Democratic California Senator Kamala Harris says Americans need to be educated about the impact that meat production has on the planet.
Harris — who is in the midst of a presidential campaign — made the comments during CNN’s town hall on the climate crisis.
She said that, although she does enjoy the occasional cheeseburger, the U.S. government needs to create incentives for Americans to make more environmentally-friendly decisions with their food.
“I love cheeseburgers from time to time, I just do,” she said. “But there has to be also what we do in terms of creating incentives that we will eat in a healthy way, that we will encourage moderation, and that we will be educated about the effect of our eating habits on our environment.
‘We Have to Do a Much Better Job’
“We have to do a much better job with that and the government has to do a much better job with that,” she continued. She added that she would support changing the U.S. dietary guidelines to reduce the recommended intake of red meat specifically.
Meat production has a detrimental impact on the environment. The recent Amazonian fires were caused by cattle farmers clearing land for beef production. Animal agriculture also emits high levels of greenhouse gases. Last year, the United Nations Environment Programme named tackling meat consumption as the world’s most urgent problem.
Harris has released a $10 trillion climate plan. It lays out aims to make the U.S. a carbon-neutral economy by 2045. The plan — which is “about putting people first,” she says in a statement — centers on carbon-neutral electricity and zero-emission transportation.
Harris isn’t the only presidential candidate to address the climate crisis and meat consumption. Fellow Democrat Andrew Yang agrees that meat is destroying the planet. “[Going vegetarian] is good for the environment, it’s good for your health if you eat less meat,” he said at the CNN town hall.
“Certainly, meat is an extraordinarily expensive thing to produce from an environmental sustainability point of view,” he added. “So, I think it would be healthy on both an individual and societal level for us to move in that direction.”