Methane is a lot worse than we thought, but there is some good news about the climate as well, already well publicized. Al Gore has gone vegan. In the past many people have complained about Gore’s lack of interest in combating a key cause of climate change. Well, now our hopes have been realized: Gore is a vegan. The “revelation” has been confirmed by The Washington Post.
This is a hugely interesting fact about which quite a bit of ink has already been spilled. The most interesting facet of this story is how amazingly little we know about Gore’s veganism.
For example, was it for health, ethical, or environmental reasons? The Post merely notes that “People usually become vegan for environmental, health or ethical reasons, or a combination of these three factors,” without going into details.
The environment may have something to do with it. He has in the past criticized industrial agriculture and the trend towards meat intensive diets, in a 2011 interview with Alex Bogusky. (No one has transcribed this interview, as far as I know, so you’ll have to listen to the whole thing to confirm this or glean any additional micro-facts that may be available there.)
John McDougall reported Gore’s veganism with some relish. He tried to tie it to Gore’s environmental concerns,saying that “Al Gore’s public disclosure of his personal change in diet marks a time in history when Big Food is losing ground to humanity, and people’s interest in preserving their home, planet Earth, is gaining steam.” But there’s no indication that McDougall has any more special knowledge of Gore’s motivations than anyone else.
Gore is just reticent about his veganism, and that’s all there is to it. This may have something to do with the fact that after his 2011 interview, he was lambasted by all sorts of so-called agricultural experts and conservative pundits. In the late 1970’s, the meat industry trashed the McGovern Committee report on “Dietary Goals for the United States,” which criticized high-meat diets, and this lesson has not been lost on political leaders everywhere.
There has been a lot of comment about Gore’s personal lifestyle and the fact that he is basically part of the elite class. A quick look at the political scene will show that nothing, absolutely nothing, is happening on the climate front (except that it is deteriorating). Perhaps what we need is someone in a position of relative influence to realize the seriousness of the problem, and speak out about it.
Because any effective action on climate change will likely be devastating to the economy, we may not have any meaningful climate action until we are peering out over the ruins of industrial civilization. It may be decades before the effects of climate change fully kick in. This destruction of civilization would most likely be caused by resource shortages due to “peak oil” and related factors, which are essentially already here today.
The elites seem to be determined to keep the destruction in place. Maybe the fact that Gore is himself part of the elite isn’t such a bad thing. Someone in the elite class needs to be paying attention and taking action. Maybe that person is Al Gore.