Partial Advice is No Advice At All
Guest Post by Karen I. Shragg Ed.d.
A new global analysis by University of Minnesota ecologists David Tilman and Michael Clark provides some interesting food for thought. Their study says over the next 35 years the populations of the world will try to emulate the western diet in their journey towards development. According to their analysis, this will inspire everything to go south.
The climate change effect of the spread of the typical American meat-based diet will make us collectively sicker and our environment much worse, too. Because cattle are so costly in fossil fuels, the study forecasts that the diet changes alone will make the climate that much more unstable, and they recommend people adopt a vegetarian diet OR follow the Mediterranean fish-based diet. They say that will make us healthier, too.
This report is full of well-founded research and partial truths. Nothing they say is incorrect. It’s what they don’t say that makes it incorrect. While eating lower on the food chain is proven to use less fossil fuel and is healthier on the body, the article completely ignores the overpopulation issue. IF we allow population growth to continue as it is today AND some resource we now depend on doesn’t run out, then in 35 years we will have added 2.5 billion people to our world. It is an already seriously overpopulated world relative to its diminishing, non-renewable resources.
Advising people in developing countries to strive for a different diet will be totally inadequate to offset growing numbers of consumers. This report is full of relevant information, but it soon becomes irrelevant – a lot like offering the passengers on the Titanic paintbrushes to stain its deck (it will look better).
Every time scientists look into their crystal ball, they must look at human numbers and advise us to humanely, seriously and quickly reduce our numbers – along with their other recommendations.
Karen Shragg is a member of the board of directors of Citizen-Powered Media, the non-profit parent of the GrowthBusters project. She manages a nature center and has written 13 books. Her newest, The Goose, The Deer and The Mirror: An Activist’s Wake Up Call on the Solvable Issue of Overpopulation, is due out in 2015.
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