The Washington Post
Slow the looming famine
The May 1 editorial “The world’s next challenge” ended by stating that “the United States and other major world powers have the ability to prevent a global famine.” Overlooked in the editorial was the fact that the public also has the ability to move decisively to prevent the famine and simultaneously reverse a second problem discussed in the May 1 front-page article “U.S. taste for beef helps fuel Amazon’s ruin”: the destruction of the Brazilian rainforest.
The Amazon rainforest is being cleared for pasture because of our appetite for beef, which requires more land than the production of grains for direct human consumption. Both problems could be fixed (and provide an improvement to public health) if enough people cut back or eliminated beef from their diet. All three problems could easily be solved by eliminating or reducing beef consumption. Yes, the United States could prevent the famine, and so, too, can the combined actions of people who care.