The New York-based restaurateur announced on social media Friday he is going vegan for environmental reasons, writing that “we are fucking ourselves” due to human consumption of beef.
“After watching videos of the Amazon on fire this week, Ive decided that this corned beef I ate at Junior’s last week will be the last piece of beef I ever eat,” he wrote on Instagram. “Im going to go vegan because it takes 20 times less land to feed a vegan than a meat eater and over 90% of the land cleared in the amazon rainforest since 1970 is used for grazing livestock, but if all of us just stopped eating BEEF it would solve huge problems.”
According to Brazil’s space agency, more than 39,000 fires have broken out across the Amazon rainforest in 2019, a 77% increase from the number at this time last year. The uptick comes as the country’s far-right leader, Jair Bolsonaro, has made a point of rolling back environmental protections for the region since taking office on Jan. 1.
Huang, who hosted a food show on Vice HBO titled “Huang’s World,” said he has a deep appreciation for food because it “was fertile ground for exploring difference.”
“But I dont love what food tv and more importantly what food has become in our culture: a drug,” he said.
“Take a moment, think about it, and reexamine your relationship with food because it’ll make the Earth and ourselves very very sick if we keep abusing it,” he said.
Sustainability expert Sharon Palmer echoed Huang’s thoughts on the relationship between food and environmental conservation. She told CNN that “research consistently shows that drastically reducing animal food intake and mostly eating plant foods is one of the most powerful things you can do to reduce your impact on the planet over your lifetime, in terms of energy required, land used, greenhouse gas emissions, water used and pollutants produced.”