Fresh Leaf Forever

Power of Dietary Choices : How we combat Climate Change

September 05, 2023 Vai Kumar interviews Glen Merzer Season 3 Episode 8
Power of Dietary Choices : How we combat Climate Change
Fresh Leaf Forever
More Info
Fresh Leaf Forever
Power of Dietary Choices : How we combat Climate Change
Sep 05, 2023 Season 3 Episode 8
Vai Kumar interviews Glen Merzer

Did you know that your plate holds the power to combat climate change?
Our guest, Glenn Merzer, a renowned playwright, screenwriter, and author, enlightens us with his compelling insights on the complex relationship between food choices and the climate crisis.
Merzer’s valuable transformational journey from a stand-up comic to a fervent advocate for plant-exclusive diets paves the way for an awakening discussion. Tune in  as he elucidates on his book, "Food is Climate," and the urgent need for a shift in our dietary choices.

Our guest sheds light on the stark realities of climate change, underscoring the pivotal role animal agriculture plays.

Noteworthy points from this repurposed chat with Glen Merzer from Season 2 :

-Our obsession with fossil fuels and ignorance towards animal agriculture 
-Myth of protein necessity from animal products,
-Alternative scenario that promises environmental restoration 

This gripping episode is not just about food or climate; it’s about the impact of our choices on the planet we all call home. Let's help make a meaningful change!

Send us a Text Message.

Buzzsprout Get your podcast launched!
Start for FREE

Instacart Grocery delivery
Free delivery on your first order over $35.

Enjoy PIOR Living products
Enjoy PIOR Living products at a 20% discount and free shipping on orders over $75 Code FLF20

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Support the Show.

Videos available on YouTube channel.
Follow host Vai on socials - Instagram , YouTube, LinkedIn for thought leadership content.
Head to my website for enlightening blogs & service offerings.
This podcast comes to you from Listen Ponder Change LLC, founded by Vai Kumar.
Every support the show contribution is much appreciated !!
Subscribe https://www.buzzsprout.com/1436179/support and help us amplify our voice and reach!

Fresh Leaf Forever +
Join me in this cause addressing issues of real world impact.
Starting at $3/month
Support
Show Notes Transcript

Did you know that your plate holds the power to combat climate change?
Our guest, Glenn Merzer, a renowned playwright, screenwriter, and author, enlightens us with his compelling insights on the complex relationship between food choices and the climate crisis.
Merzer’s valuable transformational journey from a stand-up comic to a fervent advocate for plant-exclusive diets paves the way for an awakening discussion. Tune in  as he elucidates on his book, "Food is Climate," and the urgent need for a shift in our dietary choices.

Our guest sheds light on the stark realities of climate change, underscoring the pivotal role animal agriculture plays.

Noteworthy points from this repurposed chat with Glen Merzer from Season 2 :

-Our obsession with fossil fuels and ignorance towards animal agriculture 
-Myth of protein necessity from animal products,
-Alternative scenario that promises environmental restoration 

This gripping episode is not just about food or climate; it’s about the impact of our choices on the planet we all call home. Let's help make a meaningful change!

Send us a Text Message.

Buzzsprout Get your podcast launched!
Start for FREE

Instacart Grocery delivery
Free delivery on your first order over $35.

Enjoy PIOR Living products
Enjoy PIOR Living products at a 20% discount and free shipping on orders over $75 Code FLF20

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Support the Show.

Videos available on YouTube channel.
Follow host Vai on socials - Instagram , YouTube, LinkedIn for thought leadership content.
Head to my website for enlightening blogs & service offerings.
This podcast comes to you from Listen Ponder Change LLC, founded by Vai Kumar.
Every support the show contribution is much appreciated !!
Subscribe https://www.buzzsprout.com/1436179/support and help us amplify our voice and reach!

Glen Merzer:

Welcome to Fresh Leaf Forever, a podcast that gives you fascinating insights week after week. Here's your host, Vaikumar.

Vai Kumar:

Hey folks, welcome to Podcast Fresh Leaf Forever. Today I have here with us Glenn Merzer, who is a playwright, screenwriter and author. Glenn began his career as a stand-up comic in San Francisco before devoting himself to playwriting. He wrote for network television for many years before stumbling into a career writing books that advocate the plant-exclusive diet. It's such a pleasure to have Glenn Merzer here on the show with us. Hey, glenn, how are you doing? Welcome to the podcast.

Glen Merzer:

Thank you, vaikumar, good to be with you.

Vai Kumar:

Environmental Education, kids- They learn about that a lot too. What about your book Food is Climate, where you've written about this climate emergency and sort of this climate erosion that threatens human existence, right? So why is being vegan important in that context, glenn?

Glen Merzer:

There is no way to solve the climate emergency without a global transformation to the vegan diet. If you think about it, for the last 30 years we have known that we would face this climate emergency, and the temperatures have gotten hotter and the weather more violent over the last 30 years. And what have we focused on? Fossil fuels. That's what we always hear about the burning of fossil fuels. Now, if we imagine it 30 years later, by the way, we're burning more fossil fuels than we were 30 years ago. So the first question I would ask is how's that working for you? How's that going? Just focusing on fossil fuels where we haven't made any progress at all, really? Second, even if in a fantasy, tomorrow all the airplanes went solar we don't have solar airplanes, but imagine if they got invented and tomorrow all the airplanes went solar, all the cars were electric and all the electricity for the cars was generated by solar and wind, so it's all renewable. So, in other words, imagine in a fantasy that tomorrow we're 100% renewable energy and we're not burning any gas to cook with and we're not burning any fossil fuels to heat our home.

Glen Merzer:

Even then, the planet will keep warming. Why is that? Because we got 25 billion farmed animals out there. We have 1.5 billion cows belching methane, and methane is 120 times as potent to greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide. Don't let them tell you, it's less than that. Nitrous oxide, 300 times as potent as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide coming from fertilizers used to grow, the grain that they feed to cows, coming from the manure of cows and chickens. And methane coming from the manure of cows and chickens. And then we would have all the deforestation of the Amazon. Why? For animal agriculture, we have the grazing of land around the earth, which degrades the soil, creates the desert. We have the bottom trawling of the oceans, which is kicking up more carbon dioxide than all the airplanes. So if we keep eating animals, even in the fantasy world that we no longer have gas powered vehicles and we no longer have airplanes, we have solar airplanes, we're still going to heat up the world with animal agriculture.

Glen Merzer:

Now let's go with the opposite fantasy we keep burning fossil fuels, but tomorrow the world goes vegan. Well, if that happens, then we don't need all that land for grazing, do we? We don't need any land for grazing, so we forest, rewild the grazing land that's 37% of the non-ice land surface of the earth. We free up the 6% of the land that's used to grow feed for animals and we no longer have to transport that feed to animals and we no longer have to refrigerate those animal meat products. In the vegan fantasy, we have new forests and new vegetation all around the world. And what does that do? It sequesters carbon dioxide. And we protect the oceans because we end industrial fishing. When we protect the oceans, the life comes back into the sea. The phytoplankton populations become more robust. That draws down carbon dioxide. So, in other words, the only possible solution and this is so obvious the only possible solution is to start drawing down the carbon dioxide.

Glen Merzer:

You can't solve this problem otherwise. Let me give you an analogy. Let's say you have a bathtub, you let in the bath and you get a flood and you realize oh my God, I have a problem here. The drain is clogged and the water isn't draining out. And then you realize oh, I have another problem. I can't turn off the faucet. It's letting five gallons per minute into the bathtub. So you have two problems you got a stuck faucet, you can't turn it off, and you got a plugged drain. Nothing's going out.

Glen Merzer:

You call a plumber and he says all right, here's what I can do for it. I could lower that faucet. So you just have two gallons per minute coming in. And you say well, what about the drain? He says oh, I can't do anything about the drain. Well, you still got a flood, don't you? Even if you have two gallons per minute coming in and nothing's going out, you have to unclog the drain. How do you unclog the drain? Trees they draw down carbon dioxide, protecting the oceans, drawing down carbon dioxide, absorbing carbon dioxide. So we have to work on both the drain and the faucet. We have to slow down the burning of fossil fuels, but we have to let the carbon dioxide get sequestered and there's no way to solve the problem unless you solve the drain. We need at least a trillion more trees on the earth's surface. We need to stop deforestation. There's no way to do that, unless we stop eating animals.

Vai Kumar:

It's interesting you mentioned industrialized fishing. There's so much contamination and plastic pollution in the ocean these days and fish are feeding on these correct, and everyone is unaware and eating it still.

Glen Merzer:

Yeah, people are. When they're eating fish, they're eating mercury, they're eating plastic, they're eating all the pollution, so it's a terribly unhealthy food. It isn't human food. There are many sources of ocean pollution, but by far the largest source is animal agriculture. We're destroying the reefs and we're destroying the phytoplankton populations and we're extracting all life from the seas. You would think that even if you wanted to eat the occasional fish, you would want a moratorium on fishing, because if you want to eat fish, it doesn't make sense to keep this kind of industrial fishing going, because in 30, 40, 50 years there'll be no more fish left, but a lot of people tend to think they need to feed their child eggs or fish or animal products for protein, right, Well, that's a myth.

Glen Merzer:

We have to defeat the myth. There are a lot of healthy, vegan children out there.

Vai Kumar:

Like you already pointed out, so many vegetables have protein content in them too. Then whole foods like grains, legumes, beans all have protein in them. I can relate to that, having been raised a vegetarian and growing up in a household of vegetarian food and cooking. I just hope that your books serve as an inspiration to many, because there's recipes there to follow right.

Glen Merzer:

Yes, there are recipes in almost all my books.

Vai Kumar:

I guess in food lies the answer to everything. What about how we protect the land to be able to eat healthy and in an age of grass-fed meat products, or anyone thinking? I have done my part as, due to COVID, I stayed indoors and everything seems to be thriving outside, lush green, so it's all back. So what do you say to all of that, and how best can we preserve planet Earth and eat healthy?

Glen Merzer:

Well, we have to not fall for the myth of grass-fed beef. Grass-fed beef is worse for the environment than the confined animal feeding operation, and the confined animal feeding operations are a nightmare, but grass-fed beef is even worse, and the reason is that the and keep in mind, by the way, that grass-fed beef is something like 1% of the beef that Americans eat, and the so-called regenerative beef is less than 1%. You know, it's just a small, small fraction of what people eat and it can't scale up because there isn't that much land. Where are we going to get the land? If we're all going to have five cows in our backyard, it will never be a significant percentage of the beef that people eat. And the reality is that the grass-fed cows have to live longer to fatten up to the weight that their overlords want them to be when they send them off to slaughter. So if they're going to live longer and they belch more methane on grass than they belch on grain, so they're creating more methane per day and they're living longer, so they're creating much more methane in their short lifespan. They're also using far, far, far more land. That's really the greatest environmental problem that comes from animal agriculture is how much land they use. So it's the grass-fed cows that are preventing us from reforesting the earth and they're also degrading the soil as they do it. Also, on the grass-fed operations, we have what's called pasture maintenance fires.

Glen Merzer:

There's an image on the front cover of my book here. This is a NASA satellite map and all the red are the pasture maintenance fires. On one day, nobody's measuring how much carbon dioxide goes into the atmosphere from these fires. What they do is they burn everything that the cows don't eat, all the vegetation, and that's how they graze animals. And we've been doing that for 10,000 years. And when they started doing it 10,000 years ago, this area the Sahara was a forest. So we created this desert with animal agriculture, and that's across all the way to the Gobi Desert in China. That's 6,000 miles of desert that was created by at least in part, by animal agriculture Chopping down trees, grazing animals, degrading the soil. It's what we're doing to the Amazon today. So in 50 years, look at a map of South America. You'll see a big patch of brown called the Amazonian Desert. That's what we're doing to the earth, and obviously it's not sustainable. It's the greatest crime on earth to destroy forests and biodiversity so that people can stupidly eat hamburgers and get heart attacks.

Vai Kumar:

Well, I hope everyone can derive inspiration and do the needful for the planet. What else is coming up, glenn, and anything else you'd like to share here All?

Glen Merzer:

right. Well, I have a website, glenmerzercom. People can contact me there. I have another website that I put up when Own your Health came out, which is ownyourhealthbookcom. I have a newsletter from either website. People can join. I try to do a monthly newsletter on health and I hope to have a new book out in the next year with the chef, Tracy Childs, and I hope to do something with this new PowerPoint that I have a convenient truth.

Vai Kumar:

Thank you so much, Glenn, for taking the time today to talk to us on the show, and such a pleasure having you on.

Glen Merzer:

Thank you Vai.

Vai Kumar:

And to listeners. Thanks so much for tuning in week after week. Follow me on Instagram at @vaipkumar and for the podcast at Fresh Leaf Forever for constant updates. I will see you back again next week with yet another guest and yet another interesting topic. Until then, it's Vai saying so long.