International Policy Digest

Health /06 Mar 2019

It’s Time for Environmental Advocates like AOC to Stop Eating Meat

More than anyone else, Liberal Democrats couched in unpopular environmental positions, must stop eating meat.

Called into question this week about her own carbon-footprint inducing car-rides, staff burger-eating sessions and travel habits, Democratic ingenue Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lashed back in what is quickly becoming her typical fashion: snark and ad hominem.

Ocasio-Cortez response to carbon footprint expose: “I’m just living in the world.”

Look, I get it.

Everyone else is just living in the world, too AOC.

She has a point. It isn’t fair. The U.S. is indeed currently set up for a mass transit system that very much involves fossil fuels.

Former Vice President Al Gore suffered from the same scrutiny of his personal habits. But Al Gore, like AOC after him, both had a very valid point about living in the world.

It’s a catch 22. You can’t possibly be elected to a public office high enough to do anything about environmental damage without a metric ton of carbon-footprint inducing travel. You can’t do anything about the environment unless you incur a metric ton of carbon footprint and get elected to office.

Gore and AOC want to change the system, making it possible for anyone to do anything without using fossil fuels. Environmental justice advocates have to achieve that in the current system, not in some future system in which a transit system without fossil fuels already exists, making creating one unnecessary.

So why are they still eating meat?

Why are they still eating meat when it is now not only possible, but easier than ever, to avoid meat?

AOC definitely has the choice of giving up the unnecessary and purely indulgent luxury of meat. She has an opportunity to hire people willing to do the same. World leaders have a moral obligation to give up meat if they care about the planet.

No more hamburgers AOC, go vegan.

If Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “Wants the Country to Think Big,” the food all 330 million of us eat all day, every day, is the biggest issue of all. It is also the lowest hanging fruit. It might take you a good while to learn to navigate your life without fossil fuels, sell your car, figure out the public transportation system.

A participant in London’s 29 November climate march carries her home made placard with the message that going vegan is probably the biggest contribution anyone can make to limiting and hopefully eventually reversing global warming and climate change. (Alisdare Hickson)

But you can stop eating meat right now.

It is perfectly possible to exist in the U.S., right now, and easier than ever in fact, without eating meat.

Will it make you more popular?


Is the world at large set up to make this easy for you?


Will your family and friends be supportive of this decision?

No, and your mother will take it as a personal insult. (Until she sees the light, just like you did.)

Will you have to change your habits?


Hypocrisy Hurts the Cause

If you’re living in the public eye, advocating vocally for the environment, and you are still eating meat and buying animal products, you aren’t going to be able to get away with it much longer.

We’re living in the information age. Everyone has a high-quality video camera in their pocket and everyone wants to be Internet famous. Also, everyone loves exposing a hypocrite. And no, they don’t see the irony in that.

The long-overdue discussion about the environment is coming to the forefront and advocates who aren’t even willing to change their own habits are doing more harm than good.

Why should anyone listen to you about saving the planet if you aren’t even willing to sub in a veggie burger no cheese?

Think it’s hard to give up cars, try living in the world and eschewing all meat and animal products.

The reasons are manifest and many:

Care about your health? Give up meat.

Serious about your faith? Give up meat.

Believe in science? Give up meat.

Want to alleviate global poverty? Give up meat.

Love animals? Give up meat.

Tired of food companies using billion-dollar advertising campaigns to disproportionately target minorities and kids, manipulate and brainwash the American public and paying the government for the privilege?

Got milk?

Just kidding. Give up meat.

Care about the planet? You heard me, give up meat.

Avoiding meat and dairy is the ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth.

Faith Without Works is Not Faith

Because if you believed, if you truly believed that animal agriculture is imperiling the planet, and it is, you wouldn’t be able to eat another bite of an animal.

If you knew what really went on in the animal agriculture industry, you would never eat another bite of an animal, either.

Don’t even get me started on the appalling vanity of raising animals for fur in a world where children are starving to death, because then we will have to talk about leather, too.

I know.

No, I know.

It’s big.

Animal food is part of all of our cultures, our human history, our family and faith traditions. Part of our celebrations and lamentations. In everything. I mean everything. And in the case of whey, absolutely everything.

Try going out to a restaurant and avoiding animal products. Welcome to my world. There’s always salad.

That’s why they’re straw-manning us on the cow farts. It’s easier to laugh at cow farts than take a serious look at factory farming. Fair warning: If you do take a serious look at factory farming, you might want to skip breakfast.

Instead of the ad hominem of attacking the credibility of the messenger, AOC should consider what is at the heart of the matter and change her habits.

Starting with still eating meat.

Yes, it’s unpopular. Some people won’t like it. Even some environmentalists won’t even like it.

What is their excuse? Eating meat as we’ve always done is pleasurable and easy? Meat is everywhere and ubiquitous in our society? Does meat have a historic pretext? It has (false) scientific evidence claiming humans need animal food to survive? Lies.

Lies, lies, and half-truths

A cup of peas has 9 grams a protein. True.

This is the Information Age if you haven’t already heard. Study up on the latest in nutrition, don’t take my word for it. Just don’t take the word of the National Livestock and Meat Board when they sold you on “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner!

And don’t call yourself an environmentalist if you are still indulging in meat.