The recipe website garnered widespread praise for its 2021 promise to nix beef for the planet. But climate promises only matter if they actually get fulfilled.
hey, you’re spot on, that when people learn about steps forward, even half measures, they feel less need to push for more change. That’s a big problem.
At the same time, we in the climate movement have to get smarter about the changes we advocate for. In the US, beef production accounts for only 2-3% of GHG CO2e. When you add in the effect of producing substitute foods, you can only reduce our GHG footprint by 1-2% by having all Americans go vegetarian.
That’s not nothing — but compared to less fractious changes to advocate for, it’s really not worth it. Especially when you consider related issues such as increased risk of diabetes (vegetables aren’t protein-dense foods so you need many more calories to get beneficial amounts of protein) and the challenge of persuading people in other parts of the world to follow our lead without appearing as a neo-colonialist.
Meanwhile highly beneficial changes get short shrift: flying less or not at all. Stopping oil industry subsidies. Making gas utility company shareholders pay for leaky distribution networks instead of ratepayers. Improving the electric power distribution network so power can be generated where it’s least expensive and consumed where it’s needed. Recovering healthy natural ecosystem function in our public lands so that instead of burning, they help us solve the problem of CO2 pollution. Even just accurately measuring what we’re doing and where so we can focus on the most important avenues to reduce our CO2e by 50% by 2030.
Imagine what we could accomplish if we educated people about what they could actually do that would make a real difference instead of lecturing them about something they struggle with and which wouldn’t accomplish much even if they did it.
We hold out hope for a corporation to stand by its promises...but we don't hold our breath waiting either.
I wonder if it has something to do with their advertisers. I'm seeing that a lot of corporations are making climate pledges but then not actually doing something that cuts into their bottom line
Great article, and thank you both for checking up on their pledge. The main concern is as you say, making pledges that get attention but hardly any investigation on whether they meet that pledge and even less reporting if they didn't. So this article is really valuable!
"So we wondered: Did Epicurious knowingly break its promise? Or was this simply an oversight: a mis-steak, if you will?"
Also your puns are highly underrated.
Great article. When are you guys getting on Threads?
Ok. So Bon Apetit is publishing beef recipes. You got ‘em. How about some coverage of the numerous heat waves threatening the the lives of more than 100 million people around the globe right now, after all, the name of your newsletter is in fact, “Heated!”