under refrigeration. And then wholesale stocks of these are kept under refrigeration. Retail stores keep them under refrigeration. Our refrigerators have large freezers, and all of this uses a lot of energy, most of it dependent on fossil fuels.

You can read more here or visit Democracy Now‘s website.

Photo by Kris Krüg for PopTech