We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast
Johnathan Safran Foer

Jonathan Safran Foer’s book We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast looks at ways people can implement lifestyle changes to slow the impacts of a changing climate change, and examines why or why not people take these actions. The four most impactful ways a person can reduce their carbon footprint are: 1) Eating no animal products; 2) Having fewer children; 3) Going carless; and 4) Avoiding flying. Given those four actions, he proposes that adopting a plant-based diet, or greatly reducing one’s consumption of animal products, is the most effective, singular lifestyle change people can make to lower their climate footprint.


Discussion questions included:

  • How can Thrivner reduce our footprint as an organization?
    • Less travel for meetings when a virtual option is available
    • Re-useable water bottles and grocery bags
  • What are some small ways to work towards the changes?
    • Start by eating a plant-based meal once a day, and slowly increase it over time
    • Take reusable grocery bags to the store
    • Walk/bike when possible
  • What do you think of the author’s techniques in getting his point across?
    • Might have been more effective if he had used a more positive outlook at some points
    • A lot of focus on guilt in this book, which is not always an effective tactic
  • Given that it is unlikely any of Foer’s suggestions will lead to legislation, how hopeful are you that society will be able to curb climate change before the ‘point of no return?’ 

The majority of the discussion revolved around how readers have adapted their own diets or modified their lifestyle in other ways, whether or not these choices are sustainable, and the relative impacts of these choices. The discussion also delved into how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we do some things (e.g. reduced air travel for work), the impacts of these changes on looking ahead to mitigating climate change, and how likely these changes will remain once the pandemic is over. 

This book made some great points about things that we as a society need to be doing to help combat climate change. Maybe it’s too late to make a huge difference, but maybe if we all start now, it will be easier to work toward the goal of a healthier planet.