Diet of Austerity: Class, Food & Climate Change
By Elaine Graham-Leigh
Zero Books, 2015
Like the author of this interesting book on food and climate change, I have been struck by the way that the question of diet, and in particular meat eating, has become central to debates on tackling climate change.
In her introduction, Elaine Graham-Leigh notes the many ways that advocates for non-meat diets are inserting this message into the climate movement. Slogans that argue that only vegetarian diets can save the planet, or that genuine environmentalists are vegan, are common place.
But the argument has also reached higher levels, with NGOs, governments and politicians frequently advocating this approach.
Graham-Leigh's book is a challenge to this approach. She rightly argues that the danger is that veganism fails to address the real causes of climate change, will not actually have the desired effects and, most importantly, shifts the focus of blame for climate change onto predominately working class people.
Unusually for a book on the environment, class is a central part of Graham-Leigh's book. She notes that “as with discussions of austerity, it seems that those who have the least are the ones who have the greatest responsibility to be restrained in consuming it”.
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