In his recent interview with Ezra Klein, Michael Pollan expresses puzzlement at the Obama administration’s reluctance to take on the food industry.
“The energy sector is a powerful lobby,” he says, “but the President seems willing to go after them. But not agriculture….The agricultural sector generates more methane than any other sector. But for reasons I can’t fathom, when they announced the new rules governing methane in the energy sector, they called for voluntary measures in the agricultural sector.”
Reducing the use of antibiotics in livestock gets a similar voluntary treatment. Pollan attributes Washington’s reluctance to regulate the food industry to public resistance to changing one’s diet:
“People’s eating choices are more fundamental and closely tied to their identity than their driving decisions or how they choose to heat their house or anything else. If you challenge my right to have a cheeseburger, that’s getting a little intimate.”
Perhaps Pollan’s right about our reluctance to change our diet but if so that is pathetic. The environmental impact of eating meat could be substantially mitigated by choosing to eat meat less often. Moving to a plant-based diet three times a week would make a big difference.
So what does choosing an occasional plant based meal have to do with one’s identity? If eating pasta primavera insted of a cheeseburger is a threat to your identity–well your identity is a bit too fragile to survive the slings and arrows of human existence.
I recommend psychoanalysis along with the change in diet.