I would say the most continuous discussion on this site has involved food, health, vegetarianism, fasting, etc. Kind of intriguing, so I thought I would add this to that conversation. In the January 22, 2007 issue of The New Yorker, there is an article by Steven Shapin about the history of vegetarianism. Here are a few interesting if not startling items:

“A recent report by the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization reckons that at least eighteen percent of the global-warming effect comes from livestock, more than is caused by all the world’s transportation systems. It has been estimated that forty percent of global grain output is used to feed animals rather than people, and that half of this grain would be sufficient to eliminate world hunger if–and it’s not a small if–the political will could be found to insure equitable distribution.”

That’s just a bit of the article, so I don’t want to say this characterizes the whole piece, which also stresses some of the importance of eating locally, including local, free range meats. So it’s not necessarily a polemic on the virtues of vegetarianism, but I have to say the sentences quoted above stood out significantly, to me. I thought they were worth sharing, as we continue thinking about vegetarianism and our individual and collective global footprint.

Here’s to good eating–