Photo by Mike Mozart, Flickr Creative Commons

Like the fossil fuel industry before it, the meat and dairy industry is engaged in a global effort to greenwash destructive practices and cover up its significant contribution to climate change. A “net-zero emissions” commitment recently released by JBS, the Brazilian-owned meat giant, is a page right out of the big oil and gas playbook.

And like the fossil fuel industry, meat and dairy corporations have twisted data to downplay their environmental impacts. An analysis from New York University found the world’s biggest meat and dairy companies, including JBS, invested fortunes in influencing climate politics and helped fund research to…


Photo of baby feet. Credit: Morgan, Flickr Creative Commons

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, some people predicted that with so many couples stuck at home we were headed for a quarantine baby boom. But by December, we were nine months into the pandemic and births were down 8% compared to the same month the previous year. This baby bust is an acceleration of a decades long trend. In the last ten years alone, the U.S. population grew at its slowest rate since the 1930’s. It’s estimated that in 2021 the nation will see 300,000 fewer births.

Although politicians often sound the alarm about lower birth rates, there are benefits…


Maybe Fox News was on to something

This opinion piece originally appeared in The Washington Post.

Hamburgers on a grill. Photo by Rick on Flickr Creative Commons.

It didn’t take long for fact-checkers to expose that right-wing media outlets, including Fox News, were wrong to claim that President Biden is plotting to ban or cut back on beef consumption to address climate change. The administration was just as quick to distance itself from the idea that it had any plans to even suggest people eat less meat.

That’s a shame. Lowering meat consumption should be in the president’s climate agenda. In return, Americans would get more delicious plant-based foods and a more sustainable future.

The spark that ignited…


A typical Thanksgiving feast. (Credit: Satya Murthy, Flickr Creative Commons).

As a rising number of COVID cases sweep across the United States, Dr. Fauci, the nation’s top pandemic doctor, has asked Americans to skip large gatherings for Thanksgiving this year.

Even before Dr. Fauci’s call to downsize Thanksgiving, the holiday was going to look very different from usual for many families. Fewer people are traveling, and more are facing economic hardship that makes it difficult to splurge on an extravagant meal.

A recent consumer survey found that nearly 70% of Americans are changing their Thanksgiving plans in 2020. Consumer research from Butterball and Hormel Foods, which sell more than 40…


We should worry more about workers and the planet than about meat shortages

By Mia MacDonald and Stephanie Feldstein

Originally published April 30 in The Hill.

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed problems in the U.S. food system that go far beyond just empty grocery story shelves. (Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash)

Before COVID-19 most of us took for granted that whatever we needed would be on grocery store shelves, whether we were looking for carefully budgeted staple items or ingredients for a special dinner.

But how we shop has been upended — and that goes beyond uncertainty about what we’ll be able to check off our shopping lists. The pandemic has exposed deep vulnerabilities and inequities in the U.S. food system and supply chains.

We shouldn’t be worried about a potential meat shortage; we should be worried about…


It’s Time to Get the Government Back to Work for Reproductive Rights

Because of the shutdown, the Census Bureau isn’t updating population estimates (photo credit: U.S. Census Bureau).

Every year about this time, the U.S. Census Bureau announces how many people are living in the United States.

That hasn’t happened yet — thanks to Trump and the government shutdown — but it isn’t hard to imagine where we’re headed. The Census Bureau estimated this past year that the U.S. population grows every 18 seconds, with a new birth every eight seconds.

As our population grows and reckless development accelerates, we’re rapidly squeezing out wildlife across the country. …


But meat has largely been left out of the discussion

This story was co-authored with Mia MacDonald, executive director of Brighter Green.

On the menu at COP24 were meaty dumplings, but meat was left out of the discussion (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Jirangmoon).

As the latest United Nations climate change conference wrapped up in Katowice, Poland earlier this month, policy makers barely kept the Paris Accord alive. Yet the 11th-hour agreement they reached won’t be enough to face of the sobering reality of climate change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that avoiding catastrophic climate change can only succeed if governments take immediate, ambitious action across all sectors. That means a rapid shift to renewable energy and away from fossil fuels. But even that won’t be sufficient.

A growing body…


Cutting holiday food waste starts at the store

Thanksgiving kicks off the season’s overconsumption. (Photo credit: Satya Murthy/Flickr.)

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, Americans throw out 25 percent more trash than the rest of the year. Holiday flights and cross-country road trips spike greenhouse gas emissions. Gifts come shrouded in plastic, which winds up in landfills and oceans.

Not to be too much of a Debbie Downer, but the holidays are tough on the planet. All of that overconsumption at the expense of wildlife and the environment starts with the Thanksgiving feast and the food waste that gets served up with it.

About 200 million pounds of turkey will be thrown away at Thanksgiving. More than 150 million…


5 ways to take overconsumption out of the equation

The time of year when kids return to school is a big deal for most families, signifying a return to more regular schedules, routines and homework. Back-to-school is also a big deal for the environment.

The weeks before school starts make up the second biggest shopping season of the year. And that long school supply list isn’t just stressful for parents and pocketbooks — it puts enormous stress on wildlife and the planet.

It’s estimated that 29 million U.S. households will spend $27.6 billion on back-to-school shopping this year. …


There’s not enough land for the U.S. Dietary Guidelines

We’re known for “amber waves of grain,” but much goes to feed cattle (Photo credit: TumblingRun/flickr).

The standard American diet isn’t sustainable. It’s no secret that we eat too much and we waste too much. It’s bad for our health, and it’s bad for the environment.

Globally, food production is the biggest user of fresh water. It’s responsible for 14.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. And it takes up nearly 40 percent of the planet’s land. Much of that super-sized footprint is from hooves — when it comes to the environmental demands of food production, meat and dairy eat up the biggest piece of the pie.

And meat and dairy make up a much larger part…

Stephanie Feldstein

Stephanie is the population and sustainability director at the Center for Biological Diversity.

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