The Green Movement’s Meat Dilemma A Review of This Is Hope: Green Vegans and the New Human Ecology by Will Anderson
In This Is Hope: Green Vegans and the New Human Ecology (Earth Books), author Will Anderson, founder of greenvegans.org, lays out the hard numbers: 67 billion farm animals used to produce meat; 700 million people worldwide depending on farmed animals for much of their income; 1.5 planets’ worth of resources being used by humankind. He notes that “carnism” underlies an unsustainable reality that has led to exploiting land, polluting water and generating massive emissions and takes direct aim at celebrated food writer Michael Pollan whose book The Omnivore’s Dilemma Anderson argues does not go nearly far enough in identifying necessary changes.
In The Omnivore’s Dillema, Pollan writes that domestication of farm animals “has allowed us and them to prosper together as we could never have prospered apart.” To this, Anderson responds with a litany of ways that humans have mistreated these animals—cows with huge udders; turkeys with oversized breasts that are unable to walk; butchered calves. It’s a grim picture, and one that is not remedied, in Anderson’s view, by the small-scale farm operations so often championed by environmentalists. The truth, he writes, can again be found in the numbers—26% of Earth’s arable land used for grazing and a third of all arable land used for feed crop production. It’s a staggering amount of lost habitat for the farm animals Anderson calls “an invasive species.” Pollan may argue that people are animals and eating other animals is natural, but Anderson counters that “A new era is unfolding…I am vegan because of what I have seen and experienced with ecosystems and other species…”
In This Is Hope, Anderson ties true environmentalism to veganism. His words may be hard for meat eaters to read, but he makes it clear they have never been more necessary.