This book presents a novel analysis of three epoch-defining environmental problems: climate, extinction, and pandemic. Our climate is changing at a rate that is unprecedented and, if unchecked, will prove disastrous. Species are disappearing hundreds or thousands of times faster than normal. COVID-19 has wreaked social and economic havoc but is merely the latest off a blossoming production line of emerging infectious diseases, many of which have the potential to be far worse.
All three problems are consequences of choices we have made about energy, which can be divided into two major forms: fuel and food. Food choices are far more central to our environmental problems than has commonly been recognized. The solution – or an important part of the solution – to all three problems is breaking our collective habit of eating animals. In doing so, we will stem our insatiable hunger for land, which is central to the problems of extinction and pandemic. Abandoning animal agriculture will also substantially cut climate emissions, rapidly enough to allow sustainable energy technologies time to become viable alternatives. Most importantly, it will make vast areas of a land available for the kind of aggressive afforestation policy that is necessary to bring all three problems under control.
World on Fire identifies the source of our environmental ills and provides a compelling and accessible account of how to solve them.