Facebook Pixel
Plain English with Derek Thompson

What’s the Best Diet for Planet Earth?

Plain English with Derek Thompson
Plain English with Derek Thompson
If you love food and also consider yourself a good person, you probably care about where your food comes from, how it’s grown, and whether it's part of a system that is destroying the planet. After all, if you study just about any problem related to the environment, sooner or later your study will make solid contact with our food systems. Our food is responsible for 25 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
But not everybody who claims to care about the environment knows what they’re talking about. Eating local? Eating organic? Counterintuitively, these behaviors aren't as ecologically beneficial as many people claim.
These facts and more come from Hannah Ritchie, a data scientist, the deputy editor of Our World in Data, and the author of a new book 'Not the End of the World.' As Ritchie argues at length in her book, a lot of liberals assume that anything that sounds like pastoralism and natural living is better for the planet. But in fact, it is technological progress that allows for highly efficient farming, high-quality foods with less land consumed by agriculture, less water wasted, and more forests spared. Many times, our pastoralist instincts to appear virtuous when it comes to food and the planet don’t actually achieve virtuous outcomes.
If you have questions, observations, or ideas for future episodes, email us at PlainEnglish@Spotify.com.
Host: Derek Thompson
Guest: Hannah Ritchie
Producer: Devon Baroldi
Links mentioned: "Environmental Impacts of Food Production," Our World in Data https://ourworldindata.org/environmental-impacts-of-food
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Plain English with Derek Thompson
Not playing