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ED's picture

Can't change fast enough

Realistically speaking, if the population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, and if many more drastic, negative environmental changes will be apparent by then if we don't act now to prevent them, then I say we cannot change human nature-- at least not fast enough. We can change some people-- there's a trend in vegetarianism increasing, for example-- but this is a global issue. Many rapidly developing, previously "sub-par" (I guess you could say) places (such as cities in China) are ambitiously trying to catch up with the US, but there are characteristics of US life that people in such places associate so strongly with the success of the US that they want to copy them, too. These behaviors include things like driving SUVs and eating red meat-- those actions symbolize a wealthy life to many non-Americans because that's what many rich Americans do (because they can afford to). The world can't afford this to be happening, and as Jared Diamond said (in some article written in '06...I forget..oops), these nations (China, others?) won't listen to the US now when the US tells them not to imitate us in these ways. We're hypocrits! they think. They'd be right. But it doesn't make what they're increasingly doing okay.

"The paper noted the reality of the climb up the protein ladder as countries move out of poverty, with global meat consumption at about 270 million metric tons in 2007 and growing at about 4.7 million tons per year."

All that said, I think we need to depend on technology-- especially food technology that is sustainable-- if we are going to have to sustain 9 billion people and prevent global environmental monstrosities happen sooner rather than later. As Jesse Ausubel said in Revikin's article : "Human nature is probably harder to change than technology."


I'm just being practical. Even if the whole world took our Food for Thought seminar, I don't think people would give up eating meat. It (food choice) is just a decision that's too personal to have suddenly changed by government or outside forces (I mean, I wouldn't mind, but people would "sneak" it-- and then what...?) Maybe people could be made to cut back....?



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