Eco-Anxiety: Atlantic Proposes We Give Up Beef For Beans to Reduce Climate Change

August 2nd, 2017 3:42 PM

As Al Gore seeks once more to establish his bona fide climate change credentials, other liberals have begun seeking solutions of their own on the issue. In the Atlantic, senior editor James Hamblin proposed his own rather unique solution to the dilemma. Instead of eating beef, people ought to switch to a diet composed of the magical fruit otherwise known as beans. Citing the research of an environmental nutrition team from the University of Oregon, Hamblin goes on to explain at length how if people were to substitute beans for beef that “ecoanxiety” and greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced considerably. Desperate times call for desperate measures it appears as Hamblin ominously writes, “The beans for beef scenario is, it seems, upon us.”
Hamblin begins his article by describing in detail the dreadful condition that has begun to emerge known as “ecoanxiety.” He explains:

“Ecoanxiety is an emerging condition. Named in 2011, the American Psychological Association recently described it as the dread and helplessness that come with “watching the slow and seemingly irrevocable impacts of climate change unfold, and worrying about the future for oneself, children, and later generations.”

It’s not a formal diagnosis. Anxiety is traditionally defined by an outsized stress response to a given stimulus. In this case, the stimulus is real, as are the deleterious effects of stress on the body.”

He then goes on to explain a potential cure for ecoanxiety in the form of the beef-to-bean substitution:

“I think there’s genuinely a lack of awareness about how much impact this sort of change can have,” Harwatt told me. There have been analyses in the past about the environmental impacts of veganism and vegetariansim, but this study is novel for the idea that a person’s dedication to the cause doesn’t have to be complete in order to matter. A relatively small, single-food substitution could be the most powerful change a person makes in terms of their lifetime environmental impact—more so than downsizing one’s car, or being vigilant about turning off light bulbs, and certainly more than quitting showering.

To understand why the climate impact of beef alone is so large, note that the image at the top of this story is a sea of soybeans in a silo in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. The beans belong to a feed lot that holds 38,000 cattle, the growth and fattening of which means dispensing 900 metric tons of feed every day. Which is to say that these beans will be eaten by cows, and the cows will convert the beans to meat, and the humans will eat the meat. In the process, the cows will emit much greenhouse gas, and they will consume far more calories in beans than they will yield in meat, meaning far more clearcutting of forests to farm cattle feed than would be necessary if the beans above were simply eaten by people.”

Missing from the article, oddly enough, is any sort of plan detailing how such a proposal would be executed on a large enough scale to produce the desired effect. What shall we do with those who refuse to convert to the altruistic bean diet and continue the eating of the dreaded beef? Furthermore, what shall be done about the dramatic increase in flatulence that would no doubt arise from the large-scale bean consumption? How would the Ozone survive a crisis of such magnitude? Further research must be brought forward and these vitally important questions answered before any further steps are taken.