Guest Commentary: My Gift to my Grandson is to Sound the Alarm of the Impending Climate Disaster

The most important thing we can do for the environment is to give up — or at least drastically reduce — eating animals.

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click to enlarge The author, his son Patrick, and his grandson Danny. - Photo: Florence Schneble
Photo: Florence Schneble
The author, his son Patrick, and his grandson Danny.

I’ve just recently returned from a short trip to Chicago to see my first grandchild.

Meeting him has made me even more determined to sound the alarm.

I’m not any longer just trying to fight for others’ survival. Now that helpless two-month-old boy is my own moral responsibility. I’ve got to do everything I can to save him from the climate apocalypse.

I’m only a messenger. You can shoot me if you want. But your indifference is alarming. Can you take your earplugs out so you can hear the alarm I’m sounding?

The only way I know how to persuade you is by writing. I’m a journalist; I believe in the power of assembling facts in an accessible and convincing format. But I’m doing that in a weird vacuum: the rest of the world’s reporters are not telling the whole story about the climate crisis.

They’re leaving out a key part that for some reason makes too many listeners jam those earplugs in even tighter.

The missing message is this: to save everyone’s grandkids, we must all give up — or at least drastically reduce — our destructive practice of eating animals.

This imperative is not merely my opinion or personal preference. It is mandated by research that is easily accessed and completely verifiable.

So why is this key aspect of climate action almost always omitted? Its absence seems to me to be tantamount to journalistic malpractice.

Maybe it’s because the so-called climate experts, the researchers, and the world’s leaders rarely speak about it either. But that’s no excuse for not reporting the inconvenient truth.

It’s not a big ask. Giving up meat and dairy is easy once you understand what’s at stake. It’s certainly no greater sacrifice than turning down the thermostat or recycling.

And we aren’t going to reach the goals we must meet to avert doom and give our grandkids a shot at a livable future unless we do this simple thing — along with all the other more complicated and costly measures that countries and corporations must take to stop spewing deadly greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

Listen, I want you to do this for Danny. But you want to do this for your own and your friends’ children and grandchildren. Don’t you?

This story was originally published by Detroit Metro Times, CityBeat's sister publication.

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