Interview with an Extraterrestrial

The following is a conversation between novelist Adam Thorne and the extraterrestrial being, J. The conversation takes place five years after J arrived on planet Earth, and is included part of a series of conversations Thorne had with J at his beach house in Costa Rica the summer of 2026.

T: Good morning, J.

J: Hi, Adam. Thank you for inviting me to your oceanside homespace, it is very lovely.

T: No problem.Thank you for making the trip. How did you arrive here?

J: I arrived with aeroplane, is that not the normal way to arrive at Costo Rica?

T: Costa Rica, and yes, I was just wondering if you came by water.

J: Your saltwater transportation was too slow for my time scale. So, what are we discussing today?

T: That’s completely up to you, J. You have only granted seventeen interviews in your five years on Earth, correct?

J: Seventeen is lot of interviews for an alien planet, my friend. But yes, I limited my time in interviews. They wanted to research me, but our deal was that I could do all my research without interference.

T: Yes, actually let’s talk about that. What is the research you’ve conducted?

J: My main query was sustainability of Earth. If I can be frank, your species is selfish, and it was surprising to me that the planet hadn’t succumbed to your exploitation.

T: You mean global warming?

J: What you call global warming, according to my studies, is a very small part of the problem. Actually, something is, how do you say, biting at my mind. Can I discuss that?

T: By all means.

J: There is something I find very puzzling about Homo Sapiens. There was one method of environmental exploitation, I thought it was very wasteful, very immoral, and very much unnecessary. Can you guess?

T: I don’t know, J…is it our wars on oil?

J: Your disputes over hydrocarbons? No, no, something very different. It is your insistence on consuming the meat of bovine creatures.

T: Beef?

J: Yes, beef, my friend. That gives me a lot of confusion and anger.

T: Please go on.

J: First, billions of you eat beef, right? Some cultures have banned it, like those of the Indian subcontinent and neighbors, but most humans eat beef. So far, I am correct?

T: Yes…

J: Now, cows are big Earth animals, bigger than humans. They need food, right? They need water? To grow an adult cow for its flesh, that’s a lot of daily feeding? That’s a lot of water?

T: Yes.

J: The feed you give to cows, it is also good for humans. Yet approximately 20,000 Homo Sapiens pass away every day from hunger. Millions more exist in limbo between death and malnutrition. Bovine feed is mainly consistent of cornmeal. This corn produce can easily feed Homo Sapiens.

T: Mhm.

J: Drinking water is becoming a problem on Earth. Good water is unavailable to 1 billion Homo Sapiens. There are cancerous river waters of Northern China, the factory overflows in Mexico, and various other bad waters. The cows in Europe are given better quality water than approximately 20% of humans.

T: You think we should stop eating beef altogether?

J: Oh, yes. I have the luxury of offering extremist views because they don’t appear extreme to me. I haven’t subscribed to your culture, I don’t need to follow your cultural preferences.

T: You think it’s purely cultural?

J: Adam, play ball with me. Look at how strongly you humans, especially those of the Western Hemisphere, defend your beef consumption. You consider it patriotic. You feel threatened if someone took your right to kill and consume cows away from you —

T: You are making it sound very disagreeable.

J: Adam, billions of humans do not consume beef. They live good lives. Not only does beef give the human body troublesome compounds like cholesterol, it leads to heavy weight gain in comparison to the other nutrition sources available. There is absolutely no biological reason beef is a necessary part of your diet.

T: What if we eat beef because it tastes good?

J: Taste is cultural, Adam. Your parents introduce you to food based on what they ate when they were children. Their tastes become your taste that way. Your television propaganda highlights beef as the American meat. Your television programs ridicule vegans.

T: What about the protein argument?

J: Yes, animal meat is a denser protein source than other materials, but healthy human beings do not need such dense protein sources.

T: Arguable, but let’s move on.

J: Now, your cows are raised in inhumane conditions that your capitalistic organizations keep a secret from you. Even when it is no longer a secret, you consume beef left, right, and center.

T: You have me there.

J: I appreciate your honesty. It just does not add up to me. Species are going extinct due to their lands being encroached on by herders. Species Homo Sapiens adore. The African Lion is reduced to a few thousand cats because of farmers driving them to smaller territories. Inbreeding is a serious problem amongst the lions now, but we’re changing topic.

T: An interesting digression, but yes.

J: Food shortage. Water shortage. Organism extinction. Immoral living conditions, or as you call them, inhumane, a ridiculous phrase if I ever heard one. Homo Sapiens health reasons. Cultural brainwashing. All these issues are linked to your addiction to this source of protein, and it doesn’t add up to me. My tests have shown your species to have the critical capacity to understand this delicate food chain structure you’ve set up is destroying the world around you —

T: That’s a little harsh —

J: Let me finish, Adam. Destroying big, destroying little, destroying is bad. This seems like a wasteful way to damage your home.

T: I agree with you, J. I absolutely do.

J: I was very confused about this on the airplane ride here. Why do you think this is the way it is?

T: I don’t know, J. I actually don’t know.

J: Thank you for letting me blow off steam, Adam.

T: Of course, J. Shall we take a break and reconvene later?

J: That would delight me.

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