Bill Gates: How the world can avoid a climate disaster

“Without innovation, we will not solve climate change. We won’t even come close,” Gates says. Anderson Cooper reports for 60 Minutes.

  • 2021Feb 15

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/bill-gates-climate-change-disaster-60-minutes-2021-02-14/

  • CORRESPONDENTAnderson Cooper
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Bill Gates helped usher in the digital revolution at Microsoft, and has spent the decades since exploring – and investing in – innovative solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems – global poverty, disease, and the coronavirus pandemic, which he’s spent nearly $2 billion on. 

Now he is focusing on climate change, agreeing with the overwhelming majority of scientists who warn of a looming climate disaster. The good news is Gates believes it’s possible to prevent a catastrophic rise in temperatures. The bad news? He says in the next 30 years we need scientific breakthroughs, technological innovations and global cooperation on a scale the world has never seen.

Anderson Cooper: You believe this is the toughest challenge humanity has ever faced?

Bill Gates: Absolutely. The amount of change, new ideas.  It’s way greater than the pandemic. And it needs a level of cooperation that would be unprecedented. 

Anderson Cooper: That doesn’t sound feasible–

Bill Gates: No, it’s not easy. But hey, we have 30 years–

Anderson Cooper: It sounds impossible.

Bill Gates: We have more educated people than ever. We have a generation that’s speaking out on this topic. And, you know, I got to participate in the miracle of the personal computer and the internet. And so, yes, I have a bias to believe innovation can do these things. 

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  Bill Gates

He is talking about innovations in every aspect of modern life – manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, because nearly everything we now do releases earth warming greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. He took us to his favorite burger joint in Seattle to explain. 

Anderson Cooper: You’re talking about changing everything in the economy, I mean, every aspect of it–

Bill Gates: In the phy– yeah, the physical–

Anderson Cooper: So–

Bill Gates: –economy–

Anderson Cooper: Of what we can see right now, of us sitting around here, what specifically would be impacted?

Bill Gates: Well, this cement would be made in a different way. The steel in the building would be different. You know, the meat in the burgers a big deal. These– you know, all this plastic and paper–potatoes.

Anderson Cooper: With potatoes you’re talking about fertilizer, the irrigation system that’s used.

Bill Gates: All the tractors, the transport.

Anderson Cooper: The trucks that bring them to this restaurant, all that has to change?

Bill Gates: Hey, when you’re going to zero, you don’t get to skip anything. 

Gates says going to zero means eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions. Or else…

Anderson Cooper: If they wait 100 years to do this…

Bill Gates: It’s way too late. Then the natural ecosystems will have failed. The instability, you know, the migration. You know, those things will– will get really, really bad well before the end of the century.

Anderson Cooper: When you talk about migration, you’re talking about hundreds of thousands of people trying to move from North Africa to Europe every year?

Bill Gates:  Exactly. The Syrian War was a 20th of what climate migration will look like. So, the deaths per year are way, ten times greater than– than what we’ve experienced in the pandemic. 

In a new book “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.” Gates outlines all the solutions he believes we need.  

He says the U.S. has to lead the world getting to zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. He supports President Biden’s decision to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, but is asking the administration to massively increase the budget for climate and clean energy research to $35 billion a year. 

Anderson Cooper: You’ve said that governments need to do the hard stuff, but not just go after the low-hanging fruit. What– what’s low-hanging fruit?

Bill Gates: Passenger cars, part of the electric generation with renewables. The things everybody knows about, that’s getting almost all the money, not the hard parts, which is the industrial piece including the steel and cement. Those pieces we’ve hardly started to work on.

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No one thinks much about cement and steel, but making it accounts for 16% of all carbon dioxide emissions. And the demand is only growing. The world will add an estimated two and a half trillion square feet of buildings by 2060 — that’s the equivalent of putting up another New York City every month for the next 40 years. 

So one innovative company Gates has been pouring money into is CarbonCure. They inject captured carbon dioxide into concrete. 

Bill Gates: What they do is they stick CO2 in here in the cement, and they mix them up. And so, you’re able to actually get rid of some CO2 by sticking it in the cement. Right now they get rid of about 5%. But they have a next generation that can get to 30%. 

Anderson Cooper: The carbon has been just injected into this so it’s captured it. So, it’s not gonna be released into the atmosphere.

Bill Gates: That’s right. 

Gates has already invested $2 billion of his own money on new green technologies, and plans to spend several billion more.

In 2016 he also recruited Jeff Bezos, Mike Bloomberg and nearly two dozen other wealthy investors to back a billion-dollar fund called “breakthrough energy ventures,” making long-term, often risky investments in promising technologies. 

Gates regularly consults with the fund’s team of top scientists and entrepreneurs who’ve so far invested in 50 companies with cutting edge ideas to reduce carbon emissions.

Anderson Cooper: What’s like, the most far-flung idea you’ve backed?

Bill Gates: There’s one that’s so crazy it’s even hard to describe.

Anderson Cooper: Wait a minute, it’s so crazy it’s hard to describe?

Bill Gates: Even f– yeah.

Anderson Cooper: How do you pitch that–

Bill Gates: And–

Anderson Cooper: -to investors?

Bill Gates: Well, they find geological formations, and they just pump water down into them. The energy they’ve used to pump it in, then they can draw that energy back out. So it’s– it’s a water pressure storage thing, which, you know, when I first saw it I thought, “That can’t work.” But–

Anderson Cooper: But you gave money to it?

Bill Gates: Yeah, lots of money.

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Gates and correspondent Anderson Cooper

Because cows account for around 4% of all greenhouse gases, Gates has invested in two companies making plant based meat substitutes, impossible foods and beyond meat. But farming the vegetables used to make many meat alternatives emits gases as well, so Gates is also backing a company that’s created an entirely new food source.

Bill Gates: This company, Nature’s Fynd, is using fungis.  And then they turn them into sausage and yogurt. Pretty amazing.

Anderson Cooper: When you say fungi, do you mean like mushroom or a microbe?

Bill Gates: It’s a microbe.

The microbe was discovered in the ground in a geyser in Yellowstone National Park. Without soil or fertilizer it can be grown to produce this nutritional protein — that can then be turned into a variety of foods with a small carbon footprint.

Bill Gates: This is the yogurt.

Anderson Cooper: Oh this is good.

Bill Gates: Wow. 

Anderson Cooper: I’ve had, like, cashew yogurt or oat yogurt. It’s– it’s sort of along those lines. 

Bill Gates: Yeah, with the burgers, they’re, you know, like Beyond and Impossible, they’re getting close to the real thing, but you can still tell. These I’m not sure I could’ve tell– now I’m– I’m more of a burger expert than I am then a yogurt expert. https://www.cbsnews.com/embed/video/?v=cd16948338056448c73f6c96829e5bca#vVZZb9w2EP4rgh4Lc0WJ1LVvdhykR%2BoacVwUtYoFRY52WeuqKK3XDfzfO5S0h3MgPdLANkyRcx%2FfzDtXDH3TluLRXRaiNHDmbrWCxl2%2Bc3UPlXGXd%2B%2Fc%2FrEFd%2BluG%2BWeuVrhMY0iGXJFSS6YTzhISlKVRiRRjEIQFGkY%2Bkhbtbs3UHxnObi6%2BeX2%2B9XVatX9yf643Ly4%2FZUNunrd5a9%2BvryOXiK1KYc1Uua6LMla9GCIUFstgTQ12TQPpG%2BIbKpc9KTSpu8G0xNdEyM11BKQv9d9ae18ZXmdpnb2ZI6unSOZgnskwkMxlOWe5wKVOiNjNgTUT51JtZWCqp2%2BcSbVn5ApRd3UWory7ZeR1%2BsKTC%2Bq1l36kc8YZyFnlFK0fuhEr5vaXTL%2F5PO1yKFEvTRc%2BhQFlNN3jS5iyiqxBmNzamwqNn3fmmXmZZ7MTQ0Phi3wgHagJLlAuzJvM%2BSZpzOvy7yABn7m0SDzfI5%2FAcc8RxEJeMwIl1FCklT5pIh4pAIIk4QjZb8ZqrwWusy8iNMdi2jmgYxC7hcqEnHOQgU0pFxAEQgRU8n8JPOantjcj6kXZU9QZEAjMktY%2FN6u0bHNRz3w%2F0cP%2FCChuzhAF%2FKIRjRPOPfjGJJC8sBnEAapCIuAQVT8LReezty2g62Gh9uufOaLaUsskYWoyvVCN5knWrR%2Fi8aMLZl5n2uhzJsFZ5576OMT%2BW3XqAU28fiymCM3RWv%2BQFUYr01pPghaEtE0Zn7A0oTapKJbbDUSVsL00C0qNiR7rcFXV1s0XSV6VCtaG8SxJTJvR6oW1rdvXiPF8F6wHx4entsyB%2Fnfoc8YcW2%2Bq9rGmnUAU8RWLUcwnTAQFFWJIHGYKOL7ECBq%2BgGh1E8KSASlOT3iYERRUz1YS5otdBYSbP1r6EQnNwjYd0jizCT4cvxwDvS%2FYbGJDur%2BrTXkSlQwCnZ%2BPHAd5F08Ts93z9%2BPH85PB6lYw9Bq0yikDwK0GISxkBQye15XqBAf8Dy0WJLGHOIhyvJcSry5KBt5f7jW5tZAdzPkRnY6B3V4MG1Tm6bbA9kGdueXUIihtLmmZ%2FjjjrcXx1uWnvHwLEwtinZC3ut6bROAuTOy6WA8Y4EimoY0iRC6OTK9uLi5mivBonmEV99YlfhRm5XpV2sbOFss041oVwL9da8y79x9erIDoLU1Z%2F4ZvO65Pt%2FbC6Hy1a6yBlXD7rprWszF4w%2BAZeAikIESYcT8WPkhT3mKDcMEi9wnzH8FvRihH6PRw%2FrRnvFu06ipXaBWowdjhR5r7mN1aEM6rQJ2YyjRpZOp%2B6xqELrw6tBUuw32dwclGqCwjQ8CMy9k2PPY7fhrkfE0Y9q8rEVe2mrAdrPFg9UnSzgf0PjOLhV3bih4zOM8IixPmO0ohitIWBDKYxXnfpinwdgEz1j3dS5qBR3WLY5iG84TunFjYblKC845yZO4IDxBHE85lUTRkEVFBABh6B5Yrof8Et2z6UAIIzQgfuhQurQDOTqS7fcDCzPOCDPLaSHYgPPQdKVycJVwxLbRyhGOLHF09%2BAobUa4c4jzrOX3QqekyKbusfNW8%2B246lgEm58VmHvEoxGoLmFrLXUtPKz3BLZWV3brs7nH%2F99qi2SfRhlLX4l7jKENneW4ATntJqfgdUI2Uc3qEBhsd%2Bsteg65O4PlGPq44EEYxzlhYQBzWiUkz9M6MxxB7SN2Ie4jsMwK7Y5mVyNdaQQKfgjfTTN0cgxgPjEjUd5hdVxjwdrJMto0N%2FPKerA6xtJ%2BzibMFNYwEKUeKlvFOP0KXZ48WwYkgdpmwM5G9%2Blkf3x%2FJ%2FhgTE3z8mRKzTVC5EbUayD7UiEnGThUJB%2FnVAVKi%2BsGDcFczbGBysLuVA5fwwarZw7bF5E3As1nDf%2BvM%2F7p6S8%3D

Gates never planned to focus on climate change, but while working in Africa with the foundation he started with his wife, Melinda, in 2000, he came to see just how vulnerable those in developing countries are to the effects of rising temperatures. 

So 15 years ago Gates started educating himself on climate change, bringing scientists and engineers to his office in Seattle for what he calls “learning sessions.” He also reads voraciously, books and binders full of scientific research.

Bill Gates: Yeah, so this is the most recent one, which is about clean hydrogen.

Anderson Cooper: So you’re reading thousands of pages every few days on topics?

Bill Gates: Yeah. My reading is, is key. and then asking questions when it doesn’t make sense.  

Gates isn’t just looking to cut future carbon emissions, he is also investing in direct air capture, an experimental process to remove existing CO2 from the atmosphere. Some companies are  now using these giant fans to capture CO2 directly out of the air, Gates has become one of the world’s largest funders of this kind of technology. 

But of all his green investments, Gates has spent the most time and money pursuing a breakthrough in nuclear energy — arguing it’s key to a zero carbon future.

He says he’s a big believer in wind and solar and thinks it can one day provide up to 80% of the country’s electricity, but Gates insists unless we discover an effective way to store and ship wind and solar energy, nuclear power will likely have to do the rest. Energy from nuclear plants can be stored so it’s available when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. 

Anderson Cooper: Were you always a big proponent of nuclear

In 2008 he founded TerraPower, a company that has re-designed a nuclear reactor.

Anderson Cooper: This is your prototype?

Bill Gates: Exactly. TerraPower’s Natrium Reactor. This is a rendering, we haven’t built it yet. But here’s the nuclear island right here.

Anderson Cooper: This is the reactor?

Bill Gates: Exactly. 

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Lindsey Boles, Gates and Anderson Cooper with TerraPower’s Natrium Reactor

Gates says TerraPower’s reactor is less expensive to build, produces less waste and is fully automated, reducing the potential for human error. Gates and director of engineering Lindsey Boles showed us what they say is another key to its safety. 

Anderson Cooper: What is it that we’re looking at here?

Lindsey Boles: So these individual fuel pins are actually where the uranium fuel is. And that’s what generates all the heat in our natrium reactor.

Anderson Cooper: This is what everybody is worried about?

Lindsey Boles: Yes, exactly. 

Bill Gates: In a normal reactor, it’s water that’s flowing past and heating up. And it’ll boil and– and generate a lot of high pressure. 

That high heat and pressure can cause an explosion, like in Chernobyl in 1986 when radioactive material was spread for thousands of miles. 

But Gates says the TerraPower reactor won’t use water to cool down the fuel rods — they plan to use liquid sodium. 

Bill Gates: The liquid sodium can absorb a lot more heat. And so we– we don’t have any high pressure inside the reactor.

In October, the Department of Energy awarded TerraPower $80 million to build one of the first advanced nuclear reactors in the U.S. 

Bill Gates: Nuclear power can be done in a way that none of those failures of the past would recur, because just the physics of how it’s built. I admit, convincing people of that will be almost as hard as actually building it. But since it may be necessary to avoid climate change, we shouldn’t give up.

Anderson Cooper: You’ve been criticized for being a technocrat, saying technology is the only solution for– for tackling climate change. There are other people that say, “Look, the solutions are already there. It’s just government policy is what really needs to be focused on.

Bill Gates: I wish that was true. I wish all this funding of these companies wasn’t necessary at all. Without innovation, we will not solve climate change. We won’t even come close.https://www.cbsnews.com/embed/video/?v=cd16948338056448c73f6c96829e5bca#vVZtb9s2EP4rgj4OoUVJ1Ju%2FJc3QtWuztGlXYNFgUOLJ5qK3iZLtLMh%2F350sv6RrkQ7YihgISR3v9bnn%2BGDLoW%2FaUt7b80KWBs7stVbQ2PMHW%2FdQGXt%2B%2B2D39y3Yc3vdKPvM1gqXMgwTBUIyUFnCBLgRy9yQM08mUeB6IUhPoGzVbt9D8Ypu6Ozty82n7vXL7l25%2Bm0hmtXVu8tfPyV%2FfvJeqxd%2FvUZpUw5L0s0qXQ89sI3uVyzTZcmWsgeDEr3uS%2FLk3NqJWCRiXaCI9XISUXCHArgohrL8Bvlc1k2tc1l%2BeF621xWYXlatPXdD1xfcjUOfc45Wh072uqnteXyyeyMzKFEld%2Bcex%2Fvlbl%2BjZ5jHSi5RKybaUH5Wfd%2BaeeqkTp6ZGjbGn%2BFCo7le57O8qVJnNWSpo1OnSx2Pe27qcC913CB1gsRzQWA1fBkJJhI3ZjIOJEtUHIYqE57nx6nTr4Yqq6UuUycUfOuHPHWywk%2B8yE1EFvOA5z4UCn30c%2BW5BSSJTJ0x9Z1stSp0BywUYeAGbFIw%2B6NdYlyrLwbg%2Fo8BuF7Mt5GHEcQQBplE%2Fz3lB3HB48DlccT9DCKuRFR8SwSPZ3bbwVrD5mNXPgnFtKXOYSarcjnTTeqgltRZo9djl2Awz6A6dSbFqWMfWutEf9s1aoZ9NX6ZTYnbJWvaoClM16o0n%2BcMsef63MN4w0BQSTEsdzEKVtL00M0qf4j3Vr3vbrZoukr21M8tJXFsiNTZsqqF5cf3b1Bi%2BCzZm83mqS9Tkr9GCGNOtXlVtQ0ZPjAYEprORwYjXAoFiqtYsiiIFXNd8BBWrsc4dm8BseQ840fyQQ7bGTOsWUNHHU8A19DJLl8hS96iyMQQRAnHjXWQ%2Fx3hJDuo%2Bw%2FkyJWsYFRsvT3cOui7uN99vn36%2FbixfjloRZRCq02jUN7z0GOQhhgn8Gm9rNAgfsD10CLojDnkQ5bleZ7jyUXZ5HeHY20%2BGuhuhszknc5AHT6YtqlN0%2B2JagXb80so5FBSNfkZ%2Ftnj6cXx1E%2FORHAWJESSnczvdL2kAmAVTd50MK4RgkiWAY9DZF2Bl15c3FxNtSYiDvHoBzKJm9osTL9YUuIIDrsT2S4kxmtfpc65%2FfhI3N0Sqsy%2Fo8%2F9ree7dyZVtthW5FA1bK%2B7psVa3P8MCAPbExEoGYS%2BGyk3EAmSluf70g%2FtR6x%2FBb0cqR2z0cPyntZ4tmrUriGgVmMEI0KPmPsSDimlu%2FlLY7rEkE4G4RPUIDnh0aFttivs4A5KdEBhox4UIt362NXYz%2Fgj7jutmDY%2F1jIrCQ19NxB4EH15CecDOt%2FRJL%2B1AykiEWUh87PYp47yWayCgnERqShzgyzxxiZ4cnWPc1kr6BC3Vt5QOk%2FkxmeCn6mkEEKwLI4KJmIeskTwnCke%2BGERAkAQ2Icr10N2ieFROZCkGPeYG1icz3mAA%2Footh%2FtRB3WSB1za9VsrH6FU77pSmXhK8CS60YrS1p5iaMZ57%2FSZiQ0i1lPWn6vdFeUvKl77LzFdDq%2BQNY4M6bPCswd8tFIVJewJk9tooflXoCwuqCnFtUe%2F%2F%2Bkicm%2BzjIkX8k7zCGljm7cQL57epyS14nYTmoyh8RA3a3XGDlk9kSWY%2BqjQnhBFGXMDzyYyppD%2FLSs04UjqX3BL2R2JJbJID2v6OmjK41EIQ7pu2mGLh8TmO0uo1DWITquEbA0O0afpmZeUASLYy5pO7kwSZBjIEs9VIRinG%2BFLk8%2B0wUUgZoqQNPPfjx5%2Bn0%2B9f8xiHYT8Th52IQRlq9kvQS2hwo7qcABkWKcUxUoLa8bdARrNeUGKqLdHRy%2Bhw9kZ0rbf6JvJJpnHX9%2Bij8%2B%2Fg0%3D

Gates credits young activists for keeping climate change in the headlines. But he knows some consider him an imperfect ally. 

Anderson Cooper: Are you the right messenger on this? Because you fly private planes a lot. And you’re creating a lot of greenhouse gases yourself.

Bill Gates: Yeah.  I probably have one of the highest greenhouse gas footprints of anyone on the planet. You know, my– my–

Anderson Cooper: It’s kind of ironic.

Bill Gates: –personal flying alone is gigantic. Now, I’m spending quite a bit to buy aviation fuel that was made with plants. You know, I switched to an electric car. I use solar panels. I’m paying a company that actually at a very high price, can pull a bit of carbon out of the air and stick it underground. And so I’m offsetting my personal emissions.

Anderson Cooper: Those are called carbon offsets?

Bill Gates: Right. So you know, it’s costing like $400 a ton. It’s like $7 million. 

Anderson Cooper: So you’re paying $7 million a year to offset your carbon footprint?

Bill Gates: Yup.

He’s encouraging others who can afford it to buy carbon offsets and green products so that what he calls “the green premium,” the added production cost for reducing carbon emissions, will go down and quality of products up — driving the innovations that may get us to zero.

Anderson Cooper: It just seems overwhelming if every aspect of our daily life has to–

Bill Gates: It–

Anderson Cooper: –change.

Bill Gates: It can seem overwhelming.

Anderson Cooper: But you are optimistic?

Bill Gates:  Yeah.  There are days when it looks very hard.  If people think it’s easy, they’re wrong. If people think it’s impossible they’re wrong.

Anderson Cooper: It’s possible.

Bill Gates: It’s possible. But it’ll be the most amazing thing mankind has ever done.

Anderson Cooper: That’s what it has to be?

Bill Gates: Yeah. It’s an all-out effort, you know, like a world war, but it’s us against greenhouse gases.

David Attenborough: ‘Eating Free-Range Meat Is Middle-Class Hypocrisy’

The veteran broadcaster made the comments ahead of the launch of his new film David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet
'I'm affluent enough to afford free-range, but it's a middle-class hypocrisy'

‘I’m affluent enough to afford free-range, but it’s a middle-class hypocrisy’

David Attenborough says eating free-range meat is a ‘middle-class hypocrisy’ – and that he is ‘troubled’ when he eats fish and chicken.

The veteran broadcaster made the comments during an interview with the Radio Times magazine ahead of the launch of his new film David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet.

‘Middle-class hypocrisy’

Sir David said he ‘couldn’t remember’ when he’d last eaten meat, and that it was ‘years ago’.

But he then revealed: ” I eat fish, and chicken, and my conscience does trouble me.

“I’m affluent enough to afford free-range, but it’s a middle-class hypocrisy.”

David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet

David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet premieres on September 28. It will launch on Netflix in October.

The film covers the period of his life, outlining the defining moments, and highlighting how the environment has been damaged during that time.

Announcing the launch of the film, Sir David warned: “Humanity is at a crossroads and I think the natural world is really under serious, serious threat.”

Can Mushrooms Provide a Vegan, Green Alternative to Animal Leather?

BUSINESS

Project goal: To create an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to leather, in this case using fungi.

 

Project partner: Indonesian startup Mycotech is supported through universities, research institutions and the DBS Foundation. In 2019/2020, the company also received from funding from the SEED Initiative (Supporting Entrepreneurs for Environment and Development) and the German Environment Ministry’s International Climate Initiative.

Project budget: Mycotech has received $500,000 in funding since 2017.

Humankind has been using animal skin to produce leather for thousands of years. It’s a textile with a long tradition, but critics say making it causes animal suffering, consumes a lot of water and pollutes the environment with chemicals and CO2.

According to the company founded in 2012, the material is breathable, robust and grows using agricultural waste such as sawdust. The waste is mixed with fungi spores, which form mycelium — a fine branching mass of threadlike structures. After a few days, it can be harvested from the waste blocks, tanned and further processed.

Scientists around the world are researching mycelium properties, believing it could provide the basis for new materials. Some fashion businesses are already using “mushroom leather” to make products like shoes and bags.

 

A film by Nicole Ris und A.B. Rodhial Falah.

Reposted with permission from DW.

David Attenborough Urges Public To Ditch Meat And Encourages Plant-Based Diet In New Film

The 94-year-old broadcaster said: ‘We must change our diet. The planet can’t support billions of meat-eaters’
The 'natural world is fading' (Photo edited by PBN)

The ‘natural world is fading’ (Photo edited by PBN)

Veteran presenter Sir David Attenborough has urged the public to ditch meat and work towards a plant-based diet in his new documentary A Life On Our Planet.

The film, which premieres in U.K cinemas for one night only on September 28, looks at the environmental changes that have happened on Earth over Sir David’s lifetime and offers some solutions to the climate crisis.

‘We must change our diet’

According to the Mirror, the historian said: “We must change our diet. The planet can’t support billions of meat-eaters.

“If we had a mostly plant-based diet we could increase the yield of the land. We have an urgent need for free land… Nature is our biggest ally.”

Sir David also warned that the ‘natural world is fading’ and predicts the loss of biodiversity, which he describes as the true tragedy of our times – is ‘still unfolding’.

‘A Life On Our Planet’

“I am David Attenborough, and I am 93. I’ve had the most extraordinary life. It is only now that I appreciate how extraordinary,” Sir David says in the film’s trailer.

“Our planet is headed for disaster. We need to learn how to work with nature rather than against it and I’m going to tell you how.”

A vegan response to the coronavirus pandemic

By Jeffrey Spitz Cohan

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania — COVID-19 has been a miserable, even tragic, experience.

Another killer pandemic? It’s certainly not something we want to experience again anytime soon, or ever.

I know San Diego, where I grew up, has suffered greatly at the hands, or spikes, of the coronavirus.

But here’s the good news. If we’re serious about greatly reducing the chances of a second, quite possibly worse, pandemic, the solution is simple and comes with wonderful side effects.

A transition to plant-based diets on the individual level, and away from animal agriculture on the societal level, will not only help prevent another pandemic – it will improve your health, spare animals from suffering, reduce environmental degradation, and even lessen world hunger.

A little history is in order.

Throughout most of human history, there were no epidemic diseases.

“No one got the flu, not even the common cold, until about 10,000 years ago,” said Dr. Michael Greger, author of Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching.

What happened 10,000 years ago? We began domesticating animals.

“When we brought domesticated animals to the barnyard, they brought their diseases with them,” Greger said.

Measles, for instance, has killed 200 million people over the course of history. It entered into the human population from cattle, in the form of the rinderpest virus.

The flu, which takes the form of many viruses, originally came from domesticated ducks.

Even the common cold came from horses.

In the mid-20th century, scientists developed vaccines to slow and even stop the spread of some of the worst infectious diseases. Measles. Polio. Smallpox.

But in the last 35 years or so, humanity has been visited by an unprecedented variety of frightening virus outbreaks.

AIDS. Ebola. Mad cow disease. SARS. MERS. The swine flu. And now COVID-19.

In addition to their lethality, these viral outbreaks have something else in common. All of these diseases are zoonotic, meaning they spilled over from animals into the human population.

In fact, all of them have come about because of the confinement, slaughter and consumption of animals. Yes, even AIDS.

HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, made the jump from animals to people when someone slaughtered a chimpanzee for meat. The chimpanzee was carrying the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV).

Fortunately, we have the power to greatly reduce our chances of creating another pandemic.

“To prevent future outbreaks like COVID-19 or worse, we have to treat planetary, animal and human health as inseparable,” Viveca Morris, executive director of the Law, Ethics & Animals Program at Yale Law School, wrote recently in The Los Angeles Times. “This will require … changes to business as usual.

“To date, we’ve operated under the fallacies that medicine and ecology can be understood independently and that the conditions that impact the animal kingdom are separate from those that impact humans.”

Preventing future outbreaks will require some dietary modifications. Positive ones. Eating plants, not animals.

In the words of University of Oxford zoologist Cynthia Schuck, “Our purchasing and dietary choices can build a safer future for generations to come.”

Jeffrey Spitz Cohan is the executive director of Jewish Veg, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring and helping Jews to adopt plant-based diets. He grew up in El Cajon and became a Bar Mitzvah at Temple Beth Israel. For more information on the connection between pandemics and meat-eating, and for free resources on transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, visit JewishVeg.org/pandemic

Will Austin Fight COVID-19 by Going Vegan?

PETA Sends Mayor a Box of Vegan Chocolates, Asks for Help Encouraging Residents to Choose Healthy, Humane Meat-Free Meals

For Immediate Release:
July 23, 2020

Contact:
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Austin, Texas – As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Austin, PETA sent a letter this morning asking the city’s mayor, Steve Adler, to encourage all residents to help prevent future pandemics, safeguard their own health, and save animals’ lives by going vegan.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—is also sending the mayor a box of delicious vegan chocolates shaped like chickens, frogs, and bats, noting that these “animals” can be eaten without risking another pandemic. COVID-19 apparently originated in a Chinese “wet market,” in which animals are sold for human consumption. Austin is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America, and most residents would never dream of eating the city’s 1.5 million bats—so PETA is encouraging them to extend that compassion to all other animals, including chickens and cows.

“The next SARS, swine flu, bird flu, or COVID-19 outbreak will be just around the corner as long as people keep eating animals,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA stands ready with free vegan starter kits and mentors to help everyone boost their immune system and help prevent future pandemics by eating delicious, humane vegan meals.”

PETA notes that going vegan has never been easier. Several popular Austin eateries, such as Counter CultureThe Beer Plant, and Citizen Eatery, serve tasty plant-based fare. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Adler follows.

July 23, 2020

The Honorable Steve Adler
Mayor of Austin

Dear Mayor Adler,

Greetings from PETA. As cases of COVID-19 continue to spike in Austin, putting public health at risk, I’m writing with a lifesaving suggestion: Encourage all residents to eat vegan. PETA stands ready to help them make the switch by offering resources such as our free vegan starter kits and our free vegan mentor services. We’ll also be sending you a box of dairy-free chocolates in the shapes of chickens, frogs, and bats—the only kind of “animals” that can be eaten compassionately and safely.

COVID-19, swine flu, avian flu, mad cow disease, SARS, Ebola, and AIDS are all linked to the production or consumption of meat, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that approximately 75% of recently emerged infectious diseases affecting humans originated in other animals. As long as animals are bred, confined in their own filth, and slaughtered, it’s not a matter of if another pandemic will occur but when.

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other wholesome vegan foods are cholesterol-free, generally low in saturated fat, and high in fiber and other nutrients, and they can even prevent—and in some cases, reverse—life-threatening diseases as well as boost immunity. In fact, Corinne Bush, science director of the American Nutrition Association and a representative of the Personalized Nutrition & COVID-19 Task Force, advises people to eat plenty of produce in order to boost their immune system and ward off COVID-19 and other health problems. Dr. Mehmet Oz agrees, pointing out that fruits and vegetables “enhance your immune response,” and he shared antioxidant-rich smoothie recipes on TODAY.

We’re ready to help Austin residents turn over a healthy new vegan leaf, so please let us know how we can be of assistance. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Peta India demands closure of illegal wet markets in country, cites Covid-19 pandemic

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India released video footage of live-animal markets (wet markets) across the country operating illegally.

Peta India has written a letter to the Union health minister, environment minister and other concerned ministries, urging the closure of wet markets across country. (Photo: PTI/Representational image)

Animal rights organisation Peta India has demanded immediate closure of illegal wet markets to prevent another pandemic. Peta’s warning comes in the backdrop of global Covid-19 pandemic.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India released video footage of live-animal markets (wet markets) across the country operating illegally. The organisation has demanded the closure of all illegal wet markets — marketplaces that sell perishable goods including meat, fish and other produce — in Delhi, West Bengal and Manipur.

The organisation also highlighted the fact that activities like dog slaughter, wildlife meat trade are in violation of Wildlife Protection Act 1972, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 2960 and the Food Safety And Standards Act, 2006.

Also Read | Hundreds of scientists say coronavirus is airborne, ask WHO to revise recommendations

Peta India highlighted how the Covid-19 pandemic was believed to have first infected humans at a wet market in China, and said, “Covid-19 is widely believed to have first infected humans at wet markets in China through wildlife, though one theory links the disease to factory-farmed pigs.”

“Peta India is calling on authorities to close down all such live-animal meat and wildlife markets.’’

The video footage shows unhygienic Ghazipur ‘Murga Mandi’ of Delhi, bags of live crabs and eels at a fish market in Malancha, West Bengal, captured and dead dogs at the Keera Bazaar in Dimapur, Nagaland.

Illegal wildlife trade

Peta India also alleged that in Manipur, sellers at the Nute Bazar trade charred remains of wild animals including monkeys, wild boars, porcupines, and deer. Meanwhile, at Churachandpur market, meat from various wild animals are sold openly in violation of laws.

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“The next deadly virus will be just around the corner as long as these filthy wet markets are permitted to operate,” said PETA India Vegan Outreach Coordinator Dr Kiran Ahuja.

SARS and various deadly bird flu, including H5N1, which has a 60 per cent mortality rate in humans, have been linked to Chinese live-animal meat markets as well.

Other diseases like MERS, swine flu and even HIV and Ebola have also been traced back to animals, said Peta India.

Peta India has also written a letter to the Union health minister, environment minister and other concerned ministries, urging the closure of wet markets across the country.

ALSO READ | 70% of Indian startups reeling under pandemic aftermath, reveals FICCI’s nationwide survey

WATCH | Special report: India struggles to get ventilators

IndiaToday.in has plenty of useful resources that can help you better understand the coronavirus pandemic and protect yourself. Read our comprehensive guide (with information on how the virus spreads, precautions and symptoms), watch an expert debunk myths, and access our dedicated coronavirus page.

161 ways to prevent another pandemic: Cambridge University academics say going vegan,

 banning trade of exotic animals and clamping down on crowded farms will stop the world being hit by more killer diseases

  • University of Cambridge study said shutting down wet markets was not enough 
  • Highlighted seven ways pandemic could jump from animals to humans in future
  • Gave 160 ways to mitigate future crises, from going vegan to limiting livestock

Going vegan, banning the trade of exotic animals and clamping down on crowded farms could prevent the world from being ravaged by another pandemic, leading scientists warned today.

A 25-strong team of wildlife and veterinary experts have identified seven routes by which pandemics could occur moving forward — and 161 ways to reduce the risk of another infectious disease striking every corner of the planet.

The team — led by Cambridge University experts — said humans must drastically change the way they interact with animals or it is ‘only a matter of time’ before another pandemic rocks the world.

The group say wildlife farming, the transport, trade and consumption of meat, the exotic pet industry and increased human encroachment on wildlife habitats, are among the ways new diseases could spread in humans.They propose clamping down on the amount of animals people can farm, keeping livestock away from domestic pets and even going vegan to reduce the risk.

Eating a more plant-based diet would bring down the global demand for animal meat and lead to less animals being farmed and transported in cramped conditions, where disease can easily jump between species, the researchers claim.

Lead researcher Professor William Sutherland, a zoologist at the University of Cambridge, said: ‘A lot of recent campaigns have focused on banning the trade of wild animals, and dealing with wild animal trade is really important yet it’s only one of many potential routes of infection.

‘We should not assume the next pandemic will arise in the same way as Covid-19; we need to be acting on a wider scale to reduce the risk.’

Covid-19 is thought to have originated in bats, which are known carriers of hundreds of different kinds of coronaviruses.

But it’s unlikely that bats directly gave the virus to humans, based on what’s known about transmission of earlier coronaviruses.

Scientists believe the disease was passed on to another animal, an ‘intermediate host’, which then infected humans.

The prevailing theory is this process took place at Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China, where exotic animals could be slaughtered on order.

Live and dead animals were kept in cramped cages at the maligned market, which experts say made it the perfect breeding ground for disease.