The movie moguls, the farmer, and the planet

In today’s news, brickbats swung at vegan movie moguls and a radio-show host presented a bouquet to a vegan farmer — Two stories from different media outlets presenting opposing views on the farmer vs future debate.

The Dominion Post’s Phil Quin took a swing at privilege in his opinion piece, Here’s my beef with the entitled and pampered fat cats. [1] Quin focused first on movie moguls, James Cameron and Peter Jackson, for daring to threaten the livelihood of New Zealand farmers by setting up a business hoping to one day produce plant-based meat. He made it clear that he doesn’t like the idea of anyone, and especially anyone with disposable income, imagination, and a healthy eating habit, messing with the meat-eating, milk-swigging, methane-producing status quo. 

On the same day, Radio New Zealand’s Jesse Mulligan interviewed a reformed beef and sheep farmer in his story The sheep farmer who turned vegan activist.[2] In this piece, James Wilson, a 40-year veteran of beef and sheep farming, tells how a health-scare led to him switch to a vegan lifestyle. And while it wasn’t concern for the planet that originally prompted his switch, Wilson now says, “I’m convinced one of the few things we can do as individuals to backtrack on CO2 emissions is to give up eating meat.” He reckons he’s halved his personal CO2 contribution and has a new lease of life at the same time.

Changing the way we do things to avoid a climate catastrophe [3] is not going to be easy. There will be tantrums. We will scream ‘privilege’ at some activists, and ‘lunatic’ at others. Some industries will decline and new ones will build up. We will all need to embrace change. Change will be very, very, hard. It will be like dragging a teenage planet to church for confession. But the alternative is unthinkable.

For my part, I’m flexitarian. It’s the best I can manage for now. We all have a part to play — movie moguls, farmers, and me.

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