A documentary called Cowspiracy has been on my radar for several years now, but from what I have learned in this class, parts of it have become significantly more relevant. The film starts with a clip of an interview with the Executive Director of the Sierra Club; he had no problem spitting facts about the dangerous consequences of global warmer that we are quickly approaching , but when asked about the agriculture industry, he shut up.
The hot topics on some of the biggest environmental organizations websites (Sierra Club, Greenpeace, 350.org, etc.) are fossil fuels and oil fracking. But heres the thing. Although oil fracking uses enormous amounts of water, 100 Billion gallons every year in the US to be exact, this industry isn’t the biggest consumer of water. Compared to fracking, animal agriculture in the US consumes 34 trillion gallons of water yearly.
The Narrator went in to speak with some people in the branch of government concerned with water efficiency, and again, when he brought up the issue of agriculture, the interviewees shut up.
In the book, Active Hope, in the sections about resource depletion, agriculture isn’t mentioned. The book claims that water loss is due to increasing temperatures, which causes evaporation, but it takes over 600 gallons of water to produce on hamburger. Even when talking about species extinction, which is literally in the realm of animals, animal agriculture was never mentioned.
So, my question is: Why are people so focused on issues such as oil fracking and natural gas use, and pay little to no attention to the issues that come from agricultural?
Here is what Environmental Organizations think: don’t piss people off by telling them that the very personal food on their plate is what is driving our planet to hell.
- These organizations are fundraising, so if they come off as anti-meat, they will offend their contributors which means less funds
Here is what the people in the Animal Agriculture Industry think: $$$$$
Here is what I think: there was once a balance, and we are fucking shit up.
This documentary explains that people don’t want to talk about this issue. Our society has built up for so long this idea that animal agriculture is natural. It was, when a family had a few cows, chickens, and pigs. Since then it has become a booming industry, but people are still stuck in the mindset that this is natural. Environmental organizations are steering clear of this subject because they know that any controversy around it will cause distress; distress in politics and the economy, as well as on a personal level.
This documentary definitely reiterates the dominant narrative about the environment:
- Deforestation is destroying the Earth’s lungs, as well as causing species extinction
- Methane and other greenhouse gasses are causing global temperature increase
- Mega-industries are using dangerously enormous amounts of water
Reducing carbon footprints by targeting and reducing natural gas consumption sounds sexy; it sounds like something people will put their efforts and dollars behind.
Actually changing something personal in your daily life will make a difference too.
This audio clip is from the prompt on agency, however I think it embodies the message that was emphasized throughout the documentary; people have the ability to make a change but they don’t.