At the height of his bodybuilding career, former California governor, actor, and fitness legend Arnold Schwarzenegger once consumed 250 grams of protein daily—eggs, bacon, whole milk and good old-fashioned beef. "If you gave me a 10-ounce steak," he told Bodybuilding.com, "Even in my heyday, I was happy."
These days it seems the Austrian Oak has changed his tune, and for a good cause. In a video made for Wild Aid—an organization that seeks to stop the trade of illegally-hunted wildlife—Schwarzenegger and blockbuster auteur James Cameron joined Chinese actress Li Bingbing to launch a campaign to reduce the consumption of meat in China.
Cameron, Wild Aid explains in its write-up about the launch, "has been an outspoken leader in exposing animal agriculture's impact on the environment and climate." And the Chinese people consume, according to Wild Aid, a whopping 28% of the world's meat:
"China’s move to cut meat consumption in half would not only have a huge impact on public health, it is also a massive leadership step towards drastically reducing carbon emissions and reaching the goals set out in the Paris Agreement," Cameron said. "Livestock emits more than all transportation combined. Reducing demand for animal-based foods is essential if we are to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius as agreed at COP21."
Mr. Schwarzenegger added: "As much as we in California have been leaders and have inspired China to go in the right direction with environmental issues, they are now inspiring us."
Wild Aid hopes the meat intake goal for the average Chinese citizen will be reduced from 138 pounds a year to 60 pounds, with the ultimate goal being a notable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the 21st century.
We wonder if Arnold is feeling a little guilty about his own epic protein consumption of his meat-eating heyday. Taking his 250 grams of protein a day at the height of his career into account, the former Kennedy family in-law may have consumed in the neighborhood of more than 200 pounds of meat a year all by himself.
If it really will let the world breathe a little easier in the future, one could understand the Governator's ecologically-minded form of penance. Just don't look for us to stop eating meat anytime soon.