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We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast

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Some people reject the fact, overwhelmingly supported by scientists, that our planet is warming because of human activity. But do those of us who accept the reality of human-caused climate change truly believe it? If we did, surely we would be roused to act on what we know. Will future generations distinguish between those who didn’t believe in the science of global warmin Some people reject the fact, overwhelmingly supported by scientists, that our planet is warming because of human activity. But do those of us who accept the reality of human-caused climate change truly believe it? If we did, surely we would be roused to act on what we know. Will future generations distinguish between those who didn’t believe in the science of global warming and those who said they accepted the science but failed to change their lives in response? In We Are the Weather, Jonathan Safran Foer explores the central global dilemma of our time in a surprising, deeply personal, and urgent new way. The task of saving the planet will involve a great reckoning with ourselves—with our all-too-human reluctance to sacrifice immediate comfort for the sake of the future. We have, he reveals, turned our planet into a farm for growing animal products, and the consequences are catastrophic. Only collective action will save our home and way of life. And it all starts with what we eat—and don’t eat—for breakfast.


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Some people reject the fact, overwhelmingly supported by scientists, that our planet is warming because of human activity. But do those of us who accept the reality of human-caused climate change truly believe it? If we did, surely we would be roused to act on what we know. Will future generations distinguish between those who didn’t believe in the science of global warmin Some people reject the fact, overwhelmingly supported by scientists, that our planet is warming because of human activity. But do those of us who accept the reality of human-caused climate change truly believe it? If we did, surely we would be roused to act on what we know. Will future generations distinguish between those who didn’t believe in the science of global warming and those who said they accepted the science but failed to change their lives in response? In We Are the Weather, Jonathan Safran Foer explores the central global dilemma of our time in a surprising, deeply personal, and urgent new way. The task of saving the planet will involve a great reckoning with ourselves—with our all-too-human reluctance to sacrifice immediate comfort for the sake of the future. We have, he reveals, turned our planet into a farm for growing animal products, and the consequences are catastrophic. Only collective action will save our home and way of life. And it all starts with what we eat—and don’t eat—for breakfast.

30 review for We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast

  1. 4 out of 5

    Science (Fiction) Comedy Horror and Fantasy Geek/Nerd a.k.a Mario

    ENGLISH A Cascade effect: excessive meat consumption, vast pasturages, monocultures, oil to keep the machine running, environmental degradation, climate change. It's not just eating the meat. Only the health disadvantages and ethical aspects. That heavily processed red meat is now being compared to asbestos by the WHO. The unfortunate chain ends in the stomach of a carnivore, but it begins elsewhere. It is beyond question, how despicable factory farming is. Just the topics ENGLISH A Cascade effect: excessive meat consumption, vast pasturages, monocultures, oil to keep the machine running, environmental degradation, climate change. It's not just eating the meat. Only the health disadvantages and ethical aspects. That heavily processed red meat is now being compared to asbestos by the WHO. The unfortunate chain ends in the stomach of a carnivore, but it begins elsewhere. It is beyond question, how despicable factory farming is. Just the topics relating to huge stables, antibiotic resistance, environmental contamination, spillovers,... are worrying. Concerning climate change, cow farts are the smaller problem. Rather, the amount of CO2 that is released during the entire meat processing process. From breeding, farms to slaughterhouses, the food industry, distribution, logistics and electricity for the refrigerated counters. To fatten all the tormented souls, one needs the largest monocultures of all time. No matter where, be it in increasingly compressed, over-fertilized, for desertification and desertification predestined areas or in the rainforest. And the food has to be transported by fleets of huge ships. These ships must be built and maintained, which consumes raw materials. And they drink oil, much of it. From politically unstable regions, which are instrumentalized and even more destabilized. Or from oil and tar sands depletion, maybe soon from the drilling of the untapped spouters at the poles. It is virtually impossible to eat meat without potentiating this process. Even if one reduces meat consumption and practices self-deceit with the schizophrenic argument of killing only very few animals to calm one's conscience. It is unrealistic that people exercise such self-control. Much worse, the West has no legitimacy to criticize the coming explosion of meat consumption in other countries. That would be the same bigotry as with emissions. And as more and more people consume more and more dead animals globally through cheaper and cheaper meat, it will be no longer hundreds of millions of people consuming meat. But billions with corresponding CO2 footprint. A silver lining is the progress made in the production of artificial meat. Be it by breeding it in the laboratory or making life-like replicas with the same consistency so that one feels no difference while chewing it. There is also immense potential in insects. And if one has the moral issue between consuming intelligent mammals and critters, the answer should not be, "Yuck, I'm not eating mealworms!". That would be too infantile to stay stubborn with a mentality of just eating what one knows. Not to forget the irony of all the chemicals and food ingredients that are consumed without any protest. And a few little, friendly grasshoppers won´t be such a big deal for model adults. "Eat your maggots kids, or you won´t get dessert." If it would be that drastic, ok, but one even doesn´t recognize the difference, cause it´s in the food. Foer's emotional and stirring style portrays the subject on a personal level. This methodology already made his novel "Eating Animals" a memorable experience. PS: It's just about the influence of food. And alone this footprint is so immense. Things like consumerism, energy waste, and generally unsustainable economic models are even worse by dimensions. The masses of literature showing alternatives make hope and motivate to get active. A wiki walk can be as refreshing to the mind as a walk through nature in this, yuck, ugh, boo, completely overrated real-life outside books: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categor... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_i... GERMAN Kaskadeneffekt: Exzessiver Fleischkonsum, riesige Weideflächen, Monokulturen, Öl um die Maschine am laufen zu halten, Umweltzerstörung, Klimawandel Es ist nicht nur das Fleisch essen. Lediglich die gesundheitlichen Nachteile und die ethischen Aspekte. Dass stark verarbeitetes, rotes Fleisch von der WHO mittlerweile mit Asbest verglichen wird. Die unselige Kette endet im Magen eines Karnivoren, aber sie beginnt an anderen Stellen. Wie verachtenswert Massentierhaltung ist, steht außer Frage. Alleine die Thematiken rund um Großställe, Antibiotikaresistenz, Kontamination der Umwelt, Spillovers, sind besorgniserregend. Hinsichtlich des Klimawandels sind weniger Kuhfürze das Problem. Sondern eher die Menge an CO2, die im Zuge des gesamten Fleischverarbeitungsprozesses freigesetzt wird. Von Zuchtbetrieben über Schlachtanlagen, der Lebensmittelindustrie, Distribution, Logistik bis hin zum Strom für die Kühltheken. Um all die gequälten Seelen zu mästen, benötigt man die größten Monokulturen aller Zeiten. Egal wo, ob in immer komprimierteren, überdüngten, für Versteppung und Wüstenausbreitung prädestinierten Gebieten oder im Regenwald. Und das Futter muss mit Flotten riesiger Schiffe transportiert werden. Diese Schiffe müssen gebaut und gewartet werden, was Rohstoffe verbraucht. Und sie trinken Öl. Aus politisch instabilen Regionen, die dafür instrumentalisiert werden. Oder aus Teersandförderung, vielleicht auch bald dem Anbohren der unerschlossenen Quellen an den Polen. Es ist de facto unmöglich, nur Fleisch zu essen, ohne diesen Prozess zu potenzieren. Selbst wenn man den Fleischkonsum reduziert und schizophren nur wenig tötet, um sein Gewissen zu beruhigen. Wobei es unrealistisch ist, dass Menschen derartige Selbstkontrolle besitzen. Wesentlich schlimmer wiegt, dass der Westen keinerlei Legitimation hat, den Fleischkonsum anderer Länder zu kritisieren. Und wenn global durch immer billigeres Fleisch immer mehr Menschen immer mehr totes Tier konsumieren, sind es nicht mehr Hunderte Millionen Menschen, die Fleisch konsumieren. Sondern Milliarden mit entsprechendem CO2 Fußabdruck. Ein Silberstreif am Horizont sind die Fortschritte in der Herstellung von künstlichem Fleisch. Sei es durch dessen Züchtung im Labor oder der Herstellung lebensechter Nachbauten. Auch in Insekten liegt immenses Potential. Und wenn man die moralische Frage zwischen dem Konsum intelligentem Säugetiere und Kriechtieren hat, sollte die Antwort nicht: "Bäh, Maden ess ich nicht!", lauten. Das wäre doch zu infantil.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chris LaTray

    This is one of those books the vast majority of the Western world should read, even though in many ways it really isn't a particularly good read. The first couple sections are fine: we're destroying life on our irreplaceable planet and it will take a massive and collective effort—not unprecedented, as he shows us—to overcome what we're doing. Okay, I'm in. The best first, necessary step is to move away from an animal products-based diet. Yes, I'm totally on board. Aaaaand that's really it. Foer make This is one of those books the vast majority of the Western world should read, even though in many ways it really isn't a particularly good read. The first couple sections are fine: we're destroying life on our irreplaceable planet and it will take a massive and collective effort—not unprecedented, as he shows us—to overcome what we're doing. Okay, I'm in. The best first, necessary step is to move away from an animal products-based diet. Yes, I'm totally on board. Aaaaand that's really it. Foer makes these points early on, and at least the last third of the book is tedious and repetitive. So read We Are the Weather—please, please read it—but don't be ashamed if you bail at the section where he starts interviewing himself. From that point on it really isn't a very good book, and if you haven't gotten what you need from it by then, you aren't going to.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Henk

    A thought-provoking, personal and humane meditation on climate change and what we as individuals can do right now. Too often, the feeling of making a difference doesn't correspond to the difference made - worse, an inflated sense of accomplishment can relieve the burden of doing what actually needs to be done. General A thought-provoking, personal and humane meditation on climate change and what we as individuals can do right now. Too often, the feeling of making a difference doesn't correspond to the difference made - worse, an inflated sense of accomplishment can relieve the burden of doing what actually needs to be done. General We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast is a book on climate change and why we as humans, who on a conceptual level know what we could do to reduce our impact on the climate, don’t seem to be able to really change. Already very early in the book Foer notes: Intellectually accepting the truth isn't virtuous in and of itself. Despite 45 pages of notes and links to articles, the main message of the book is that we should move from striving for perfection, beating ourselves up, and in some aspects the book feels more self help like than anything else. Most of all it's about how important it is that we move past emotions and hoping governments will save us and that we as individuals have power and options to curve emissions. Acts speak louder than words and no one will change if we ourselves on an individual level don’t change and start a "wave". Most people have been into one during a concert or a football match, but still we know very little people who started a wave. It's like a hopeful version of: "No one motorist can cause a traffic jam. But no traffic jam can exist without individual motorists. We are stuck in traffic because we are the traffic." Jonathan Safran Foer (again) makes a compelling case that eating less animal products is fundamental to achieve less greenhouse gas emissions and one of the most impactful things we can do as individuals. Also he weaves into the book a powerful personal perspective related to the passing of his grandmother, as in Eating Animals that was coupled to the birth of his son, which made the impact of the book in my view greater. Themes and interconnections Foer contrast the efforts required to win the Second World War with our current inaction against climate change. As an example he lists the following: During the war, industrial productivity rose by 96 percent. Liberty ships that took eight months to construct at the start of the war were completed in weeks. The SS Robert E. Perry - a liberty ship composed of 250,000 parts weighing fourteen million pounds - was assembled in four and a half days. Also the following speech of Roosevelt felt highly connected to our current world issues: As I told Congress yesterday , "sacrifice" is not exactly the proper word with which to describe this program of self-denial. When, at the end of this great struggle, we shall have saved our free way of life, we shall have made no "sacrifice" Foer reflects on what sets people in action, both looking at the flight of his grandmother from a sjetl that's on the brink of being invaded by the Nazi's and how Jan Karski, a Polish resistance fighter, was received by a supreme court judge Felix Frankfurter when he told the story of the holocaust. Morality plays a large part in this, is it better to flee and take action than to stay and try to convince as many people as possible? What is the difference between people who fled and those that, having the same set of facts, could not act on the future marching in? Can we believe something truly when our feelings don't want to accept something that is deeply uncomfortable? Also he looks at what allegedly is the oldest suicide note, a dispute of the soul, wherein a Egyptian is arguing whether it is worth to live on. And how our interpretation of the text might be faulty, because we don't know the outcome of the dispute, and if live or death prevailed. Hopeful or not? Finally he reflects on hypocrisy, how he still craves and eats meat, but how any action is still a step that can compounded by the power of habit. Basically: there is a difference between progress and perfection, and perfection should not paralyze us to to at least try to do something. All in all, this made me still feel We Are the Weather is a hopeful book. However, much of the final chapters linger and presses in the face of the reader how we have already changed the world. And how there is 95% change based on current scenario's that we go over 2 celsius global warming in 2100. How coral reefs will almost certainly die even if the 2 degrees would be met. Some say that battling climate change would cost three times as much GDP as World War II. However Foer also remind us in this book how humanity moved from first flying to getting on the moon in less than 70 years and what achievements in productiovity occured during World War II. If we transform awareness to action, and just start the change through simple habits, everyday, I believe we can make a change and a better world. Kudos to Jonathan Safran Foer for instilling this feeling in me, and I hope the book manage to touch and change a lot of readers!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    The book is written in essay form, some personal, some informative. Its purpose is to highlight the changing climate, there are pages of facts and figures. Also, if you read his previous book, one would know he advocates not eating animals nor their by products. Something, by the way, which he admits having trouble doing, and his subsequent guilt after so doing. Anyone who believes in climate change can see how it is already affecting the weather in different parts of the world. Most agree somet The book is written in essay form, some personal, some informative. Its purpose is to highlight the changing climate, there are pages of facts and figures. Also, if you read his previous book, one would know he advocates not eating animals nor their by products. Something, by the way, which he admits having trouble doing, and his subsequent guilt after so doing. Anyone who believes in climate change can see how it is already affecting the weather in different parts of the world. Most agree something must be done, scientists telling us this matter is urgent and we have very few years left to change the horrible scenarios they are predicting. I found the strongest arguement he makes is that if doesn't directly impact someone personally, they are unwilling to act. "Is there anything more narcissistic than believing the choices you make affect everyone? Only one thing: believing the choices you make affect no one." He makes many valid points, but at times it became repetitive. That he believes strongly is without doubt, we all should. I though, think we need our government and corporations to take the lead, guide us, change the way they are doing business. I eat meat once a meat. Are the six days I don't going to make a big difference? No, I don't think so, I think we've passed the point of little things making a difference, we now need big things, big actions. Unfortunately, I don't see this happening anytime soon. ARC from Netgalley.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    As important as this subject is, this is not a book which will bring you any form of enlightenment. Unless, of course, you want to find out more about what Jonathan Safran Foer thinks about ... well... pretty much everything. Interspersed with the occasional relevant fact is a meandering, yet erratic piece of writing that leapt from mini story to anecdote to rant from one moment to the next. I'm not sure whether Foer was aiming for some kind of connection to the common man here, but it comes acr As important as this subject is, this is not a book which will bring you any form of enlightenment. Unless, of course, you want to find out more about what Jonathan Safran Foer thinks about ... well... pretty much everything. Interspersed with the occasional relevant fact is a meandering, yet erratic piece of writing that leapt from mini story to anecdote to rant from one moment to the next. I'm not sure whether Foer was aiming for some kind of connection to the common man here, but it comes across as a self serving and exculpatory diatribe about his personal failures. He is so much in this book that there's practically no room for the issues. Even when he manages to stay on topic, it's full of tangentially linked stories that negate any flow or possibility of having a real discussion. The whole premise of the book is about making better choices, ones that will benefit society now and in the future: 'we cannot go about our lives as if they were only ours'. Yet here we have a man who, after writing so convincingly about the horrors of the meat industry in Eating Animals, is admitting that he still ate animal products because he liked them. Way to set yourself up as someone a reader can trust. Yet he still feels like he can act the preacher throughout this book?? No thanks. Even worse than that, the book reads like some kind of self-indulgent personal diary, full of apparently significant musings on whatever subject happened to come to mind, or one of those 'and I'll tell you another thing' conversations you have with drunk people who love to overshare. I'm not sure he's done the cause any favours here. The message is essential, but he's not the one to tell it. ARC via Netgalley

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    This week Greta Thunberg's impassioned accusation, "you have stolen my dreams and my childhood" by talking about "money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth," brought many to tears...and others to attack the sixteen-year-old activist. We don't want to hear Thunberg because we don't want to accept her vision of the future. We have heard the reasoned arguments and warnings. Most people accept climate change as scientific fact. In the popular film An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore war This week Greta Thunberg's impassioned accusation, "you have stolen my dreams and my childhood" by talking about "money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth," brought many to tears...and others to attack the sixteen-year-old activist. We don't want to hear Thunberg because we don't want to accept her vision of the future. We have heard the reasoned arguments and warnings. Most people accept climate change as scientific fact. In the popular film An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore warned, "We have everything that we need to reduce carbon emissions, everything but political will. But in America, the will to act is a renewable resource." But the political will has not been there and many deny the scientific studies as fable. The first Earth Day I purchased a "Give Earth a Chance" pinback button at the information table set up in my high school hallway. I took ecology in college, recycled when we had to cart everything to centers, limited the use of our car (when we turned in our lease we had totaled 8,000 miles over three years). "Most people want to do what's good for the world, when it doesn't come at personal expense."~from We Are The Weather But we also eat eggs and cheese and use the air conditioner and furnace. Some things are easier to give up, and some things we cling to. I can't tolerate high temperatures and without air conditioning, I am a mess. Michigan has experienced more 95 degree days than ever, and we are told it will get worse. I think about it all the time, how we may need to install a bathroom in the basement when we need to escape to its coolness because the a.c.will be illegal or limited or unaffordable. In We Are The Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast, Jonathan Safran Foer argues that people just don't "feel" the threat of climate change; we think of it as some apocalyptic fantasy set in the future. Like Justice Felix Frankfurter when he learned of the Warsaw Ghetto and concentration camps responded, "I must say I am unable to believe what you told me...My mind, my heart, they are made in such a way that I cannot accept it." The good justice believed, and he was horrified, but it was too much for him to fathom it was real. Foer's book is, in essence, a long discussion with us, and himself, on how difficult it is to get to where Thunberg is: a deep commitment based on a sense of personal and existential threat of death. We are killing ourselves. We are committing suicide. We can change our behavior and it can affect the weather and, perhaps, save our lives, our children's lives. Foer offers individuals how to change the future through personal action. Walk, bicycle, instead of using cars. (check; my husband walked to work much of his career.) Avoid flying (check; I've only flown a few times my entire life), have one child less (check; we have one). Dry clothes on a clothesline instead of in a dryer. (Done that, had the stiff underwear to prove it. But I do have an energy-efficient dryer.) And eat a plant-based diet (kinda, sometimes). Our first year of marriage we bought Diet For a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe. Some of those recipes remain regular favorites in our house, such as Mexican Pan Bread. Later we collected Moosewood Restaurant's cookbooks and added more delicious recipes. We fell into the cooking of our childhood when raising a picky-eater child. But after he left for college, I read Michael Pollen's The Omnivore's Dilemma and we became strict vegetarians for three years...then, living with our son again fell back into buying more meat. I am now in a dilemma. We are trying to get animal products back out of our diet, but I am told to increase my protein. I don't like tofu or those awful shakes. I have been buying local eggs from a farm market--is that ok? Then, there is my husband's deep and abiding love for cheese. Foer informs that agriculture, mostly animal agriculture, accounts for 24% of annual greenhouse gas emissions. And we know those animals require huge amounts of food which takes up lots of land and energy and water, and factories to process animals into meat, and trucks to get the meat to markets. Plus, factory farming of animals creates environmental problems and pollution. Last of all, eating animal products, as my doctor has emphasized, is bad for our individual health. Where is the 'upside' of eating meat? It appears to come down to grilled steaks taste so good vs. save our life and humanity. "We are the flood, and we are the ark," Foer concludes. Our fate is in our own hands. And so we struggle on to overcome our desires and the ease of tradition as our children accuse our complacency costs their future. I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    (2.5) I’ve read all of Jonathan Safran Foer’s major releases, from Everything Is Illuminated onwards, and his 2009 work Eating Animals had a major impact on me. (I included it on a 2017 list of “Books that (Should Have) Literally Changed My Life.”) It’s an exposé of factory farming that concludes meat-eating is unconscionable, and while I haven’t gone all the way back to vegetarianism in the years since I read it, I eat meat extremely rarely, usually only when a guest at others’ houses, and my husband and I often eat (2.5) I’ve read all of Jonathan Safran Foer’s major releases, from Everything Is Illuminated onwards, and his 2009 work Eating Animals had a major impact on me. (I included it on a 2017 list of “Books that (Should Have) Literally Changed My Life.”) It’s an exposé of factory farming that concludes meat-eating is unconscionable, and while I haven’t gone all the way back to vegetarianism in the years since I read it, I eat meat extremely rarely, usually only when a guest at others’ houses, and my husband and I often eat vegan meals at home. When I heard that Foer’s new book would revisit the ethics of eating meat, I worried it might feel redundant, but still wanted to give it a try. Here he examines the issue through the lens of climate change, arguing that slashing meat consumption by two-thirds or more (by eating vegan until dinner, i.e., for two meals a day) is the easiest way for individuals to decrease their carbon footprint. I don’t disagree with this proposal. It would be churlish to fault a reasonable suggestion that gives ordinary folk something concrete to do while waiting (in vain?) for governments to act. My issues, then, are not with the book’s message but with its methods and structure. Initially, Foer successfully makes use of historical parallels like World War II and the civil rights movement. He rightly observes that we are at a crucial turning point and it will take self-denial and joining in with a radical social movement to protect a whole way of life. Don’t think of living a greener lifestyle as a sacrifice or a superhuman feat, Foer advises; think of it as an opportunity for bravery and for living out the convictions you confess to hold. As the book goes on, however, the same reference points come up again and again. It’s an attempt to build on what’s already been discussed, but just ends up sounding repetitive. Meanwhile, the central topic is brought in as a Trojan horse: not until page 64 (of 224 in the main text) does Foer lay his cards on the table and admit “This is a book about the impacts of animal agriculture on the environment.” Why be so coy when the book has been marketed as being about food choices? The subtitle and blurb make the topic clear. “Our planet is a farm,” Foer declares, with animal agriculture the top source of deforestation and methane emissions. Fair enough, but as I heard a UK climate expert explain the other week at a local green fair, you can’t boil down our response to the climate crisis to ONE strategy. Every adjustment has to work in tandem. So while Foer has chosen meat-eating as the most practical thing to change right now, the other main sources of emissions barely get a mention. He admits that car use, number of children, and flights are additional areas where personal choices make a difference, but makes no attempt to influence attitudes in these areas. So diet is up for discussion, but not family planning, commuting or vacations? This struck me as a lack of imagination, or of courage. Separating Americans from their vehicles may be even tougher than getting them to put down the burgers. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying. Part II is a bullet-pointed set of facts and statistics reminiscent of the “Tell the Truth” section in the Extinction Rebellion handbook. It’s an effective strategy for setting things out briefly, yet sits oddly between narrative sections of analogies and anecdotes. My favorite bits of the book were about visits to his dying grandmother back at the family home in Washington, D.C. It took him many years to realize that his grandfather, who lost everything in Poland and began again with a new wife in America, committed suicide. This family history,* nestled within the canon of Jewish stories like Noah’s Ark, Masada and the Holocaust, dramatizes the conflict between resistance and self-destruction – the very battle we face now. Part IV, Foer’s “Dispute with the Soul,” is a philosophical dialogue in the tradition of Talmudic study, while the book closes with a letter to his sons. Individually, many of these segments are powerful in the way they confront hypocrisy and hopelessness with honesty. But together in the same book they feel like a jumble. Although it was noble of Foer to tackle the subject of climate change, I’m not convinced he was the right person to write this book, especially when we’ve already had recent works like The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells. Arriving at a rating has been very difficult for me because I support the book’s aims but often found it a frustrating reading experience. Still, if it wakes up even a handful of readers to the emergency we face, it will have been worthwhile. A favorite passage: “Climate change is not a jigsaw puzzle on the coffee table, which can be returned to when the schedule allows and the feeling inspires. It is a house on fire.” Originally published on my blog, Bookish Beck.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    Well, this is no Eating Animals. I found Foer's ruminations a little confusing. His summaries of scientific data are nothing new (albeit appalling), but interspersed with a lot of navel gazing and ponderousness and rhetorical tricks - and I am one of the converted! Have to say that I was shocked to hear that the person who wrote Eating Animals sometimes eats hamburgers and still hasn't given up eggs and dairy!! - and he claims to crave animal products every day (I find that really strange to hear). For these " Well, this is no Eating Animals. I found Foer's ruminations a little confusing. His summaries of scientific data are nothing new (albeit appalling), but interspersed with a lot of navel gazing and ponderousness and rhetorical tricks - and I am one of the converted! Have to say that I was shocked to hear that the person who wrote Eating Animals sometimes eats hamburgers and still hasn't given up eggs and dairy!! - and he claims to crave animal products every day (I find that really strange to hear). For these "moral failings" he castigates himself but he also tries to explain it; he tries to both rationalize his hypocrisy and to excoriate himself for not following his own message. Apparently, if one is to believe Foer's message - and this is strange, too - when he wrote Eating Animals in 2009 he only really recognized animal cruelty as the reason for not supporting factory farms, and only recently has he come to recognize the environmental destruction caused by raising animals for food. (Will health be next?) So he has spent the last few years studying climate change and now adds that to his rationale. And sells a book that happens to meet a current popular trend, I might add. At one point I was afraid that Foer was going to pull out a Roy Scranton argument - and he was going down that path - as in: I know I'm wrecking my kid's future but I can't help it and I'm just one person so I can't effect change and I really like meat so let's just give in and write a suicide note for the Earth. -- But just when he gets close, Foer brings up Scranton and - I was so relieved - Foer criticizes Scranton at length for the same reasons that I got so angry reading Scranton's We're Doomed, Now What?  I guess I'm on the fence about We Are the Weather.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sadie

    Watch my high hopes, expectations and anticipation regarding this book crumble with every chapter... The book's general idea is so important and needs to be adressed more often and louder. It is, in a nutshell, the idea of everybody going vegan (or at least 2/3 vegan - no animal products before dinner) in order to gain a collectively large change for the better on all things climate. Yes sure, there's emmissions from cars and industry and flights and politicians who refuse to act or even believe Watch my high hopes, expectations and anticipation regarding this book crumble with every chapter... The book's general idea is so important and needs to be adressed more often and louder. It is, in a nutshell, the idea of everybody going vegan (or at least 2/3 vegan - no animal products before dinner) in order to gain a collectively large change for the better on all things climate. Yes sure, there's emmissions from cars and industry and flights and politicians who refuse to act or even believe and what not, but these things aren't the topic of this book. This book adresses people who say "But what does it matter what I, the singular person, can do? Does it matter at all? It's only me!" And maybe you're already recycling. Maybe you've cut your car drives by half or switched to public transport completely. Maybe you're only buying wooden toys for your child. And while all this is well and filled with good intentions, it only helps so much. Plus: Not everybody can ditch their car completely. Changing the diet as suggested, on the other hand, would make a great impact*. Plus, everybody can theoretically do it. That's basically what this book is about. Only, it fails to fully show why. It scratches on the surface, but it doesn't bring its intended message across. And I love Foer's general argument. I longed for it. I was even ready to embrace this book with open arms because I also often miss the ecological factors when veganism is discussed. Don't get me wrong, ethical reasons for going vegan are all fair and legit and also important, no doubt. And yet, the economical side gets overlooked way too often, and given the way this planet is headed, we can't afford neglecting it. So here I was ready for Foer to preach to the choir aka me. And it started out great only to end in... something akin to insignificance. Here's what happened: Part 1: Foer takes his time with presenting his general idea to his readers. The first part is long, very essay-like, and serves as a very excessive opening statement. I loved it. Foer uses all kinds of different examples of individuals working together for a greater good and overcoming serious situations thanks to (not only, but also) these "community efforts". He also gives examples on his spin of "knowing" vs. "believing" and that, in the end, it doesn't (only) matter if you know something or not - it's believing in things that put you to action. The examples range from historical to very personal, from overview to introspective, he switches back and forth and builds up his argument slowly. Like a painter putting several seemingly unconnected dots onto a blank canvas, you watch him work, see things coming together and, in the end, have a full picture. Only shortly before the end, Foer brings all his strands together to present his real intention of this book. I liked how he did that and enjoyed that first part very much. Part 2: A few pages with hard facts. 3-5 facts per page, thematically grouped, dealing with climate change and livestock and/or how one infuences the other. Not much new in here for me personally, but I liked the stark contrast between the rather philosphical, long part 1 and the "in your face"-presentation in part 2. I was ready to get moving! Bring it on! Part 3: This is where things went off track for me. Part 3 was very much like part 1, style-wise, many of the examples recurred. Only, this part had a different angle, it was more a "call to action"-sort of text. Only, it was too tame for that. Also, repeating the style from part 1 lessened the effect and made part 1 look less special in retrospect. Part 4: Is a long interview of Foer with himself/his soul. He's playing Devil's Advocate with himself. This is where he lost me. See, Foer's big trouble is that he's having a hard time going vegan completely, which, obviously, would be the best solution. But he can't do that, his creavings for meat and dairy every now and then are too big. So he indulges in burgers and such. Not often, but he does. And every so often in his book, he writes about his own troubles with this, well, sort of hypocrisy, tries to explain it, to justify it. Part 4 is mostly about this inner conflict. And while this is all very honest and open, it also weakens his own part as author and gives room for critics such as: who is he to teach me if he's having such a hard time living by his own doctrine? I missed motivation. I missed optimism, at least in that regard, seeing as the general outlooks are pessimistic enough. Instead I felt like the author confessing his sins and lust to me, but who am I to give him absolution and why? I was really at a loss here. Part 5: Final part, but instead of wrapping things up, I got another chapter like a mix of parts 1 and 3, same style, same examples, more family matters including a personal letter to Foer's children (asking them for absolution, too?) and then the book just ended. No closing stament. No conclusion. There's a huge appendix with sources and bibliography, but it isn't easy to navigate since the text itself offers no footnotes. Readers have to find the source for themselves in the appendix. It's manageable but rather uncomfortable and I'd wished for better reader service here. Before the actual sources, there's another longer appendix dealing with facts on climate change and diet/livestock, and that's where the input is. That's what I missed in the actual book (and even there, imho Foer focusses too much on why certain studies are different than on the actual numbers). Another current book on climate change is The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells - it was written after a New Yorker's essay of the same name became hugely popular. Foer quotes from that essay, and I somehow feel that he tried to do what David Wallace-Wells did: Write a powerful essay and "add" a book dwelling on that essay's theme. And well, if Foer's book had been the essay only - part 1, with maybe the short fact based part 2 added - it would've worked perfectly as such: A powerful, moving, capturing essay. As a repetitive book that offers not much more insight that the opening statement, it sadly, sadly, sadly felt flat for me. I'm not even sure Foer helped the movement, be it to help fight climate change, to spread veganism/more conscious consumption of animal products or a combination of both. Finally, Foer often refers to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth movie. He praises the general message of the movie but critises it for two points: First, leaving the whole food/diet/mass farming/nutrition factor out of the equotation - Foer's book got that covered (well, in parts). But he also critisises the movie's ending, the "calls for action" being too soft, too uninspired, too less: "Talk to your parents" or "Writer to your governor" or what not - these actions might make you feel good, as if you've done something, but they hardly change anything. And what can I say? In a way, that's pretty much how I felt about Foer's book. I'm really at a loss and baffled by how little it inspired me. It's still an okay read = 2 stars, but in the end, I can't recommend it wholeheartedly. And oh, how I wish I could! --------------- * [Since this a review and I'm no Foer, so I won't get into technical details here, but since I'm also no Foer, I'll give you at least two sources for further reading via footnote right away: here or here.]

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elle Rudy

    This book was incredibly frustrating. I like Jonathan Safran Foer. I appreciate what he’s trying to do here. And most importantly, I agree with his overarching message. We need to care more collectively about the state and future of the planet. There are things we can each do to lessen the burden on our natural resources. Climate change is an issue that requires immediate, decisive and immense attention. But I’m not reviewing political topics, I’m reviewing a book written on one. And this just wasn’t This book was incredibly frustrating. I like Jonathan Safran Foer. I appreciate what he’s trying to do here. And most importantly, I agree with his overarching message. We need to care more collectively about the state and future of the planet. There are things we can each do to lessen the burden on our natural resources. Climate change is an issue that requires immediate, decisive and immense attention. But I’m not reviewing political topics, I’m reviewing a book written on one. And this just wasn’t effective at much of anything except making me want to get Mr. Foer to stop rambling vaguely about the climate. At many points I didn’t feel like I was reading an actual book. It’s one part science fact-dump and one part devolving Reddit thread. If you aren’t familiar with how Reddit works, in this case it’s one random thought in response to another, linked by an unspoken “....And another thing!” The book is split into five parts, with each part containing a multitude of essay-like mini-chapters, many with too-clever titles. Individually they can seem offbeat, but collectively they’re just goofy. He doesn’t really make points, but paraphrases or quotes verbatim the words of influential figures at the head of other powerful movements. And again, I get what he’s going for. I agree with his urgency, but am left gaping at his thought process. The climate crisis is incredibly severe, but do pages and pages lamenting about World War II or the American Civil Rights movement do anything to make this point? Is Rosa Parks really the perfect analogy for what you’re trying to accomplish here? You can’t just compare two injustices as if they’re the same thing. Economic inequality is the Holocaust. See? That doesn’t offer any insight or tangible solution. It doesn’t reframe the way I think about either thing. It just makes me think about the Holocaust and muddles the meaning of whatever you’re comparing it to. Add in the anti-modernity diatribes, like his strange admonishment of selfies, and some may be less inclined to take proactive action after reading what this author-turned-advocate has to say on the subject. As far as intended content, I do have a bit of a problem with that too. Public perception is huge. Especially since the public has been gaslit by corporations, industries, politicians and certain media outlets into doubting scientists and our own lying eyes for years. Major moves can be made by large groups of people motivated to change the world for the better. But there is simply too much onus put on people to fight a system designed to minimize their impact. Why not start with the industries and companies who profit from the death of the planet as opposed to the people already vulnerable to the negative effects we’re already seeing? Why is electing representatives that create legislation with these things in mind dismissed by the author as something that simply ‘makes us feel better’? In this way, Jonathan Safran Foer isn’t any better than the only TV network he criticizes for being counterproductive to the movement, which, inexplicably, is MSNBC. (Is he confused? Did he forget Fox ‘News’ exists? Where they seemingly breed millionaire climate-deniers?) So much of the time Foer keeps saying “we” to make his points. “We are”, “we need”, “we must”; what he really means is ‘you’. This book is purely instructional, and no amount of common man pronouns are going to shake the feeling that a privileged person who has the luxury to consider the ethical implications of his dinner is telling people who may not be able to afford food that they aren't doing enough to save the world. As a vegetarian (one who doesn’t dabble in airport burgers...wtf Jonathan?), I understand there’s no point in demanding people make the same dietary decisions I do. It’s not practical or helpful. What is useful, though, are alternatives, incentives and awareness. Corporations need to be regulated and face steep consequences if in violation. Electric vehicles and alternative power need to be economically advantageous options. Don’t force regular people to make hard choices. You may not like what they choose. The best I can say for this book is that at least it’s trying to to talk about the subject, which I guess earns a couple of participation stars in the awareness column. I guess this means I probably shouldn’t check out Eating Animals if it’s anything like We Are the Weather, or else it might turn me back into an omnivore. *Thanks to Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Netgalley & Goodreads for advance copies!

  11. 5 out of 5

    An

    Jonathan Safran Foer’s new book, We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet at Breakfast, sets some highly ambitious goals for its readers. There is a great deal of responsibility to enact the social change needed to mitigate the current planetary crisis. However, Foer avoids taking on a preachy tone in his writing—instead, he weaves a convincing argument through the use of relatable anecdotes, historical facts, and clear analogies. Through easily digestible chapters, Foer presents evidence of why ch Jonathan Safran Foer’s new book, We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet at Breakfast, sets some highly ambitious goals for its readers. There is a great deal of responsibility to enact the social change needed to mitigate the current planetary crisis. However, Foer avoids taking on a preachy tone in his writing—instead, he weaves a convincing argument through the use of relatable anecdotes, historical facts, and clear analogies. Through easily digestible chapters, Foer presents evidence of why change is needed and how it is not created overnight, nor is it effected by one individual. Instead, real transformation is created through the collective action of ordinary people, which Foer compares to the participation of a human wave at a baseball game. One of the most interesting and experimental parts of the book is the penultimate chapter, in which Foer engages in an interior monologue titled “Dispute with the Soul.” Overall, We Are the Weather is a timely and compelling call to arms, a must read for everyone. Disclaimer: I received an advance reading copy of this book through Goodreads' Giveaways, and my review is based on an uncorrected proof. We Are the Weather will be available in bookstores on September 17, 2019.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pooja

    Reading "We are the Weather" felt like waking up to a new morning, with new hope. I absolutely loved this book. Time and again, it kept becoming full circle. It won't be an exaggeration if I say this book has really moved me and will stay with me for a long time. I have watched Cowspiracy, Dominion, Netflix's Our Planet and various videos on YouTube raising awareness about vegetarianism/veganism and they do a wonderful job What this book accomplishes is that it addresses people not as vegans etc Reading "We are the Weather" felt like waking up to a new morning, with new hope. I absolutely loved this book. Time and again, it kept becoming full circle. It won't be an exaggeration if I say this book has really moved me and will stay with me for a long time. I have watched Cowspiracy, Dominion, Netflix's Our Planet and various videos on YouTube raising awareness about vegetarianism/veganism and they do a wonderful job What this book accomplishes is that it addresses people not as vegans etc. but as people who are aware and attentive of the products they consume and as individuals what we can do, what power we have. This narration felt more like the author speaking out his mind and concern without hesitation. Specially the talking with the soul chapter, it is beautiful, true and heartbreaking.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Yes, you see that correctly, I gave this book one star. Since I also gave Greta Thunberg’s ‘No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference’ one star, I feel the need to stress (again) that I am not a climate sceptic! I am a book reviewer, and both of these books are really really bad. This one is worse though! In the case of this book, Foer starts out telling us about himself; about his Jewish grandparents; about he sometimes eats meat; about f*cking mirrors and how tiny fish that live in c Yes, you see that correctly, I gave this book one star. Since I also gave Greta Thunberg’s ‘No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference’ one star, I feel the need to stress (again) that I am not a climate sceptic! I am a book reviewer, and both of these books are really really bad. This one is worse though! In the case of this book, Foer starts out telling us about himself; about his Jewish grandparents; about he sometimes eats meat; about f*cking mirrors and how tiny fish that live in coral that will disappear in a few years can recognize themselves in them. It’s just absolutely ridiculous the way that he thinks his navel gazing is supposed to inspire others to make changes. Not only is this book not talking about climate change on 80% of its pages, it is also really weirdly written. There is barely any overarching structure, and the way Foer hops from anecdotes to historical analogies to random scientific facts is just horrible to read. Oh and I almost forgot, it’s also just plain boring! So no, I do not recommend this. I had to literally force myself to finish this book. If you want to torture yourself, go ahead and read this, otherwise just put this back wherever you found it and do not look back. It is not worth the time you need to read this!!!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Xstch3

    The essential message, interwoven with family history is that ; In the form of the environment, the sky is falling, we're under it and there's not much we can do about it. The Holocaust, suicide and human shortcomings have their place in this narrative as well. Guilt seems to plague the author and the book is somewhat of a 'telling' for his children. It's well written, informative and a bit over wordy at times, a doomsday book that paints a bleak picture of humanity and our prospects The essential message, interwoven with family history is that ; In the form of the environment, the sky is falling, we're under it and there's not much we can do about it. The Holocaust, suicide and human shortcomings have their place in this narrative as well. Guilt seems to plague the author and the book is somewhat of a 'telling' for his children. It's well written, informative and a bit over wordy at times, a doomsday book that paints a bleak picture of humanity and our prospects for the future. If that's your "meat and potatoes", pun intended, then read the book and perhaps you'll switch to just potatoes, something the author admits he is unable to do. I rated it for it's informative content and the importance of the climate change discussion.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    In We Are the Weather Foer suggests that a collective effort is better than no effort at all. The book goes into details as to how American's all pitched in to help the war effort during WW2 and in the same way we can all pitch in to help climate change. Most of this book explains that agriculture industry is one of the biggest contributors to climate change and that this is one area that we all can change in our lives. Foer argues that telling people to stop eating meat and dairy products is di In We Are the Weather Foer suggests that a collective effort is better than no effort at all. The book goes into details as to how American's all pitched in to help the war effort during WW2 and in the same way we can all pitch in to help climate change. Most of this book explains that agriculture industry is one of the biggest contributors to climate change and that this is one area that we all can change in our lives. Foer argues that telling people to stop eating meat and dairy products is disadvantageous to the cause because most people will not completely stop eating meat or dairy. Trying to enforce drastic changes in people does not work because it seems hopeless. But little things can be done and collectively those little things can make huge differences. Foer suggests something that he believes can be a reasonable goal - not eating any meat except for at dinner. This change alone would make a remarkable difference. The facts in this book are startling and he even admits that it seems there is no hope for our planet as we know it now. The only hope is that we all pitch in and change something just a little bit. Foer counters arguments such as, “what about the farmers”, which statistics like these: "In 1820, 72% of the American workforce was directly involved in agriculture. Today, 1.5% is." He says that the issue isn't with small family owned farms, but with factory farms. He also mentions a few unethical practices of animals in these factory farms, but mostly, this book is strictly about climate change. What was my general feel of the book? I'm scared what will happen for the Earth if we continue on this path. Many still deny climate change despite that 97% of climate scientists around the world believe humans are accountable for causing climate change. People like Trump claim that climate change is a hoax due to it being cold in the winter. Then there are those who think this is a false conspiracy made up so that the left can take full control. Climate change shouldn't be polarized between conservative and liberal like everything else. I should mention too that a lot of conservatives do believe in climate change now. We don't need to agree and disagree with issues because our political party tells us to. If you don't believe climate change is a real issue, I hope you're right. I really do. But it's not looking that way.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Emily Laga

    This book’s strength was that it avoided the trap of the sing song-y, self help. Safran Foer makes a case that not eating animal products before dinner is the best thing individuals can do to stop global warming. He discusses the pitfalls of the climate crisis narrative and also acknowledges the sacrifice to not eat animal products. Fantastic read for anyone who cares about the climate crisis.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Marsh

    As a whole this is a fantastic book that outlines facts of climate change related to factory farming, and personal inner conflict associated with the desire to consume meat and dairy products, while playing our role in decreasing personal effect on climate change. "We believe that someday somewhere, some genius is bound to invent a miracle technology that will change our world so that we don't have to change our lives. Because short term pleasure is more seductive than long-term survival." Many As a whole this is a fantastic book that outlines facts of climate change related to factory farming, and personal inner conflict associated with the desire to consume meat and dairy products, while playing our role in decreasing personal effect on climate change. "We believe that someday somewhere, some genius is bound to invent a miracle technology that will change our world so that we don't have to change our lives. Because short term pleasure is more seductive than long-term survival." Many of us understand that immediate action must be taken to slow, stop, and reverse climate change, but often use the excuse that individuals cannot make a difference, that change must come from government regulations, well Jonathan Safran Foer is here to call you out. His proposal is not to commit to being vegan or vegetarian for the rest of your life, but to break it down and consider your next meal, then the next. He urges us not to "make your emotions more urgent than the planets destruction." The book is expertly researched and introduced me to the idea of climate refugees, which struck me immediately as a phrase that will sadly become mainstream, and eventually normalized. I also learned why dairy products, particularly cheese have a much greater effect on climate than I had considered. We Are the Weather includes beautiful metaphors throughout that touch on sentimental aspects of Foer’s life, and demonstrate how all of life’s experiences can circle back to climate change.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Csimplot Simplot

    Excellent book

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lara

    So this was not good. Yikes. This was bad. This is everything on earth that the environmental movement didn't need. It is the ramblings of self indulgent man only wanting to hear himself talk. The book isn't about "the weather" or about climate change or about taking steps to fight global warming. In fact, the author goes the first one fifth of the book without mentioning the environment - and he brags about it! What does he talk about? Literally everything else that has ever been of interest to So this was not good. Yikes. This was bad. This is everything on earth that the environmental movement didn't need. It is the ramblings of self indulgent man only wanting to hear himself talk. The book isn't about "the weather" or about climate change or about taking steps to fight global warming. In fact, the author goes the first one fifth of the book without mentioning the environment - and he brags about it! What does he talk about? Literally everything else that has ever been of interest to him. He shares random stories about a book he liked as a child, about a large hill he used to ride his bike on, he talks about Rosa Parks and astronauts, he shares thoughts on photographs and on being Jewish, he gives a few accounts on WWII and the NAACP. The one thing he doesn't talk about is climate change. The book has one very short section that is a collection of bullet points about the climate crisis. That's it. That is the entirety of his argument for climate change. If you're thinking this is a book to encourage you to change how you eat - a reasonable guess based on the title - you would be wrong. Breakfast is mentioned twice in the entire book. That's it. This book isn't an argument, a guide, a conversation, or even a study on the environmental crisis. No. It is a book about someone attempting to solicit guilt in others and manipulate their actions through *his own memories*. I am hard pressed to think of a bigger failing in a book. I am so shockingly disappointed by this work. The author clearly had a collection of notes swarming around in his head and felt those were more important than contributing actual thoughts to this ongoing crisis. I am oddly offended by this book, by its self indulgence and inability to view itself. The author has an entire section on the introduction of mirrors (yes, it seemed strange to me too) but I think I can finally understand his point. Mirrors are only helpful if you use them. He should have taken another glance, an accurate assessment, at this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    KC

    In this author narrated audiobook, Jonathan Safran Foer picks apart, step by step, our planet's bleak outlook, and how out of control population, human excess, individual and political ignorance, pollution, and consumption of factory-farmed animals have contributed greatly to the Earth's forecasting destruction. While beginning the Sixth Extinction, citing disturbing statistics, Foer believes very little can be done on an individual level but still supports the elimination of factory-farmed anim In this author narrated audiobook, Jonathan Safran Foer picks apart, step by step, our planet's bleak outlook, and how out of control population, human excess, individual and political ignorance, pollution, and consumption of factory-farmed animals have contributed greatly to the Earth's forecasting destruction. While beginning the Sixth Extinction, citing disturbing statistics, Foer believes very little can be done on an individual level but still supports the elimination of factory-farmed animal products. His major focus is on what the world can do to save itself for generations to come.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    This book is fabulous. I’m glad I had to read it (and teach it in two classes). The author also visited this week and he was impressive. From the first page where he uses a 4000 year old Egyptian text entitled “dispute with the soul who is tired of life”, Foer asks throughout about motivation and what gets us to act. The stories are wonderful, the statistics and science surprising but well researched, and his style strikes me as both meaningful and refreshing. Very few authors can be essayistic, This book is fabulous. I’m glad I had to read it (and teach it in two classes). The author also visited this week and he was impressive. From the first page where he uses a 4000 year old Egyptian text entitled “dispute with the soul who is tired of life”, Foer asks throughout about motivation and what gets us to act. The stories are wonderful, the statistics and science surprising but well researched, and his style strikes me as both meaningful and refreshing. Very few authors can be essayistic, personal, scientific and profound. While written for a popular and not academic audience, it doesn’t suffer from being overly simplistic. It definitely made me want to read his other books. What he says on page 16 gives a taste: “As Amitav Ghosh wrote, ‘The climate crisis is also a crisis of culture, and thus of imagination.’ I would call it a crisis of belief.” And a little later, “belief can’t be willed into being....The truth is I don’t care about the planetary crisis—not at the level pf belief.” This honest book about a dialogue with a soul and itself gives us pause about our own daily actions and beliefs in which the Rilkean injunction is paramount: you must change your life!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    If you've read EATING ANIMALS, this is that but with a focus on being vegan, as opposed to strictly vegetarian. It feels manipulative because it's meant to -- though none of the things Foer says are outrageous nor out of line.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lara

    Okay, really, this book isn't perfect, and there were times when I wasn't quite buying what Foer is selling, BUT. This is one of the first books about climate change I've read that actually made me feel it. It's not all statistics; he also speaks to the ways we talk ourselves out of actually doing anything, the ways we don't really believe, the ways we cling to what's convenient and easy, and the ways we tell ourselves we're screwed anyway so why even bother? The book is made up of several sections, and e Okay, really, this book isn't perfect, and there were times when I wasn't quite buying what Foer is selling, BUT. This is one of the first books about climate change I've read that actually made me feel it. It's not all statistics; he also speaks to the ways we talk ourselves out of actually doing anything, the ways we don't really believe, the ways we cling to what's convenient and easy, and the ways we tell ourselves we're screwed anyway so why even bother? The book is made up of several sections, and each section has a different feel to it. Some work a little better than others. What I liked though, is his way of talking about something that seems completely unrelated to the topic at hand and then gradually showing you how connected they are. His metaphors really worked for me, and I found them a powerful way to really understand the points he's making. I am not a shark like Foer is a shark. Giving up meat was easy for me because I never really liked it much to begin with. I miss it very little. But I recognize that I am weird in that, and that giving up meat is a much more difficult thing to do for most people, including Foer himself. I HAVE had a difficult time giving up dairy--mainly eggs, cheese, butter and yogurt--and this book definitely made me consider ways I could do more. Weirdly, this book has inspired me to take a step I've been thinking about for a while now that I haven't yet because I just didn't have the right push, and it has nothing at all to do with food. But just like Temple Grandin's Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals inspired me to vegetarianism (not the point of that book), this book has inspired me to quit Amazon (not the point of this book). I don't really even know what else to say. I think Foer is right, and that the amount of meat we consume is absolutely ridiculous, and that factory farming is horrible and is a huge contributor to climate change. And I do believe that if large numbers of people do as he suggests and limit eating animal products to dinner time only that it would make a big difference. But I guess I don't have much hope that enough people will actually make this change and start caring enough to make a sacrifice that, in the end, if looked at through the eyes of the future, would not be a sacrifice at all. But I will continue to think about my own part and look for the places where I can do more. I received this book in exchange for a fair review. This was my first Jonathan Safran Foer book, though I've been meaning to read his stuff forever. I am definitely planning on jumping into his other work soon.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Riley

    a really insightful look at the the current climate situation, and a true call to action. foer calls out the passive attempt at saving the climate by most, including his own passivity, and ignites a need for change in the reader. great reading during this week of global climate marches.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Cleghorn

    i do not want to get preachy on goodreads, but i will sorry!!!! there is a massive and direct correlation between supporting factory farming and consuming meat and animal products with the destruction of the planet, and it is the quickest and most individual action you can take to combat climate change. the average american consumes more protein than they should, supports more releasing of greenhouse gases than they should, and will feel the effects of climate change less and later th i do not want to get preachy on goodreads, but i will sorry!!!! there is a massive and direct correlation between supporting factory farming and consuming meat and animal products with the destruction of the planet, and it is the quickest and most individual action you can take to combat climate change. the average american consumes more protein than they should, supports more releasing of greenhouse gases than they should, and will feel the effects of climate change less and later than the people who are eating less and emitting less in the global south, for whom climate change will displace tens of millions in the next century. this is not to sugar coat the many horrors of this book, namely that more children die of hunger every year than did during the Holocaust! eating factory farmed foods is more likely to give you cancer than smoking! please stop eating the popeyes chicken sandwich lol our planet is dying

  26. 5 out of 5

    Annie Rosewood

    This is a well-written effort to implore readers to recognize and resist the tendency to shrug off the facts and realities of climate change, and to instead be more mindful of what steps we need to take as individuals. I thought that the topics addressed, and the way in which they were presented, were a little unorganized at first, but upon finishing this book it is clear that this is his roundabout way of trying to call us to action. It is very much a chronicle of Safran Foer's own actions and This is a well-written effort to implore readers to recognize and resist the tendency to shrug off the facts and realities of climate change, and to instead be more mindful of what steps we need to take as individuals. I thought that the topics addressed, and the way in which they were presented, were a little unorganized at first, but upon finishing this book it is clear that this is his roundabout way of trying to call us to action. It is very much a chronicle of Safran Foer's own actions and perspectives when it comes to this issue, and I don't think he delivers on the "saving the planet begins at breakfast" subtitle because there isn't that much in here about eating animals (although I guess he has already done that...). I suppose I am in the category of targeted readers because I don't fully act when it comes to climate change, even though I say that I am deeply concerned. However, I don't feel particularly moved by this book. Even though it is humble and the style is very readable, I would say that it is a very long personal essay more than anything. I received an ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Well. This is a tough one. I really enjoyed the first part of the book, where Foer drew on history and literature and many things to explain why we don't all act as though the climate crisis is an emergency, and why we did act as though WWII was a crisis, and contemplating how to motivate us. Then there was a section of facts about climate change and how our diets/farming practices contributes. Then there was a very weird section in the middle where Foer was . . . arguing with himself about why Well. This is a tough one. I really enjoyed the first part of the book, where Foer drew on history and literature and many things to explain why we don't all act as though the climate crisis is an emergency, and why we did act as though WWII was a crisis, and contemplating how to motivate us. Then there was a section of facts about climate change and how our diets/farming practices contributes. Then there was a very weird section in the middle where Foer was . . . arguing with himself about why he isn't 100% vegan? Didn't like that one so much. Then ending up with impassioned arguments to go vegan before dinner. And how that wouldn't exactly solve the problem, but we can't solve the problem without it. Which I do agree with already, actually. So. It was interesting but not perfect. Thanks to Goodreads Giveaways for the copy.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Scott Haraburda

    An excellent book based upon scientific information, mostly ignored or not believed by the public. Not sure if this book would change many people's mind, but still I suspect that some might. A worthy addition to someone's environmental library.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kati

    I'm received this book as a Goodreads win, but my review is not contingent on that. Over all, I appreciated this book. I hesitate to say "like" because that is too friendly a word for the subject and conclusions drawn. Suffice it to say, this book has convinced ME at least to attempt to eat less animal. I'm never going to be an actual Vegan. I think it would be impossible for me to even commit to vegetarian all the time. But I realized that indeed a lot of what I already eat for break I'm received this book as a Goodreads win, but my review is not contingent on that. Over all, I appreciated this book. I hesitate to say "like" because that is too friendly a word for the subject and conclusions drawn. Suffice it to say, this book has convinced ME at least to attempt to eat less animal. I'm never going to be an actual Vegan. I think it would be impossible for me to even commit to vegetarian all the time. But I realized that indeed a lot of what I already eat for breakfast IS vegan, and a lot of what I eat for lunch already IS vegetarian, so stretching a BIT further in that direction is doable. 2/3 of my diet as at least vegetarian (unlikely I will EVER accomplish 2/3 vegan) is possible. I can commit to making the effort. And I think that this is the point of the book. To persuade more people to make a serious effort in that direction, knowing that none of us will likely be perfectly successful. Even the author admits to his own floundering in that direction. I hope that he sees my review, and understands that he HAS convinced at least ONE more person to make that step in the right direction, to put in an imperfect effort toward a better future for our children. I wish I could commit to driving less, but live in a town with a sad excuse for public transport. I already capped my child-bearing at 1 child. I hardly fly once a year anyway so limiting myself further seems unlikely. I use cloth bags for shopping. But I CAN make that step toward decreasing my consumption of animal products. Now, I didn't give this book even 4 stars because while the first three sections of the book were ultimately readable though sometimes a bit disjointed and meandering, that 4th section _Dispute with the Soul_ nearly lost me entirely. I kept reading and made it through even the Appendix. So, 3 stars for the persuasiveness of the author's arguments toward a 2/3 vegan diet and making even imperfect attempts rather than no attempt at all. I've so-far (even before finishing) mentioned this book - talked about the premise and the author's suggestion - to two friends. May we all commit to making even an imperfect attempt in our own lives, before we lose the chance and choice at all!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laura Fusaro

    Climate change and how to reverse it - or at least how to try to. Two main points, repeated over and over again: stop intensive farming to reduce excessive gas production and eat less meat, if none at all. There’s not much else to it, it’s not much different from what already treated in his “Eating Animals”. I am a bit disappointed.

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