A nice critique of Lierre Keith’s anti-vegetarian book here, although it was written by an anarchist who is an obvious civilization apologist. We can’t go back to the days before the agricultural revolution, she says, because there are just too many of us now. Killing 5 billion people is simply not an option.
I know I’ve ranted on this before, but it is worth repeating: the massive die-off argument is a straw man—and a very weak one at that.
It is true that best solution (for humans and for the rest of the planet) is for us to find a way forward to something resembling life prior to agriculture. And it is true that the planet will probably comfortably support fewer than a billion people living subsistence gatherer-hunter lifestyles. But it certainly doesn’t follow that 5 billion people will need to be killed first. It took us 9 thousand years to get this far off course. It’s not like we have to fix everything by tomorrow, and start by immediately eliminating 80% of the population. There are numerous ways of reducing population over time that don’t require any existing person to die.
An interesting aside: to say that 5 billion people is too many begs the question of how many fatalities would be acceptable? Is there some threshold of, say, 300 million? 900 million? A billion? And of course one can always ask the counter question: how many billions are guaranteed to die if we continue with business as usual?
The one thing that we surely can’t do is continue with business as usual. And there is no manner of tweaking the current system, rearranging the power structures, or refashioning the political or economic topography that is going to change the ultimate fact that civilization is unsustainable.