How can we fight climate change? Although there is no absolute certainty in the causes of climate change, climate scientists are overwhelmingly in support of blaming human activity for what may become the greatest challenge that human beings have ever faced. Yet, despite these findings, the wealthy of the planet refuse to stop the activities which are reputed to cause these dangers.
For example, based on studies scientists say that “reducing heavy red meat consumption — primarily beef and lamb — would lead to a per capita food and land use-related greenhouse gas emissions reduction of between 15 and 35 percent by 2050. Going vegetarian could reduce those per capita emissions by half.” If producers and consumers of heavy red meat continue their practices, and if climate change reaches the stage of destructive crisis, then these producers and consumers have shifted the costs of their practices to the rest of the population. On the other hand, if they stop these practices and produce more vegetables, this may help solve climate change.
Of course, reducing heavy red meat consumption and production may do nothing. That is, it may turn out that climate change is a natural phenomenon which is not modified by human activity. But reducing heavy red meat consumption and production is not a bad thing. In fact, it has been found that eating heavy red meat causes diseases and can lead to death. So basically lowering or ending heavy red meat production may have positive effects besides reducing the likelihood of climate change.
Yet still the producers and consumers won’t change their practices.
So here is a model law to get the producers (growers of cattle and sheep) and consumers (fast food restaurants) to halt their dangerous activities. First, set production at a reasonable level. For example, the law might state that growing and selling annually more than 100 beef cattle and sheep creates unacceptable climate change danger. Or it might say that producing and selling more than 1000 pounds of hamburger, roast beef, and other heavy beef and lamb products might create such danger. Then, the law would provide that specific written notice would be sent to these producers and consumers that they must stop production and consumption or face the consequences of the law. Third, the law would outline how these consequences will be treated.
Here’s where the establishment of the law would affect production and consumption of heavy red meat. Basically, the punishment for continuing to produce and consume heavy red meat would be colossal. If a producer or consumer continued in its practice, the law would provide for a death penalty. The producer or consumer found guilty of violating the law in the face of the law’s written warning would be executed by being boiled to death. The criminal would be placed in cool water, and the water would be heated at a high temperature until the criminal died. In addition, the boiled body would be prepared for eating, and cannibals would consume it. (There’s no point in allowing good food to go to waste).
The law would allow the producers and consumers up to three years at their present level of production or consumption to get out of their business. And if leaving their business caused them financial hardship, the society would assist them in leaving their present occupations and finding a replacement.
The result of this law and the governmental assistance in changing occupations should be that producers and consumers of heavy red meat would not stay in the business of producing and consuming. The positive implications should be a significant block on climate change, not to mention an improvement to human health. The negative aspect of the law would be that people could no longer eat heavy red meat because there wouldn’t be enough available (and the scarce amount available would cost a lot of money) and the producers and consumers could not remain in a business which brought them satisfaction. But, on balance, the law would create more positive than negative aspects.
If this sort of law worked, it could be modified to discourage other practices that appear to cause climate change. For example, using fossil fuels for energy. Fortunately, we have already begun to use solar and other types of energy and don’t really need fossil fuels. Some of the fossil fuels could continue to be used in producing plastics that would not have negative environmental effects (for example, 3D printing of houses). Most fossil fuels could not be used, but the society could compensate the producers and consumers to the extent necessary so that they would shift their occupations. Laws completely discouraging the use of fossil fuels would clean the air and prevent environmental damage.
Do I believe that the United States would adopt such laws? No, I don’t. We have such a complex society that even effective laws will not be allowed if they cause radical change and toss businesses into the trash heap of history. The threat of capital punishment using tortuous methods (i.e., boiling the criminal to death) would run headlong into objections, even though the benefit of the law comes merely from the threat of a horrible ending (I suspect that such laws would never have to be enforced). But I suggest such laws to show that there are ways of accomplishing goals through threats that need not be carried out.
Climate change is a serious threat to all humankind. We need to take that threat seriously and establish ways and means of changing our economy so that the threat is seriously reduced. We should “think outside the box” to arrive at solutions that eliminate climate change as best we can. Boiling criminals and eating their flesh sounds horrific, but bodies burning in the sun of climate change are just as bad.
If you liked this article, please donate $5 to keep NationofChange online through November.