Decisions, Decisions, Decisions.
Did you hear that Beyond Meat recently went public with a history-making IPO ($38B)? Or that Burger King rolled out a Whopper made with Impossible Meat? It looks like plant-based alternatives are slowly but surely making their way into the mainstream. That’s great news for investors (sales are predicted to grow 22% by 2023) but more importantly, it’s great news for the environment.
Why? Well we’ve all heard the stats: agriculture destroys forests and biodiversity, wastes water, and releases one-quarter of global greenhouse-gas emissions. And red meat production has more impact on climate than any other food. In fact, if the world’s cattle formed their own country, it would trail only the U.S. and China in carbon emissions. Trying to understand the complexity and impact of the food system—and our part in it—is overwhelming.
When we talk about food, it becomes very personal very quickly.
I was raised a happy carnivore in a Chinese household, and have switched seamlessly between all-veggie delights, hangry “I need a Whopper” moments, and out-of-the-blue ice cream cravings for years. But in January, I challenged myself to go for a month without eating meat. People like me have plenty of options for getting protein, and cutting back on meat consumption is an obvious way to make a difference in climate change.
But of course, that explanation covers only half the truth. And at the Chamber of Beautiful Business in New York last week I came face-to-face with the other half: the tendency humans have to make up stories that validate their actions. In this case, it wasn’t just the facts about the climate crisis that prompted my decision. Does knowing the stats really make any of us care enough to change?
As Sophie Kleber put it:
“We humans have difficulty in thinking large and beyond ourselves and our kids. We can’t really grasp the size of the globe and how every single contribution adds up to an all-encompassing impact.”
What really motivated me to continue meat-free when the month was up was simple: It helped me feel good about myself. It was a way to show I care about the planet, despite my everyday inconsistencies. (I know single-use coffee cups are the worst, for instance, and I still don’t bring my KeepCup from home.) I liked proving to myself and others that I could stick with it. I like being acknowledged for “walking my talk,” and feeling appreciated and validated for my decision. And that makes me wonder: Will we ever learn to think and act together on big issues that really matter because they matter? Or will we always need some emotional feel-good kick-back to keep us motivated?
Let us know how you go about decision-making, and what motivates you to change something and stick with it.
Monika and the House of Beautiful Business team
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