Our food and our climate.

Plus: Recipes you’ll love and that won’t harm the environment.

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"Agriculture is our wisest pursuit because it will, in the end, contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness."

Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday. Well, this is less than ideal news—the average pig now has a lower body fat percentage than the average American. That’s right. The average American man sits at 28% body fat today, while the average woman is around 40%. The average pig today has 16% body fat, down from 20% two decades ago. It turns out we like leaner cuts of meat, so pigs are leaning out. Our waistlines, though, are moving in the opposite direction. No bueno. 

Speaking of no bueno, the U.N. is discussing meat and other food topics at their climate conference in Dubai. What could possibly go wrong when the world’s brightest minds fly their private jets to some extravagant location so they can tell us what to do about climate change? Let’s dive in.

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Our Food And Our Climate 

COP 28 is here— the 28th United Nations Climate Change conference in Dubai. And this year, food and agriculture are finally stepping into the spotlight at the conference, a significant shift from previous years. 

For the first time since the talks began in 1995, this year’s summit will include a dedicated Food, Agriculture, and Water Day. There will also be over 555 events related to food and land use throughout the event. This heightened focus on food is long overdue and makes total sense. Agriculture and food production are a big piece of the puzzle when we think about how well we care for our planet. 

Agriculture accounts for a significant portion of global emissions. However, tackling this sector presents unique challenges due to its decentralized nature and the political sensitivities surrounding food production. While every country attending the summit agrees that we need to produce food in an environmentally responsible way, how we do that is the tricky part no one can seem to agree on. 

This brings us to one of the more contentious topics at the summit: meat consumption. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is set to release a roadmap urging nations with high meat consumption to reduce their intake. But is that really what we need to do? Eat less meat, and all our problems will go away?

Do we really need to villainize an entire food group? Especially one high in protein and other essential nutrients like choline, vitamins B12, and iron. Or are there simply better, more productive ways to raise livestock? Shouldn’t we be talking about and promoting regenerative agriculture to build healthy soil and support ecosystems? Isn’t that the solution we should be paying attention to at this summit? 

Apparently not. 

Instead the climate summit is featuring a primarily plant-based menu, emphasizing the short-sighted link between livestock production and greenhouse gas emissions.

On the bright side, part of the U.S. presence at the summit aims to counter the pro-plant and anti-meat narratives. Big meat companies and lobby groups are preparing to present a pro-meat perspective, challenging the dominant discourse at the summit. Don’t get me wrong—it’s not like Big Meat is doing us any favors. The way we raise most of our livestock in the U.S. is admittedly not how we should be doing things, either. But at least there is some pushback against this narrative that cutting out meat is a silver bullet to all our problems. 

The key takeaway? The shift in focus at COP 28 is a crucial step towards acknowledging and addressing the significant impact of food and agriculture on climate change. At least food is now a part of the discussion. Now, we just need to make regenerative agriculture a bigger part of the conversation that gets us closer to some real solutions. That is ultimately how we’ll get out of this mess! 

Tonic Shots

1. A Whole Roast Chicken… For The Environment

Get your chicken from a local farm or from a brand that practices rotational grazing for their free range chickens and builds healthy soil. That is how you raise delicious food and help save the planet all at the same time.

2. A Pot Roast For Plenty Of Leftovers

There are plenty of farms raising beef the right way—using rotational grazing to build soil and help the earth. Plus, this pot roast tastes delicious. It is a true win-win.

3. Healthy Tuna Salad For The Win

When shopping for tuna for this salad, find a company that sells line-caught tuna. Enjoy!

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