"We Are the Weather" by Jonathan Safran Foer

Review by Borodutch

In this book on climate change, the author explores the whole issue from top to bottom. He starts with why it isn't a priority for humanity, continuing into the hidden causes of climate change, only to drop a bombshell of how it's already too late — yet explaining why we should still fight.

Jonathan draws multiple parallels between extinctions, suicides and even nazi atrocities during WWII. You can tell that he wants us to see the absurdity of what's happening. In the meantime, the author himself confesses to, for instance, not following his advice on not eating animal products — which is a weird flex but ok, I guess.

The main points of the book are the following:

  1. People don't believe in climate change or don't find this topic interesting enough — which is weird because this is the most real existential threat.
  2. Our brains aren't capable of freely grasping abstract concepts like climate change — which is why it feels distant, not something that could happen to us.
  3. The general audience is being misled about the true causes of climate change — fossil fuels (this is on the world's agenda) and animal foods (this is not on the world's agenda and contributes about as much as fossil fuels do).
  4. Climate activists dropped the point of how much animal products contribute to climate change because it became unimaginable for humans to give up growing and killing living sentient beings for meat. When you tell a person to stop eating meat, they become alienated from the whole concept.
  5. Both individuals and governments must fight against climate change. After all, when one starts putting climate change on their mind, they subconsiously hold others (including big corporations) accountable.
  6. The best way to fight climate change is to drop animal products from the diet (the author suggests only cruelty-free breakfast and lunch, but I go one step further). It's not recycling, planting trees or shorter showers (this is like TSA-level security theatre), but stopping the support of farmed animal protein.
  7. It's already too late — but we still need to act. The difference between action and inaction is whether a million people die or a hundred million die. The difference is worth fighting for.

The book is a cautionary tale about our self-inflicted long-lasting suicide as a species. People subconsciously don't believe it's happening because it is too terrible to comprehend. And, of course, most of you who still eat meat today won't change your ways even if science tells you:

  • It kills humanity with climate change
  • It kills you by lowering your healthspan and causing more diseases
  • It kills hundreds of millions of sentient creatures for food

I know the author violates Godwin's law, but his analogy is pretty on point. He tells a story about a person who couldn't believe nazi atrocities, not because the evidence was insufficient but because they simply physically couldn't believe that nazi Germany could do what it did. It was too much and too cruel to be true.

The points above are too much for most people. "It can't be true."