My roommate and I stumbled upon this documentary on Netflix called Cowspiracy and since we’re trying to be better humans to the planet, we decided to give this a watch! With a name like Cowspiracy, I assumed it was going to be about animals and it’s relation to vegan/vegetarianism. I am not a vegetarian nor do I ever plan on being one but this documentary is completely the opposite.
It’s insanely interesting from the very beginning and reveals that of all the emissions in the atmosphere, factory farming and byproduct production contributes to 51% of noxious gases released. 51%!! Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions which is more than all vehicular exhaust combined.
In order to produce one hamburger, we use over 600 gallons of water to help feed the cow, grow it’s crops and then factory produce a product. That’s 600 gallons per ONE BURGER. Another part of the issue is that we cannot properly graze and grow cattle ethically and free-range. They need an inordinate amount of space to graze and compared to the amount of consumption seen by consumers in the United States, there isn’t enough land available (meaning completely void of buildings and inhabitants) as we would need about 4 country’s worth of land.
More often than not, forests are torn and burned down to allow grazing space for the cattle. Once the land is stripped, soy bean fields are planted and their crops are used to fatten up the animals. The number of forests are dwindling and we’re just tearing down natural resources to fuel our greed. Not to mention that cattle shouldn’t be eating soy and it affects the quality of meat.
By eating less meat and byproducts, we are discouraging producers and diminishing the amount of greenhouse gases and pollution we’re adding to the atmosphere. The same can be said for fish and sea life. We continually over-fish in the ocean and discard marine life not being used. This is called by-kill. For every one pound of fish caught, 5 pounds of by-kill are being thrown away. We also don’t give fish enough time to repopulate due to the frequency of our over-fishing. It’s possible that we might see fish-less seas by the year 2048. 2048! That’s easily within my lifetime! That fact really freaked me out because its tangible and completely feasible. It was at this point I knew I would do what I could to reduce my footprint on the planet.
We continue to overuse numerous resources every day- water, land, electricity, etc. There’s just so much more we can do to impact the future. So what can you do? Options include your usual suggestions of turning off lights, unplugging electronics and appliances, using less water, recycling as much as possible and reducing the use of paper products. However, there are things we can do to change the food industry little by little without giving up many of our luxuries.
Switch from regular cows milk to alternative milks like soy, almond or cashew. Reduce or eliminate meat from your diet and invest a little extra money into plant based foods. There are a few super cool companies like Beyond Meat and Hampton Creek who are inventing and producing products like mayonnaise, “chicken” strips and “ground beef”. They examine properties of meat and create a product that is virtually the same. Of course, we can also start eating insects given that they’re an abundant resource full of protein but maybe that’s getting a bit carried away!
All in all, this was an incredibly informative documentary and it has changed my life thus far. I definitely am not an extremist but I believe that a little goes a long way. If each person changed one small habit, we could collectively be saving our environment years and years! Check out the documentary and some of the videos I included below! Be an advocate for our environment and know that each person can make an impact!
Are there any other documentaries I should be watching? What type of things do you do to change your impact on the environment?
On Food for Thought Thursday, I’m sharing my not so vegetarian recipe for Sausage, Potato and Kale Soup! Perfect for a snowy winter night! Thanks for reading!