“It is … tragically difficult to talk about the planetary crisis in a way that is believed,” Jonathan Safran Foer states in We Are the Weather (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25). His own effort ranges from a blunt catalog of statistics to a debate with his soul and a recontextualizing of the crisis as a post-Biblical event in which “we are the fl ood and we are the ark.” His most powerful move is to compare the climate crisis to World War II, when civilians at home hung blackout curtains, ate less meat, and drove slower, all for the common good. But they also failed to act on the first reports of the Holocaust, finding it too awful to be believed. Similarly, today we watch glaciers melting yet don’t really believe it’s a crisis. What will it take to get us to act? Foer makes a compelling case for diet as the place to start. Because animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation and contributes an outsize amount to greenhouse gas emissions, if every American cut back on meat by 90% and dairy by 60%, we could begin to get things under control. Foer, a repeatedly lapsing vegan, admits how difficult this is. He also reminds us that it’s one of the easier of the many sacrifices we will have to make—soon.
We Are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer
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Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 17th, 2019