MSNBC Guest: It's a 'Privilege' to Not Eat Meat to Save the Planet

He called for meat intake to be reduced by 90 percent

September 16, 2019

MSNBC guest and climate change activist Jonathan Safran Foer on Monday said it's a "privilege" to not eat meat in order to save the planet.

Foer appeared on MSNBC, where he discussed his book, We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins At Breakfast, which will be released on Tuesday. During the interview, host Ali Velshi asked Foer whether he was talking about "individual choices" or "government-level, institutional-level changes to how we eat" when he was talking about sacrifices to the way we eat.

Foer said he was talking about both and then said he took issue with Velshi's use of the word "sacrifice."

"Acting on one's values can feel really good," Foer said, prompting Velshi to interject and agree with Foer.

"There's a good model for this in World War II, the home front efforts that regular Americans made regardless of their political leanings or their socioeconomic backgrounds, driving at 35 miles per hour," Foer said. "We had a 94 percent income tax, highest rate income tax. We had rations on foods and a really wonderful fireside chat that I could never imagine our president giving, but FDR gave at the time."

Foer said Americans will look back on this moment of fighting climate change and will not be using the word "sacrifice," but instead will be calling it a "privilege" to participate in saving the planet.

Velshi followed up by asking Foer how Americans can change how they eat to save the planet, prompting him to say that people in American cities and parts of Europe need to reduce meat intake by 90 percent and dairy by 60 percent.

Foer isn't the only person talking about meat reduction to help fight climate change. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) called for the U.S. government to create incentives to eat less meat during CNN's climate town hall earlier this month.

"As a nation, we actually have to have a real priority at the highest level of government around what we eat and in terms of healthy eating because we have a problem in America," Harris said.

"But there has to be also what we do in terms of creating incentives that we will eat in a healthy way, that we will encourage moderation and that we will be educated about the effect of our eating habits on our environment," Harris added later.