I watched Food Inc. for the first time in class last week and it was very eye-opening, to say the least. I’ve never had the thought of becoming a vegetarian or to cut out a lot of meat or to even just research where my meat was coming from but after watching the film I felt like I should start. I’ve always been an advocate of meat and always thought vegetarianism was in some ways “lame” but after watching this film I’ve really changed my stance on it. I understand where vegetarians are coming from when they talk about animal cruelty and them being mistreated. The way those animals were treated while being “grown” was pretty horrific and for the first time in my life actually made me feel in some way kind of bad for the animals. It changed my perspective on the meat industry entirely.
One thing that really stood out to me was the fact that there were four or five companies controlling the meat industry and it was also startling how they have such control over the farmers they get their meat from. These companies like Tyson or Smithfield treated their employees almost as bad as the animals. These “farms” that are more like factories have unsafe conditions that no one should have to work in.
Another big thing that stood out to me was the use of antibiotics on the animals in order to grow them quicker and bigger. This would cause the animals to grow quickly and in turn, their organs weren’t sustaining the same growth as their body and it caused them not to be able to walk right and in some cases, they couldn’t take more than a few steps which to me was really sad. These animals deserve to live in much better conditions and need to be treated like they are more than just ‘food’.
The other thing that really stood out to me (and grossed me out) was that one beef patty could have something like 200 strands of a different cow in it instead of one beef patty coming from one cow. That was just mind boggling to me. While I’m not going to go completely vegetarian (I love chicken), I think that I’m done with red meat. After watching this film I just don’t think I could ever eat a hamburger again. The thought of it grosses me out now.
I think that there needs to be a better way for the food industry to go about the way they grow their food. Farms don’t need to be factories. I’m really glad we got to watch this film, it was eye-opening, to say the least.
I recently stumbled upon something that I had not heard of before called “Ocean Acidification”. It was something that I had no idea about but after reading a few articles on it I was hooked. One article I read that can be found here http://ocean.si.edu/ocean-acidification called it “climate change’s equally evil twin”. (Bennett) A basic summary of it is that it is a “significant and harmful consequence of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and we normally don’t even see it coming because its effects are happening under water.” (Bennett) The ocean is absorbing an excess amount of CO2. Scientist thought that it may have been a good thing at first because it was leaving less CO2 in the air but have learned that it is costing the ocean dearly by changing its chemistry. A number that really stood out to me was that in the past 200 years, ocean water has become thirty percent more acidic… wow. A cool video that kind of explains a little bit more about ocean acidification and the impacts of it can be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wo-bHt1bOsw. Ocean acidification impacts many things, some of which include coral reefs, oysters, mussels, urchins, starfish and basically anything found in the ocean. Acidic oceans affect the development of ocean creatures, especially ones with shells as the added acidification cause shell building problems. I’m definitely interested in learning more about what ocean acidification actually is as I have only scratched the basic surface. I’m also interested in learning how we could better cut carbon emissions in the future in order to help stop or at least slow down the process of ocean acidification. From what I have gathered, a few of the things that we as humans can do now is to just try and lower our daily carbon dioxide use. Recycle, turn off unused lights, walk/bike instead of driving and really just supporting clean energy as much as possible are all things we can work on now to slow this down. Ocean acidification isn’t something I had ever heard of but is something that I think is important to be educated about after reading up on it and is something I would love to research more.
I had never heard of environmental degradation before this class but after talking a little bit about it I was interested. The main article that I obtained most of this information from can be found at http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/causes-and-effects-of-environmental-degradation.php. It’s basically is the “disintegration of the earth or deterioration of the environment through consumption of assets, for example, air, water and soil; the destruction of environments and the eradication of wildlife. It is characterised as any change or aggravation to nature’s turf seen to be pernicious or undesirable.” (Rinkesh) The causes include land disturbance, pollution, overpopulation, landfills, deforestation, and natural causes. The one that sticks out to me are landfills because we have an abundance of them where I am from. From what I’ve read landfills can pollute the environment and destroy the beauty of a city(trees, flowers ect). The other thing that I didn’t think of is how natural causes can affect the environment. An avalanche or earthquake or just a bad storm can destroy nearby animal and plant habitats to where they can’t survive any longer in that area. One excerpt I found enlightening was “Of course, humans aren’t totally to blame for this whole thing. Earth itself causes ecological issues, as well. While environmental degradation is most normally connected with the things that people do, the truth of the matter is that the environment is always changing. With or without the effect of human exercises, a few biological systems degrade to the point where they can’t help the life that is supposed to live there.” (Rinkesh) Some of the effects of environmental degradation I found interesting include the loss of tourism industry, which also has an economic impact. I never thought of those particular impacts so I found that pretty interesting. And of course there are the impacts that I normally would think of that include an impact on human health, loss of biodiversity and the ozone layer depletion. I’m no expert on this subject but everything I have read about it does spark an interest so I would love to learn more about environmental degradation and ways to prevent it or slow it down.