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'Build back better' without beef?

The Great Reset promises to 'build back better' by reinventing capitalism and solving climate change through reduced beef consumption.

Amanda Radke

December 8, 2020

4 Min Read

In recent weeks, there’s been much talk about the impending “The Great Reset,” a vision of the World Economic Forum that seeks for “global cooperation to simultaneously manage the direct consequences of the COVID-19 crisis.”

We’ve heard President-Elect Joe Biden speak about his platform to “Build Back Better,” and notably, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have both used the same phrase in recent speeches.

Additionally, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon have all adopted the same slogan to “build back better” and “fairer and stronger.”

What does this mean? And why the coordinated chorus of slogans?

Cue “The Great Reset.”

Are you surprised that the World Economic Forum is using the exact same phrase to “build back better?”

An article titled, “To build back better, we must reinvent capitalism. Here’s how.” was published by the World Economic Forum on July 13, 2020.

Written by Peter Bakker, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and John Elkington, Volans executive chairman and co-founder, an excerpt from the article reads: “A true recovery from COVID-19 will not be about putting things back together the way they were: we need to ‘build back better’, to 'reset', if we are to address the deep systemic vulnerabilities the pandemic has exposed. For businesses, building back better is about much more than corporate social responsibility: it is about truly aligning markets with the natural, social and economic systems on which they depend. It is about building real resilience, driving equitable and sustainable growth, and reinventing capitalism itself.”

Related:Trump & Biden both talk on Sept. 17; Plus: USDA announces CFAP 2

Another section of the article reads, “The case for ‘green’ stimulus measures is clear: they are likely to deliver more jobs and higher (equitable) growth in the short-term, while reducing longer-term risks linked to climate change and biodiversity loss – crises that, if unaddressed, will cause a level of disruption to our economies and societies orders of magnitude greater than COVID-19.

“The challenge of decarbonizing entire economies can be the source of demand needed to kickstart economic recovery and create good jobs. Now, more than ever, integrating climate goals into business strategy can be a vital driver of long-term success.”

Curious about what would be considered “green,” I searched for “beef” on the website. Can you imagine what I found? Articles discussing cattle production, greenhouse gas emissions, reducing beef consumption and replacing animal proteins with plant-based alternatives, thanks to investors from the packers like Tyson and Cargill transitioning to more diverse protein companies.

Related:Trump & Biden clash on ag policy

One article, titled, “6 pressing questions about beef and climate change, answered,” doesn’t paint a great picture for beef consumption in the future.

Here’s an excerpt: “Reining in climate change won't require everyone to become vegetarian or vegan, or even to stop eating beef. If ruminant meat consumption in high-consuming countries declined to about 50 calories a day or 1.5 burgers per person per week — about half of current U.S. levels and 25 percent below current European levels, but still well above the national average for most countries — it would nearly eliminate the need for additional agricultural expansion (and associated deforestation), even in a world with 10 billion people.

“Diets are already shifting away from beef in some places. Per capita beef consumption has already fallen by one-third in the United States since the 1970s. Plant-based burgers and blended meat-plant alternatives are increasingly competing with conventional meat products on important attributes like taste, price and convenience. The market for plant-based alternatives is growing at a high rate, albeit from a low baseline.

There are also other compelling reasons for people to shift toward plant-based foods. Some studies have shown that red meat consumption is associated with increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and colorectal cancer, and that diets higher in healthy plant-based foods (such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes) are associated with lower risks. In high-income regions like North America and Europe, people also consume more protein than they need to meet their dietary requirements.”

If after reading through this website alarm bells aren’t ringing for you, then I’m afraid we aren’t on the same page. If this is how Biden, and cooperating countries, plan to “build back better,” then I’m afraid we are in for a very long road ahead.

Plan to have the government decide how much beef you can eat. Plan to have the government tell you which businesses are essential and which will be squeezed out and closed down. Plan to have the government dictate to you blanket health recommendations, travel restrictions and worse. Also plan to have the government tell you exactly how to live your lives, even if it is to your own demise, for “the greater good.”

Don’t be pacified by the pandering. Don’t shrug this off as a conspiracy theory. This is an incredibly dangerous agenda that should not be ignored.

I, for one, plan to fight it tooth and nail. Maintaining our freedoms to farm, to own livestock, to run family-owned businesses, to manage our land and to choose the diets that best fit our needs should be paramount. Saddle up, this is going to be a tough battle.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.

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