Meat has long been ingrained in the American identity as a meal staple, but there are growing health and environmental concerns related to its consumption and production. How do meat and meat-like products factor into a sustainable food future?
Most fast food chains now offer the "Impossible" option to choose menu items with meat that isn't actually meat. These copycats aren't always healthier, so what's behind the explosion of plant-based and lab-grown meat products? Will the advent of these new options push Americans further away from real meat consumption or is it a passing fad?
The production of meat strains water and land resources, and produces greenhouse gas emissions. This week, more than 11,000 scientists issued a dire warning about the Earth's "climate emergency" and cited meat production as a contributing factor. What is the overall environmental impact of this industry and what’s being done to mitigate those effects?
How does meat production contribute to the economy? What potential impact could the rising popularity of "meat" options and growing concerns about the climate crisis have on the agricultural industry, farmers, factories, restaurants, and all of their employees?
What is the future of meat in America and worldwide?
- Richard Waite, associate in the food program at the World Resources Institute and author of the "World Resources Report: Creating a Sustainable Food Future"
- Laura Reiley, reporter covering the business of food for The Washington Post
- Jillian Mock, freelance science journalist covering the environment and climate change for The New York Times, Popular Science and Texas Climate News magazine
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*This interview was recorded on Thursday, November 7.