Meat, climate change and Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson’s suggestion that people eat less meat. Hypocritical as it maybe. (She is not a vegetarian herself). At least challenges our beliefs, our cultural norms and our societal institutions that continue to resist any systemic change to tackling the climate change crisis.

Two weeks ago, we were reminded again, by 375 members of the National Academy of Sciences. "That the problem of human-caused climate change is real, serious, and immediate, and that this problem poses significant risks: to our ability to thrive and build a better future, to national security, to human health and food production, and to the interconnected web of living systems.”

Yet in the face of this existential threat, and even when viable solutions are presented, business-as-usual vested interests continue to prolong resistance to any change.

Unfortunately Mary Robinson’s intervention is typical of the enormous dilemma we face. Her desire to get people to change the way they think and act, but without changing herself. Sounds more like a hollow gong, than a genuine call to action.

Her detractors on the other hand, continue to bang their well worn drum, resisting any meaningful change, for personal and selfish reasons. For them, addressing climate change threatens their established power bases and their business interests.

Ask anyone who grapples with changing behaviour. They know the strong aversions to any change in the status quo, despite the application of scientific facts highlighting the important need to change.

Climate change is a classic Catch 22. Yet the problem remains and is getting more serious day by day.

The challenge for us all, regardless of which side of the debate we sit on, is to move with scientific reality. We urgently need to create new "social facts" that reflect the "scientific facts” before us. SO WE ALL NEED TO CHANGE.

Because if we fail to change. We will be forced to change. And science is telling us that won’t be pleasant.