I was a strict vegetarian for 10 years. Now I'm a sort of sometimes-meat-avoider: my wife and I keep a meatless kitchen but eat whatever when someone serves it to us and sometimes when we're out. As I've written before, the virtuous identity marker "vegetarian" is less important to me than it used to be. But I still think eating way less meat is the single biggest bit of lifestyle "greening" most Americans could do. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's dietary guidelines restrict their official purview to nutrition; they don't address the other considerations that go into food choices. But last week, AP reported that this year's update to the USDA guidlines might include a focus on environmental sustainability—specifically, as a reason to eat less meat.
A recent report from PLOS One finds that growth in global agricultural yield is not projected to keep up with growth in demand. Brad Plumer picked it up, and someone gave his post this blog-snappy headline: "This terrifying chart shows we're not growing enough food to feed the world." Well, not exactly.
Something foul is brewing in the small-town Midwest, where I grew up: A few years ago, hog farmers throughout the Midwest noticed foam building on top of their manure pits. Soon after, barns began exploding, killing thousands of hogs while farmers lost millions of dollars. Wow, okay, so explosive pig-manure foam is a thing.
The New York Times has never been exactly hesitant to publish articles that look cluelessly down on the cultural life of U.S. cities with fewer than 8 million residents. So I'm not sure I'd blame nepotism alone for the A. G. Sulzberger clunker the paper published this week.