What We Talk About When We Talk About Industrial Agriculture & Climate Change

David Cassuto

Santos was interesting.  First, who knew there was a significant mountain range between Rio & Sao Paulo?  Even having flown this route many times, I was surprised by the size and extent of the range which we drove over.

My talk on biofuels, industrial agriculture and climate change was well-received in an odd but increasingly common way.   Though I mentioned animal treatment only tangentially and concentrated on the massive pollution and climate change culpability of factory farming, 90% of the questions and comments I received dwelt on animal treatment and even animal rights.        

This has happened to me in various countries and at various times.  The more I emphasize environmental externalities relating to animal treatment, the more audience members want to focus on (and critique) animal treatment.  I´m still working on the proper response to this phenomenon and welcome your thoughts.

5 Responses

  1. Hi! The area you are visiting certainly sounds magnificant! In my mind I invision the skies a flutter with beautiful winged creatures!

    You’re right to be at a loss as to why people’s concern is leaning heavily towards animal treatement… Usually, this is something last on the minds of many. Perhaps it’s because you only lightly touch on the issue, that they don’t feel “pressure”? Maybe you’re on to something?!

    Then I wonder, is it because people in other countries are more “connected” to the land and animals than we in the US have become? Maybe they haven’t lost nearly all respect or empathy yet?

    As far as how to proceed with an audience that is 90% interested in animal concerns — I would have no idea! Such a scenario only happens in my sweetest of dreams! Enjoy it though… Things are still the same on this side of the pond. 😉

  2. Hi Bea,
    I´ve encountered similar reactions in the U.S. as well. I think there is something to people caring more when they don´t feel threatened — i.e., when the speaker is not taking on the issue directly. I´m thinking there is definitely something to take away from this but I´m not exactly sure what to do with it.

  3. I know what you mean… I think it’s the same tactic author Jonathan Foer used in Eating Animals. Sometimes a non critical approach does make people do their own brain-work: “Here are the facts. You decide”.

    I’m sure you’re incorporating this into your advocacy… Just writing about this revelation can help others. I know it has for me! — Many times “less is better”.

  4. Can someone please tell me who produced the poster used in this posting? Many thanks!

  5. Kim, I don’t know anymore than what I saw at the consumerist site (which you can get to by clicking on the “via” link at the bottom of the post).

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