Bulletin: Reinventing meat to stave off climate crisis—and the next pandemic

Are we eating our way into climate crisis?

The global food system is responsible for between 21 and 37 percent of annual emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Roughly half of the world’s land surface is used for agriculture, and 96 percent of the world’s mammalian biomass is either human or livestock, chiefly pigs and cattle. And the global appetite for meat is only predicted to grow.

Bruce Friedrich believes that there is a better way to make and eat meat. He founded the Good Food Institute to advance the future of alternative meats, including plant-based meat made from—duh—plants (like pea protein and coconut oil), and cultivated meats, which are grown from animal cells.

In this interview with Bulletin associate editor Jessica McKenzie, Friedrich elaborates on Good Food Institute’s theory of change, why it is working with—not against—meat companies, how alternative meats could help prevent the next pandemic, and how they can achieve taste, texture, and price parity with meat. He also responds to criticisms that alternative meats are nothing more than corporate greenwashing.

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Bulletin: Against backdrop of war, major climate report calls for adaptation and mitigation now

The world must invest much more in climate adaptation in addition to slashing greenhouse emissions if the worst effects of the escalating climate crisis are to be avoided, the 270 authors of the latest United Nations climate report warn. And it has to happen soon.

“The cumulative scientific evidence is unequivocal,” their report concludes. “Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health. Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.”

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Bulletin: War has been an environmental disaster for Ukraine

If Russia embarks on a full-scale invasion of Ukraine—as military maneuvering suggests it might—US intelligence officials estimate that between 25,000 to 50,000 civilians could die. An additional 5,000 to 25,000 Ukrainian soldiers and 3,000 to 10,000 Russian soldiers could also be killed. While the toll on human life would be steep, a full-scale military invasion would also have long-lasting environmental impacts in Ukraine.

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Bulletin: O redwood tree, o redwood tree, can tree genetics save thee?

The devastating wildfires that ripped through California this year and last consumed nearly a fifth of the world’s giant sequoias, the largest trees on Earth by volume. According to official estimates, between 13 and 19 percent of the 75,000 sequoias over 4 feet in diameter were lost in just two years. While sequoias evolved with wildfire and need it to open their seed cones and to clear the forest floor so the seeds can germinate, the fires over the last two years—exacerbated by climate change-driven drought—were simply too hot.

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