We Are the Weather | Jonathan Safran Foer

Summary of: We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast
By: Jonathan Safran Foer


In ‘We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast’, Jonathan Safran Foer delves into the complexities of climate change and how difficult it can be for human beings to fully comprehend its vastness and consequences. Foer argues that our ability to engage with climate change is determined by how we relate to the past and future, as well as the misinformation that is often fed to us. This book summary highlights the impact of industrial animal farming on the environment and reveals how individuals can make a difference by reducing their consumption of meat and animal products.

The Vague Story of Climate Change

The fight against climate change is an abstract and complex story that lacks the hero-villain narrative present in major movements throughout history. The absence of a clear timeline and specific victims makes it difficult for people to emotionally invest in the cause. The enormity of the statistics and predictions surrounding climate change leaves many feeling overwhelmed, similar to people’s reactions to the Holocaust during World War II. Despite the challenges in comprehending climate change, we must find ways to engage with it rationally if we hope to address this global crisis.

Climate Change: Why We Struggle to Respond

When faced with immediate danger, humans are wired to react. However, when it comes to abstract and future threats like climate change, we struggle to respond. This is due to our evolutionary design to deal with immediate threats. Experiments show that humans find it challenging to visualize the future. To respond to climate change, we need to develop the ability to project ourselves into the future and understand the consequences of our actions. Moreover, we have adapted to change so well that we tend to overlook the severity of the current global changes. To tackle climate change effectively, we need to develop a new set of skills.

Fighting Climate Change: Understanding the Misinformation and Effective Actions

The fight against climate change can be confusing with a lot of misinformation. Major oil and gas companies have minimized the risks of global warming and created disinformation campaigns. While fossil fuels are harmful, focusing on them exclusively doesn’t give the complete picture. Agriculture contributes almost as much to greenhouse gas emissions as fossil fuels and industrial animal farming is the main culprit. However, environmental campaigns have paid very little attention to this issue. Activists fear that suggesting people eat less meat will alienate them from the environmental movement. But it’s one of the easiest and most important things people can do to combat climate change. Rather than engaging in activities such as using hybrid cars and eating organic food which has a negligible impact on the environment, cutting down on the consumption of animal products can make a significant impact. It’s important to critically analyze the information we receive and take actions that will make a difference.

Tackling Climate Change: The Power of Individual Action

Climate change can seem like an insurmountable challenge, but individual action can have a significant impact in changing corporate behavior. The author argues that while top-down policy changes are necessary, grassroots activism can also influence corporations. The success of Google employees in confronting sexual abuse allegations, and the eradication of polio through a combination of government funding and individual action are cited as examples. The author emphasizes the importance of both bottom-up and top-down activism in fighting climate change.

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