It’s not hard but it’s not what you think it is

The island of Crete where the Mediterranean Diet was “discovered” (Photo by Paul Greenberg)

Last week I offered up a little bit of background on the Mediterranean Diet, how the American researchers Leland Allbaugh and Ancel Keys “discovered” it and what it would take to get America on it.

But how can you follow the Mediterranean Diet? I mean really follow it as Allbaugh and Keys found it on the island of Crete? I’m not talking about ordering the souvlaki next time you go out for Greek. …

My science-based journey to a plant-based lifestyle

Photo: Markus Spiske/Unsplash

“Heart disease? Oh, c’mon, that’s so old school.” So went my thinking as I rode a conveyor belt into a CT scan in one of those dreary medical-imaging facilities I’d managed to avoid for the entirety of my 51 years. I was fairly certain this was just another test that didn’t really apply to me, one of the many my doctor had tacked on to the growing list of exams we Americans find ourselves subjected to as we move through the decades.

And why should it? I’d never smoked, I drank only in moderation — usually red wine. I exercised…

This is the year to de-center your smartphone

Illustrations from “Goodbye Phone, Hello World” by Emiliano Ponzi

For the sake of yourself and your country, it is time to get off your phone.

Yes, I know you needed to see the latest from the Capitol storming, the impeachment hearings, the Republican backlash, and then you’ll need to know how it’s all going down with the new administration in the first 100 days, and then perhaps you’ll want to check in on the stalled Covid-19 vaccination effort. And then poof, before you know it, midterm elections will be ramping up and you’ll need to scroll and scroll and scroll.

But there’s a good reason to balance a civic…

If you’re looking for small carbon footprint and big nutrition look below the surface

“Seashore Sunset” by Vitor_Esteves is licensed underCC BY 2.0

When you sit down to write an eye-catching essay about the best meal in the world your first instinct is to go with one of the sleek creatures that have historically captured the human imagination. Salmon battling 20 knot currents to reach their spawning grounds at the headwaters of the world’s mightiest rivers. Bluefin tuna charging faster than thoroughbred racehorses, crossing the Atlantic and the Pacific and circling the bottom of the world. But when you sit down to write about sustainability and seafood and try…

My piece in The Guardian this week sparks controversy

Just Four? It’s a debate . . .

This week in The Guardian I have an essay called “The Four Fish I Would Still Eat Even After Watching Seaspiracy.” I wrote it in response to the Netflix film that has brought more attention to the issue of fishing and aquaculture than any single piece of media in the last 20 years. The film left me with many feelings too diverse to spell out here. In fact in the next year I’ll be co-hosting a podcast called Fish Talk that will try to go more deeply into the layered arguments…

The New York Times is right: We need climate self-care more than climate diets

“Relax” by Koijots is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

This weekend The New York Times published a smart, thoughtful review of The Climate Diet, a book I have out this spring from Penguin Press. Over the years I’ve trained myself to let criticism of my work stand for itself. Having written my fair share of reviews of environmental books I understand that it’s a surprisingly tough job and the last thing a reviewer needs after drafting a time-consuming essay is an extended dialogue with an author. All that said, this reviewer raised such a salient point that I felt I should offer up a reply.

I used that title…

WWII technology has caused trillions of casualties at sea

Paul Greenberg and Boris Worm first published this essay in the New York Times

“Tracking the Ball” by NOAA’s National Ocean Service is marked with CC PDM 1.0

It is Victory in Europe Day, the end to a global catastrophe that cost the planet at least 60 million lives. But if we were fish, we would have marked the day differently — as the beginning of a campaign of violence against our taxonomic classes, one that has resulted in trillions of casualties.

Oddly, the war itself was a great reprieve for many marine species. Just as Axis and Allied submarines and mines made the transportation of war matériel a highly perilous endeavor, they similarly…

Not even COVID will make me abandon it

NYC Subway 1 train leaving 125th Street” by Mtattrain is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

This spring I spent two weeks having an affair with an electric car. But I have come to my senses and returned to my family: the letters and numbers of the New York City Subway. Why such loyalty to a beat-up old sprawl of train and track, a system that has lost two thirds of its riders since the pandemic tore the city apart? Because I owe the subway for my child’s earliest education and the basis for the bond we formed as father and son.

Unlike undergrounds in most cities, Manhattan’s system is iconic, instructional and oddly child friendly…

This is what happened

The dashboard of the 100% electric Nissan LEAF SL (photo by Paul Greenberg)

In a book I just published called The Climate Diet one of the suggestions I make to reduce your carbon footprint is “If you have to drive, drive electric.” I wrote it because that seemed to be the consensus of all the different environmental organizations I consulted when I sat down to write the book.

But here’s the thing. I live in New York. And I had never in my life actually driven an electric car. I had serious doubts. Can the average street parking schlub (present company included) really figure out a way to negotiate charging and maintaining a…

My test drive of a solar oven

My solar cooked stew (photo by Paul Greenberg)

What is the absolute lowest-carbon way to cook a piece of food? I’d been trying to reach a definitive conclusion about this question for a book I was writing about lifestyle and climate change. Online there was a heady debate about gas versus electric ranges. On the one hand electric conducts heat from a stove top much more effectively into the food you’re trying to cook, something like twice as efficiently as natural gas. On the other hand, if you’re a baker, filling up an oven with heat that must surround your food on all sides can be done more…

Paul Greenberg

New York Times bestselling author of Four Fish as well as The Climate Diet: Fifty Simple Ways to Trim Your Carbon Footprint

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