We Are the Weather Book Summary - We Are the Weather Book explained in key points
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We Are the Weather summary

Jonathan Safran Foer

Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast

4.3 (238 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

We Are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer explores the connection between our food choices and climate change. It encourages readers to adopt plant-based diets to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

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    We Are the Weather
    Summary of 7 key ideas

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    Climate change is not an interesting or believable story, so people aren’t motivated to fight it. 

    If you think about major political movements like the civil rights movement or the fight to end apartheid in South Africa, your mind will latch onto a memorable story. Like Rosa Parks refusing to go to the back of the bus. Or Nelson Mandela walking out of jail after 27 years and instantly forgiving his oppressors. These stories have heroes, and villains. They also have a clear timeline: we know when the fight started and when the war was won. 

    The story of the fight against climate change has no such clarity. That’s because the effects are felt all over the world in so many different ways. We’re told that a hurricane in New York or the submergence of an island in the Pacific are all related to this thing called climate change, but exactly how and why they’re connected remains unclear. 

    The fact that the story of climate change is so vague and complex makes it difficult for people to engage with. Researchers from the Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics at Yale University found that when people were able to clearly visualize the victim of a tragedy, they were more likely to sympathize and donate money to them. Millions are affected by climate change and hundreds of millions more people will be affected in the future. This means there is no specific victim that people can relate to. Subsequently, we find it harder to feel emotionally invested in the story. 

    The idea of hundreds of millions of people being affected by climate change is not only abstract, it’s also terrifying. These kinds of statistics and predictions make climate change feel almost too enormous and terrible to be true. 

    Our inability to comprehend climate change is similar to people’s reactions to the Holocaust during World War II. Few had ever encountered a situation of this particular scale and terror before. That meant that even when they heard eye-witness accounts testifying that Jewish people were being murdered in extermination camps, they struggled to believe it. 

    Even though the story of climate change is vague and alienating, we have to find ways to engage with it – rationally if not emotionally. This is a story we can’t afford to ignore.

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    What is We Are the Weather about?

    We Are the Weather (2019) is a rigorous investigation of climate change, what it means and why humans seem so powerless to tackle it. Jonathan Safran Foer argues that while climate change is terrifying and hard to understand, there is a very simple action that we can take: By leaving out meat and animal products for breakfast and lunch, we can make a huge contribution to the health of the planet.  

    We Are the Weather Review

    We Are the Weather (2019) by Jonathan Safran Foer is a thought-provoking book that explores the impact of our diet on the environment. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers compelling evidence on how our food choices contribute to climate change, urging readers to reconsider their eating habits for the greater good.
    • Combining personal anecdotes, scientific research, and cultural insights, the book presents a comprehensive analysis of the food industry's environmental impact.
    • With its accessible and engaging writing, the book keeps readers captivated, making the complex topic of climate change accessible and relatable.

    Best quote from We Are the Weather

    Social change, much like climate change, is caused by multiple chain reactions that occur simultaneously.

    —Jonathan Safran Foer
    example alt text

    Who should read We Are the Weather?

    • People who want to save the planet, but feel paralyzed by what first step to take
    • Psychology buffs who are interested in group dynamics, and what motivates people to act 
    • Would-be vegans who need a bit more persuasion to take the plunge

    About the Author

    Jonathan Safran Foer is an American novelist and nonfiction writer. His previous nonfiction book Eating Animals became a New York Times bestseller, and was turned into a documentary which won the Environmental Media Association Award in 2019. Safran Foer is a board member for Farm Forward – a non-profit organization promoting sustainable eating. 

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    We Are the Weather FAQs 

    What is the main message of We Are the Weather?

    We Are the Weather explores the impact of our food choices on climate change and encourages us to take action.

    How long does it take to read We Are the Weather?

    The reading time for We Are the Weather varies. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is We Are the Weather a good book? Is it worth reading?

    We Are the Weather is a thought-provoking book that raises important questions about our environmental impact. It's definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of We Are the Weather?

    Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of We Are the Weather.

    What to read after We Are the Weather?

    If you're wondering what to read next after We Are the Weather, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • How Bad Are Bananas? by Mike Berners-Lee
    • The Necessary Revolution by Peter Senge
    • Should We Eat Meat? by Vaclav Smil
    • The Future We Choose by Christiana Figueres
    • Earth for All by Sandrine Dixson-Decleve
    • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
    • The Mindful Body by Ellen J. Langer
    • Comfortably Unaware by Richard A. Oppenlander
    • 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do by Amy Morin
    • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill