Four Steps to Save the Planet

Guest Post by Elizabeth Basok

In We are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast, Jonathan Safran Foer argues that the science is in: we know that animal agriculture is destroying our planet. Rather convincingly, Foer makes an argument for a plant-based diet stating that this one small change in our lifestyle could positively impact the climate crisis. He is able to create concise, effective, and easy to understand arguments throughout the book, breaking up his points into bite sized pieces that can easily be regurgitated by everyday people that find themselves in a discussion about climate change or the environmental benefits of a plant-based diet. The author aims to drive home the most effective actions we can take against climate change, claiming four notable things we can do: eat a plant-based diet, avoid air travel, live car free, and have fewer children.

Part two of Foer’s book is packed with facts about “The Greatest Dying,” which is an extinction that is taking place right now. While there are many mass extinctions that have happened, Foer states that this extinction is the first to be the result of a climate crisis. He adds, “Humans are now adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere ten times faster than the volcanoes did during the Great Dying” (one of the six mass extinctions).

Foer acknowledges that adjusting to a vegan diet can be challenging. He admits that, even though he has written now two books advocating for a plant-based diet, he has succumbed to eating a burger from time to time. Foer suggests eating vegan for breakfast and lunch, while eating vegetarian for dinner (if a full vegan lifestyle is out of the question), saying “Not eating animal products for breakfast and lunch has a smaller CO2e footprint than the average full-time vegetarian diet.”


We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast by Jonathan Safran Foer. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, September 2019.

Reviewer bio: Elizabeth Basok is a lecturer at The Ohio State University. Her Instagram is @lizbasok.

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