Hayley Berliner: Clean up the meat industry

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

About a month ago, I participated in a protest outside of the corporate headquarters of Procter & Gamble calling on the company to stop its deforestation practices and to use more recycled content in its paper products.

We made it Christmas-themed, to fit the time of year, with reindeer pulling Santa on his sleigh and carolers belting out Christmas carols. It ended with Santa getting arrested and tons of news coverage.

I have since turned my focus to one of the leading causes of greenhouse gas emissions that doesn’t get quite enough press — meat production. Industrial meat production is the leading source of water pollution in this country and consumes 80% of agricultural land worldwide.

When I first heard this startling fact, I decided to become a vegetarian. Reading the recent article “Local and Green: Food as a climate solution,” by Darcy DuMont reminded me of the documentaries I watched that turned me into a vegetarian. Ms. DuMont lays out exactly how large of an impact the meat industry has on the climate. She addresses how individuals can eat plant-based diets to reduce their individual carbon emissions, but I want to stress that this is not nearly enough.

We need collective action to force giant corporations to produce their goods more sustainably. That’s why I’m now working with Mighty Earth to hold corporations responsible; specifically Cargill, the largest industrial meat producer in the world.

We need high profile grocery stores, like Stop & Shop, to take responsibility in cleaning up their supply chain, by cutting ties with Cargill until it takes concrete steps to end deforestation and pollution. To keep our forests standing, our water clean and our climate healthy for young people like me, we need to clean up the meat industry.

Hayley Berliner