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We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  220 ratings  ·  77 reviews
Some people reject the fact, overwhelmingly supported by scientists, that our planet is warming because of human activity. But do those of us who accept the reality of human-caused climate change truly believe it? If we did, surely we would be roused to act on what we know. Will future generations distinguish between those who didn’t believe in the science of global warmin ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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  • We Are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer
    We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast
    Release date: Sep 17, 2019
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    Meline Hi Megan,

    Would it be possible to have your sources for this fact as it seems that it is contradictory with the facts listed below (based on various…more
    Hi Megan,

    Would it be possible to have your sources for this fact as it seems that it is contradictory with the facts listed below (based on various scientific articles that I have listed in the sources).

    From what I can found, livestock and their byproducts account for 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.

    On top of that, methane (one of the most important greenhouse gases released from animal agriculture) is 25-100 times more destructive than CO2 on a 20 year time frame and has a global warming potential 86 times that of CO2.

    Based on that, it seems that our agricultural practices and our diets have a significant impact on climate change.

    Sources :
    - Hickman, Martin. "Study claims meat creates half of all greenhouse gases". Independent. November 2009 (
    - Shindell, Drew T, et al. "Improved Attribution of Climate Forcing to Emissions". Science. 326, 716 (2009)
    - Vaidyanathan, Sayathri. "How Bad of a Greenhouse Gas is Methane? The global warming potential of the gaseous fossil fuel may be consistently underestimated". Scientific American. December 22, 2015.
    - Shindell, Drew T, et al. "Improved Attribution of Climate Forcing to Emissions". Science. 326, 716 (2009)(less)
    Marie Lindstrom It would be way more than a dent. One calorie of animal protein requires about 10 times the input of fossil fuel energy than one calorie of plant…moreIt would be way more than a dent. One calorie of animal protein requires about 10 times the input of fossil fuel energy than one calorie of plant protein. For example, about 6 % of all soy produced is consumed by people. The rest by live stock. There are huge savings to be made if we just eat the soy, bypassing the cow. A vegan breakfast is not necessarily more expensive than a meat breakfast, regardless of whether you eat it in a brownstone or elsewhere.(less)

    Community Reviews

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    3.93  · 
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     ·  220 ratings  ·  77 reviews

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    Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
    A thought-provoking, personal and humane meditation on climate change and what we as individuals can do right now.

    Too often, the feeling of making a difference doesn't correspond to the difference made - worse, an inflated sense of accomplishment can relieve the burden of doing what actually needs to be done.

    We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast is a book on climate change and why we as humans, who on a conceptual level know what we could do to reduce our impact on the
    Chris LaTray
    Aug 13, 2019 rated it liked it
    Shelves: 2019
    This is one of those books the vast majority of the Western world should read, even though in many ways it really isn't a particularly good read. The first couple sections are fine: we're destroying life on our irreplaceable planet and it will take a massive and collective effort—not unprecedented, as he shows us—to overcome what we're doing. Okay, I'm in. The best first, necessary step is to move away from an animal products-based diet. Yes, I'm totally on board. Aaaaand that's really it. Foer ...more
    Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Jonathan Safran Foer’s new book, We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet at Breakfast, sets some highly ambitious goals for its readers. There is a great deal of responsibility to enact the social change needed to mitigate the current planetary crisis. However, Foer avoids taking on a preachy tone in his writing—instead, he weaves a convincing argument through the use of relatable anecdotes, historical facts, and clear analogies. Through easily digestible chapters, Foer presents evidence of why ch ...more
    Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
    In We Are the Weather Foer suggests that a collective effort is better than no effort at all. The book goes into details as to how American's all pitched in to help the war effort during WW2 and in the same way we can all pitch in to help climate change. Most of this book explains that agriculture industry is one of the biggest contributors to climate change and that this is one area that we all can change in our lives. Foer argues that telling people to stop eating meat and dairy products is di ...more
    Sarah Marsh
    Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
    As a whole this is a fantastic book that outlines facts of climate change related to factory farming, and personal inner conflict associated with the desire to consume meat and dairy products, while playing our role in decreasing personal effect on climate change.

    "We believe that someday somewhere, some genius is bound to invent a miracle technology that will change our world so that we don't have to change our lives. Because short term pleasure is more seductive than long-term survival."

    If you've read EATING ANIMALS, this is that but with a focus on being vegan, as opposed to strictly vegetarian. It feels manipulative because it's meant to -- though none of the things Foer says are outrageous nor out of line.
    Scott Haraburda
    Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: first-reads
    An excellent book based upon scientific information, mostly ignored or not believed by the public. Not sure if this book would change many people's mind, but still I suspect that some might. A worthy addition to someone's environmental library.
    Csimplot Simplot
    May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Excellent book
    Emily Laga
    Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    This book’s strength was that it avoided the trap of the sing song-y, self help. Safran Foer makes a case that not eating animal products before dinner is the best thing individuals can do to stop global warming. He discusses the pitfalls of the climate crisis narrative and also acknowledges the sacrifice to not eat animal products. Fantastic read for anyone who cares about the climate crisis.
    Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Before starting my review, I need to acknowledge and thank Goodreads and FS&G for this book which I received as a giveaway prize. The book is poetic and politically charged. He writes of climate change as a form of suicide that we are engaged in if we don't take action immediately. He also discusses our reluctance to make the necessary changes that can stop this runaway train. The most important change we must make, according to Foer (and many experts), is to stop eating animals. Too much la ...more
    Kristen Cleghorn
    Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
    i do not want to get preachy on goodreads, but i will sorry!!!!

    there is a massive and direct correlation between supporting factory farming and consuming meat and animal products with the destruction of the planet, and it is the quickest and most individual action you can take to combat climate change.

    the average american consumes more protein than they should, supports more releasing of greenhouse gases than they should, and will feel the effects of climate change less and later than the peopl
    Sarah M. Truzzi
    Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    I consider this book a good starting point for each individual's personal battle against the climate crisis which is destroying our Planet. Whether you know a great deal about it or you're just approaching the matter, this book is perfect in the sense that it makes you discuss with your own conscience and therefore understand why you should take some kind of action.
    Moreover, you don't need to be vegan to read and appreciate it.
    Aug 31, 2019 rated it liked it
    3.5 stars. First part is a 4, last part a 3. Part memoir, part musing, part scientific look at the planetary crisis, and part argument to do something - the book fizzles a bit at the end. It finely conveys the need to change how we live yet how resistant people are to it. He addresses that some individual changes made to be environmental are the least impactful and that vulnerable populations are some of the most impacted by our actions.
    Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Part “Silent Spring,” part “Walden,” - Foer combines science and philosophy for a thorough and appropriately depressing read.

    The point of the book isn’t made until a healthy chunk into the text - that people need to stop eating meat and dairy to curb climate change.

    Foer is a masterful writer - beautifully used metaphor and paradox to show what humans are capable of, for both good and evil. He continues to return to the citizens’ efforts and sacrifices during WWII to show what people can accomp
    Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    I received “We Are The Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast” through a Goodreads giveaway but admit I am a big fan of Foer and would have bought it otherwise. I found it intensely readable (read it in two sittings, while marking it up quite a bit). Throughout, he infuses the discussion of climate change with a sense of urgency and call to action; “Climate change is not a jigsaw puzzle on the coffee table, which can be returned to when the schedule allows and the feeling inspires. It is ...more
    Joe Siccardi
    Sep 03, 2019 rated it liked it
    I received an advance an advance reading copy of We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast through Goodreads’ Giveaways, and my review is based on an uncorrected proof. We Are the Weather will be available in bookstores Sept. 17.

    I was attracted to We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast by Jonathan Safran Foer because of its title, although I am by far not a tree hugging environmentalist, subscribe to the gloom and doom of climate change, or espouse the vegan li
    Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    WE NEED TO SAVE THE PLANET. No, we aren't doing it. We're sitting around self-destructing, and (I hate to say it) probably enough of us won't do enough in time to reverse things, or even to make a real dent in our trajectory.

    *Note: I won this in a Goodreads Giveaway, thanks, Goodreads! The writing here is often annoying/repetitive. But the stats are massively moving and clearly JSF cares about his subject matter and is also in despair about his own, and others', lackluster attempts to DO SOMETHI
    Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: nonfiction, giveaway
    So most people *know* that the planet is warming in ways that will soon be irreversible. Even so, most people aren't *doing* much that will help. Myself included. It took Safran Foer 63 pages to get to the point of the book - which is a call to action: as a society we need to eat fewer animal products. Because factory farms are a leading cause of climate change. All the other small things we do - recycle, compost, drive hybrid cars, etc. - barely make a dent (though we should still do them, ther ...more
    Danielle DellaCamera
    Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Jonathan Safran Foer outlines a compelling argument for how animal agricultural is affecting our ever deteriorating climate conditions in his new book “We are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast”. He lays out his argument through the use of stories, historical references, antidotes, and general conversations. There are historical tidbits that while are not climate centric are interesting to discover and do push the author’s thought forward.

    I never felt preached at during my read,
    Sep 19, 2019 rated it liked it
    Shelves: audio, 2019-reads
    Well, this is no Eating Animals. I found Foer's ruminations a little confusing. His summaries of scientific data are nothing new (albeit appalling), but interspersed with a lot of navel gazing and ponderousness and rhetorical tricks - and I am one of the converted! Have to say that I was shocked to hear that the person who wrote Eating Animals sometimes eats hamburgers and still hasn't given up eggs and dairy!! - and he claims to crave animal products every day (I find that really strange to hea ...more
    Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
    "We Are the Weather" is a book that tackles the climate change issue with an interesting premise: most of the things that you are doing to live a greener lifestyle will make no difference to the Earth. Turning off lights, getting a Prius, installing solar panels are all nice and lower your footprint, but make no difference at all. Even if everybody does it.

    This is due to the overwhelming impact eating meat has on the overall picture, which lies somewhere between 14.5-51% of the total damage caus
    Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: giveaways
    We Are the Weather is a fascinating rumination on our self imposed ruin. Foer provides many opportunities to see how we are facing disaster and collectively shrug our shoulders either because we don't want to change or we don't see how making a change as an individual makes a difference. While pointing out examples where a collective has made a difference by individuals willing to take action he points out that he's not so great at taking action himself. So somehow this book goes everywhere and ...more
    Trace Nichols
    Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    "Sadness and joy aren't opposites of each other. They are each the opposite of indifference."

    An intimate and personal inspection of climate change, filled with supportive facts and positive urges on individual change. Thank you @fsgbooks and Jonathan Safran Foer for this enlightening ARC. Readers coming to this book with an open mind - not looking to immediately write it off b/c it encourages less animal consumption - will find the human analogies, histories, spirit, and scientific facts inspira
    Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: giveaways
    I won this as a good reads giveaway compliments of FSG Publishing in exchange for honest review. Ah the old bait and switch, or was it? The style change in which this book was written was distracting for me, although I can certainly understand how it would help many other people keep attention. I feel the message was clear and very needed presently. The world needs change, and fast! What I found lacking was not the stacking amount of evidence, information and research, but the "here's what to do ...more
    Баба Яга
    Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Although the writing is at times a bit weird and jumps from a topic to another as if there were a clear link, except that the link is not so clear (it took me a while to understand what selfies have to do with global warming, and im not still 100% sure), I cannot but recommend this book.
    First of all, it does not call you a murderer for being a normal, omnivore human being; secondly, it does not call for going full vegan as our only option to save the planet; it spells out the urgency and severi
    This book is fabulous. I’m glad I had to read it (and teach it in two classes). The author also visited this week and he was impressive. From the first page where he uses a 4000 year old Egyptian text entitled “dispute with the soul who is tired of life”, Foer asks throughout about motivation and what gets us to act. The stories are wonderful, the statistics and science surprising but well researched, and his style strikes me as both meaningful and refreshing. Very few authors can be essayistic, ...more
    Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
    I'm a big fan of Foer's writing, so I was excited to check this out. This nonfiction look at climate change is less about what specific steps we should be taking to be more eco-friendly and more about the philosophical questions facing the issue. Are we really moral adults if we refuse to address climate change head-on? Will we be able to look our descendents in the face and not feel immensely guilty about our apathy? Foer includes tons of fascinating anecdotes (historical and personal) to illus ...more
    Royce Houthuijzen
    I received this book through a giveaway from goodreads. I was asked to give a review once I finished reading this book. First, I should say I only read fiction and this is more nonfiction with some personal details about the author’s family and growing up. It is basically a book urging people to recognize and acknowledge how human consumption of meat is destroying (suicide) to the planet. He recommends trying not to eat meat until dinner. Limiting animal meat consumption can help to slow the des ...more
    Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Full disclosure, I received a prepublication copy from Goodreads' giveaway program. While the author makes a valid point that going vegan or at least partially going vegan is something we can do immediately, he doesn't make the same point about car pooling or turning down the thermostat in winter. Unfortunately, societies and cultures are not going to change until they're forced to and by then it will be too late (according to the climate scientist experts). Just like every other generation, we ...more
    Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Well. This is a tough one. I really enjoyed the first part of the book, where Foer drew on history and literature and many things to explain why we don't all act as though the climate crisis is an emergency, and why we did act as though WWII was a crisis, and contemplating how to motivate us. Then there was a section of facts about climate change and how our diets/farming practices contributes. Then there was a very weird section in the middle where Foer was . . . arguing with himself about why ...more
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    Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of two bestselling, award-winning novels, Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and a bestselling work of nonfiction, Eating Animals. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
    “Sadness and joy aren't opposites of each other. They are each the opposite of indifference.” 0 likes
    “There are only two reactions to climate change: resignation or resistance. We can submit to death, or we can use the prospect of death to emphasize life.” 0 likes
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