The drought of 2012 has reminded us that water is a scarce resource, even though we pay fractions of a penny per gallon for it and expect that it’ll be there every time we turn on the tap. We depend on it not only for our drinking and washing and especially for the food we eat, but also for generating the electric power on which our economy depends. Read More
August 9th, 2012
August 1st, 2012
The Midwest drought continues to intensify. As you can see in this animation of how the 2012 drought has spread and deepened over the past 12 weeks, we’re witnessing a major climate impact on our agricultural system that is leading to record corn and soybean prices, among other significant and costly consequences. Lately I’ve started considering the potential long-run impact of this drought on the region and on the entire structure of U.S. agriculture. Read More
July 27th, 2012
There have been several new reminders in the past couple of days that you have to be really careful with what you say about eating. We all do it, we all like it, and we all talk about it, but sometimes it can touch a nerve. Just yesterday we saw employees at the Department of Agriculture get into trouble for making suggestions about what to eat in the cafeteria. And now Michelle Obama is being criticized too – not for what she’s said about food, but for what she hasn’t said. Read More
July 3rd, 2012
In preparing our new UCS report on meat and deforestation, I’ve been surprised at how often people think you’re saying “meat” when you actually said “beef.” Beef is meat, of course, but it’s not the only kind, and in fact it’s not even the most popular kind. Worldwide, pork actually has the largest share of meat consumption (40 percent) with poultry second at 34 percent. Beef makes up only 24 percent, and is continuing to decline in relative terms. Read More
June 19th, 2012
I’m not in Rio de Janeiro. I’m in DC now, although as the weather heats up to the 90s today, and maybe up to 100 tomorrow, I’m thinking more and more that I should have found some excuse to go to the Rio+20 meeting. Even on the warmest days the beaches and the breezes, not to mention the great music and culture, make Rio a wonderful place to be. Even if you’re there to try, against all odds, to get the world’s leaders to take the environment seriously. Read More
May 11th, 2012
When I was young, my mother used to tell me to eat all my dinner and would remind me that there were hungry children who would be happy to have what I was leaving on my plate. I’m sure lots of you heard the same thing. And if you were like me, it may have been the first time you actually doubted your parents’ wisdom, since it was obvious that whether I cleaned my plate or not, there was no way that the food would go to those hungry children. It would end up in the garbage, or at best in a plastic container for me to eat the next day. But it certainly wouldn’t feed the hungry.
April 20th, 2012
What do these two things have to do with each other? The connection is palm oil, which is a major threat to tropical forests. This week brought important developments on both fronts: a whirlwind visit to political leaders in Washington by the two Girl Scouts who are leading the campaign to make Girl Scout cookies deforestation-free, and a scientific paper showing just why their work is so important — not just for orangutans, but for global warming as well.
April 9th, 2012
For most of my life I never thought much about what I ate. Generally I’ve been dependent on others – first my mother, now my wife – for good meals. My foraging philosophy has been simple: When I feel hungry, I search for something close at hand and do whatever is necessary to make it edible. Like the Checkers ad says, “ya gotta eat,” so I do.
However, in the last few years I’ve started to think about what I eat, and why. Read More