Filmed by two youthful environmental/social activists, Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, Cowspiracy is a documentary investigating what they argue to be the number one contributor to climate change, animal agriculture. Andersen delves dangerously deep into uncovering the secrets suppressed by the environmentally destructive industries that threaten our planet. Revealed in this film, animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and essentially every other environmental ailment.
The mystery: no one is talking about it. The deeper Andersen and Kuhn dive, the higher a wall is built shielding a seemingly dark industry secret. World-leading environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club, 350.org, WWF, and Greenpeace, are all silent. But why? Ultimately, the reason boils down to the same thing it always does; money. Whether or not these organizations were engaged in money-laundering with bigger oil or factory farming companies is unclear, but the very fact that it’s unclear is the underlying issue. When interviewing these organizations, discussions of climate change and its greenhouse gas contributors flowed smoothly, but as soon as Andersen pointed the conversation in the direction of animal agriculture, the responses were dismissive. Some fumbled with the question claiming that it’s “hard to target one thing exactly” and others seemed, some responded angrily as if playing the defense, and others seemed downright clueless.
Ultimately, one of the biggest issues is the simple fact that Americans love meat. On average, each person eats nine ounces of meat a day. This animal-based diet that the human population relies on drastically reduces any chances we have of farming sustainably. The detriments of raising animals for food are vast; 150 gallons of methane per day are emitted by cows, ¾ of fisheries are overexploited, one acre of rainforest is cleared every second for livestock production and logging. Mass producing agriculture corporations have shielded us from the ugly and inconvenient truth of this reality, thus, nothing is changing because so few people can understand the true nature of the problem or that something needs to be changed. They know that if they were to remove the blindfold they placed on society and reveal everything that happens behind the barn doors, they would start losing profits, fast. In fact, animal rights activists are the number one FBI priority because of the threat they pose on large meat and dairy distributors.
As a rapidly growing society, we need to make a decision about what we want our future to look like. This is not just an environmental movement but a global, social, and spiritual revolution. The Dalai Lama once said, “When we are concerned mainly with our own interests, inevitably we tend to neglect others’ interests. Because of this, preoccupation with our own interests—our own narrow desires, ambitions, and goals—undermines our ability to be compassionate…. the more we concern ourselves with providing for others’ well-being, the more meaningful our lives become and the happier we ourselves will be”. If we can transform the way society thinks, we can transform the way society eats. We can do it, we just have to choose to do it.