We Are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer
We Are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer – Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast. The whole concept of the book is that, despite being made aware by countless scientists, most of us live as if we were climate change deniers because we fail to change our lives.
The book is very personal, he is talking openly about his issues. I found the book too religious in parts, despite his agnosticism, and a bit too philosophical for my taste, and this is why I gave it 4.5 stars and not 5. He mentions The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells a lot and I understand why, as the book is interesting (see my review for more details).
Foer says that there are good ways to farm livestock and only now, after factory farming the things are getting worse. That is not true, as we humans have changed the landscape to the detriment of wild animals and other humans for millennia. But that’s just nit-picking. He has a point when it comes to livestock and farming.
As for saving the planet, he mentions that we can do four things: eat a plant-based diet; fly less; don’t use a personal car; have fewer babies. He is, obviously, right. Eating a plant-based diet has a much lower carbon footprint, even if we ignore the animal suffering part of it. He says that he struggles with becoming vegan as he still craves meat. Personally I can’t understand that. I’ve been a vegetarian for over 12 years and in this time not only I’ve stopped craving meat, I can’t even look at it (cooked or raw) without feeling disgust. Nevertheless, each is different and we all see things differently.
The second point he talks about, flying, is where I don’t agree with him. He said that we all should try to fly less and he goes on saying that business people should try to take fewer trips. I can’t agree with that. I think everybody should fly less when is not essential, as in for holidays. A blogger I used to follow would fly from UK to US every summer, for a holiday, but she never went to London, despite being a shorter journey, by train. On social media when someone asks where they should visit next, almost nobody mentions a city or town in their own country. It seems like only someone living in Berlin should visit Bath and someone living in London should visit Frankfurt. Imagine if we could try to know the countries we live in better, enjoying ourselves while doing less damage to the environment. I’ve been doing all my holidays in UK after moving here 8 years ago and I lost the count of how many times someone who lived in UK all their lives told me they haven’t been to that city or the other one I went to.
The third point is not feasible at the moment. I started using the railway network recently and it’s not great. For three times, going from Oxford up north to Liverpool and Manchester, the train had issues, from minor delays to being cancelled and I had to get a replacement. As for the price of the ticket… let’s say it would have been cheaper to drive. It can be solved, with better infrastructure, but if the companies aren’t willing to invest, we, the customers, are forced to try more suitable options.
Finally it was the fewer children idea. I agree with that. Families with fewer children can offer them a better quality of life too, as there are more resources and parents have more time for them. In the western world, this is what happens now. With a bit more economical development and women empowerment, family size will go down in the eastern parts of the world.
Overall, the most important thing in the book is how we act, as climate-change deniers, because we don’t do everything possible to tackle this crisis we are in. I would recommend the book, especially as he talks differently about all four issues.
We Are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer
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My rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it:
Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Year it was published: 2019
About the author: Jonathan Safran Foer is a Princeton educated, New York based author. He teaches creative writing at New York University.
His work include two bestselling novels, Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. He also wrote a bestselling work of non-fiction, Eating Animals.
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