This short opinion piece at Fast Company argues that plant-based diets are good–not because they reduce animal suffering, but because they cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. Which is a little disappointing, but hey: whatever it takes. Here’s an excerpt:
The latest developments in the food industry show how fast the world is moving forward in countering climate change. Just this week, the global food chain giant McDonald’s announced that it is planning to cut its emissions intensity by 31%, across its supply chain, by 2030. That’s a big deal. It’s the first global restaurant company in the world to set a science-based target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If McDonalds can lead on this, so should the United States.
We have an opportunity to do that this month. Unfortunately, it won’t be via the farm bill–one effective lever the U.S. government has to reduce food’s carbon footprint–which remains stalled in Congress again. It’s via the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s national dietary guidelines, which are in the process of a rewrite. We could use these guidelines to reduce food-based emissions. And while the USDA has never been a close friend of climate action (it excluded the word ‘sustainability’ from the previous National Dietary Guidelines) the department is accepting public input through March 30 for the 2020-2025 dietary guidelines.
If the U.S. wants to reduce its food-based emissions, the USDA should follow the advice of their advisers. The USDA’s own Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, made up of federally appointed health experts, recommended an increase in plant-based diets three years agobased on both nutritional and sustainability concerns. What should drive our nation’s dietary priorities must be good for both the American people and the planet–otherwise there’s no way to sustain it. And there is no question that a plant-based diet is key to sustainability and our survival.