VEGETARIANISM: “What If Everyone in the World Became a Vegetarian?” / Mother Jones / L.V. Anderson ☮

Treating yourself to vegan burgers with sweet potato and chickpeas isn't just a delicious indulgence; it could help save the planet. VeselovaElena/Thinkstock

Treating yourself to vegan burgers with sweet potato and chickpeas isn’t just a delicious indulgence; it could help save the planet. VeselovaElena/Thinkstock

This story originally appeared on Slate and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

The meat industry is one of the top contributors to climate change, directly and indirectly producing about 14.5 percent of the world’s anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, and global meat consumption is on the rise. People generally like eating meat—when poor people start making more money, they almost invariably start buying more meat. As the population grows and eats more animal products, the consequences for climate change, pollution, and land use could be catastrophic.

Attempts to reduce meat consumption usually focus on baby steps—Meatless Monday and “vegan before 6,” passable fake chicken, and in vitro burgers. If the world is going to eat less meat, it’s going to have to be coaxed and cajoled into doing it, according to conventional wisdom.

But what if the convincing were the easy part? Suppose everyone in the world voluntarily stopped eating meat, en masse. I know it’s not actually going to happen. But the best-case scenario from a climate perspective would be if all 7 billion of us woke up one day and realized that PETA was right all along. If this collective change of spirit came to pass, like Peter Singer‘s dearest fantasy come true, what would the ramifications be?

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PLUTOCRACY: “The Pathology of the Rich White Family” / Chris Hedges ☮

Portraits of former Presidents Goerge W. Bush, left, and his father George H.W. Bush which are part of the exhibit "The Art of Leadership: A President's  Diplomacy," are on display at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, Friday, April 4, 2014. The exhibit of world leader portraits painted by George W. Bush opens Saturday and runs through June 3.  (AP Photo/Benny Snyder)

Portraits of former Presidents Goerge W. Bush, left, and his father George H.W. Bush which are part of the exhibit “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Diplomacy,” are on display at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, Friday, April 4, 2014. The exhibit of world leader portraits painted by George W. Bush opens Saturday and runs through June 3. (AP Photo/Benny Snyder)

The pathology of the rich white family is the most dangerous pathology in America. The rich white family is cursed with too much money and privilege. It is devoid of empathy, the result of lifetimes of entitlement. It has little sense of loyalty and lacks the capacity for self-sacrifice. Its definition of friendship is reduced to “What can you do for me?” It is possessed by an insatiable lust to increase its fortunes and power. It believes that wealth and privilege confer to it a superior intelligence and virtue. It is infused with an unchecked hedonism and narcissism. And because of all this, it interprets reality through a lens of self-adulation and greed that renders it delusional. The rich white family is a menace. The pathologies of the poor, when set against the pathologies of rich white people, are like a candle set beside the sun.

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