Future Shame: Future Generations Will Condemn Industrial Meat and Abuse of Environment

Kwame Anthony Appiah, a philosophy professor at Princeton University, wrote a provocative Washington Post op-ed over the weekend titled, What Will Future Generations Condemn Us For? that has reverbererated around the internet. In the article he speculates that there are always things current generations are engaged in that future generations will condemn without reservation. He speculates on what current pracices will be the shame of future generations and I was intrigued to see that two of his four prospects are hot topics on this blog; the industrial system of meat production and the wreckless abuse of the environment.

Regarding industrial meat he says;

People who eat factory-farmed bacon or chicken rarely offer a moral justification for what they're doing. Instead, they try not to think about it too much, shying away from stomach-turning stories about what goes on in our industrial abattoirs.

Of the more than 90 million cattle in our country, at least 10 million at any time are packed into feedlots, saved from the inevitable diseases of overcrowding only by regular doses of antibiotics, surrounded by piles of their own feces, their nostrils filled with the smell of their own urine. Picture it -- and then imagine your grandchildren seeing that picture.

Regarding the environment he says;

It's not as though we're unaware of what we're doing to the planet: We know the harm done by deforestation, wetland destruction, pollution, overfishing, greenhouse gas emissions -- the whole litany. Our descendants, who will inherit this devastated Earth, are unlikely to have the luxury of such recklessness. Chances are, they won't be able to avert their eyes, even if they want to.