Breakfast could be your most powerful personal act in combating climate change. 

The first and most flexible meal of the day is “a great place to begin our participation in the saving of the planet,” Jonathan Safran Foer writes in his new book, "We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast."

The author of the acclaimed New York Times best-selling novel "Everything is Illuminated, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," Foer has gradually transitioned from omnivore to mainly vegetarian over the course of his life, sounding the alarm that structural change is not happening as quickly as it must.

“Citizens of the U.S., Europe, and the U.K. have to reduce meat consumption by about 90 percent and dairy by about 60 percent in order to avoid what they called ‘catastrophic, irreversible climate catastrophe,’” says Foer, citing a 2018 Nature Magazine story

Part personal narrative and part science journalism, with a healthy sprinkling of literary license, the book explains how small individual actions can lead to systemic change in improving climate change which requires less a force of will than a willingness to invest in incremental “nudges.”

“We know that we need to reduce these things, then we have to find ways through behavioral nudges, through financial nudges, and also just through conversation with our families and with ourselves to do less of them,” he says.

Foer, who sits on the board of directors for Farm Forward, an organization dedicated to eliminating animal suffering, implores all of us to eat less meat with a simple pitch: 

If you just abstain from animal products for the first two meals of the day, you will save 1.3 metric tons of CO2e emissions per year.

“We cannot keep the kinds of meals we have known,” he writes, “and also keep the planet we have known.”

Published on Dec 02, 2019