Remembering Robert Goodland, "The Conscience of the World Bank"
Robert Goodland passed away just a few days ago on December 28, 2013. Although I never met him face to face, I admired his work and had the opportunity to interview him on my radio program, It’s All About Food, back in 2010. When I was scheduling the interview with him by email he told me he was concerned that an entire hour would be too much, nerve-wracking in fact, and that he preferred talking for only about 15 minutes. After letting him know about the format of the program and the things I wanted to talk about he agreed to the full hour. And what an hour it was! I learned a great deal and was profoundly inspired by this humble, compassionate and brilliant man. In our email exchange he offered to take me to lunch if I ever made it to Washington, D.C. and am so sad that I never made that happen.
When I ask Goodland how he got started he told me, “I chose the disciplines which contained the least math, and I also loved the outdoors. So if you combined the least math and the most outdoors, that is sort of field studies and biology, that is now ecology and environmental sciences. That was my start.” I thought it ironic that someone who wanted to be involved with the least math was responsible for a great amount of research and writing that involved BIG numbers: discussing how 60 billion livestock animals are raised for food for 6 million humans every year; publishing the shocking estimate that at least 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to the life cycle and supply chain of livestock products; quoting Friends Of The Earth, stating that a steak is the equivalent of taking 51 hot showers, because you have to use about 15 thousand liters of water to produce one kilogram of beef.
I am going to miss Robert Goodland and his writings. Please listen to my It’s All About Food interview with Robert Goodland and keep his message and dream alive. His information is as relevant today as it was in 2010. Let’s all take part in mitigating climate change by eating plant foods. It’s the best thing for our personal health, the health of our families and the health of our home Planet Earth.
You can read some of his recent publications here on his website, goodlandrobert.com. Read them all – they are all good and the information is invaluable.
His new article, in press, can be found at this link:
Goodland, R., A fresh look at livestock greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation potential in Europe. Global Change Biology. Accepted article (doi:10.1111/gcb.12454)