Our Food Choices Are The Largest Factor In Environmental Degradation And Climate Change
I recently saw a movie that persuaded me to write this essay. The movie is Cowspiracy (2014), and its
provocative premise is that the environmental movement is focused on the lesser causes of environmental
degradation and climate change, while largely ignoring its greatest threat - the degradation caused by our food
Cowspiracy focuses on the startling fact that environmental groups, by and large, do not address the devastating effects of our choices to eat meat and dairy products. It presents statistical evidence to prove that our choices, as a culture, to eat these products place more stress on the environment than all public transportation, coal burning, fracking, and industrial pollution combined!
Meat and dairy production are the primary contributors to water and air pollution and have lead directly to the destruction of the world’s rainforests -- our planet’s lungs -- to make room for cattle grazing. Factory farms pollute water as a result of waste runoff and release methane into the atmosphere from vast herds of farmed animals. Furthermore, the current loss of antibiotic effectiveness is largely due to the routine use of antibiotics as an additive to animal feed.
So, the movie asks, why are so many environmental nonprofits and government agencies focused completely on regulating the allowable amounts of pollution, deforestation and water quality when all these are downstream from the cause of these catastrophes - our food choices? Can we regulate our way out of this situation when we don’t talk about why these catastrophes are occurring in the first place? Why are we addressing the symptoms and not the cause?
Cowspiracy follows the director, Kip Andersen, into meetings with numerous groups and individuals (including farmers) where he raises the fundamental question of why aren’t we talking more about veganism as a solution to so many of the world’s problems? If increased veganism would have positive effects upon human and environmental health why aren’t environmental groups and government agencies, which honestly care about the environment and human health, urging people to become vegan?
By and large, Andersen was met with embarrassment, incomprehension, and downright hostility when he dared to raise this question, and all of this is caught on camera. Anderson speculates as to why he met such a frosty reception, and you can draw your own conclusions after watching the movie. But this is essential viewing if you care at all about the environment. It raises questions that cannot be ignored.
You can order it through your library or through the Cowspiracy website- Larry