Hey, Asshole with the Hamburger!

February 26, 2010

Ciceronian: Salve, fine sir, could you stop eating that beef?

Crassus: Why ever would I do that?

Ciceronian: Not only is it good for you (two beef meals a week are an independent risk factor for heart attacks), but it will do great benefits for our planet. Meat (and especially beef) is probably the single largest per capita contributor to carbon emissions. You would be eliminating the massive amounts of fossil fuel associated with beef production 54 kilocalories of fossil fuel to one calorie of nutrition that you are eating. You would also be restoring an area the size of Russia and Canada combined to forests, which is now pasture. This could mitigate climate change by as much as 70 percent, because of regrown forests that would serve as a carbon sink.

Crassus: But its so tasty!

Ciceronian pulls out gun and shoots himself in the head.

I go through some variation of this conversation at least twice a week. How is “its so tasty” an argument? Not that I even want all to be vegetarians (though this would not be a bad thing), but do you really need to eat beef 12 times a week? How about 1 or 2?

Pure Evil for the environment.

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One Response to “Hey, Asshole with the Hamburger!”

  1. invisible_hand Says:

    i think a problem with contemporary environmental(ist) discourse is that it seems to hint towards extremism, purism, absolutism.
    beef is BAD. energy-use is BAD. carbon is BAD.
    these are all true, in a sense, since they all contribute negatively to the environment and thus to the general welfare.
    however, i think this sort of thinking fails to take into consideration that all of human living is the use (not waste) of resources. the key is living more withing our means. we must recapture the meaning of scarcity, of preciousness.
    your call for a beff-reductionism is a wise one, since it does not make an impossible demand on your readership (people really may have a need to eat meat… it’s possible). however, it does try to re-educate us in terms of the consequences our choices have (a calculation not accounted for in conservative policy, which trumpets a simplistic notion of “freedom”).


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