I want to give a big welcome to any and all readers out there who consider themselves environmentalists or sympathize with the goal of preserving the future of this planet. If this is the first time you are learning about the environmental devastation caused by animal agriculture (the practice of breeding, raising, and turning animals into food) then you are surely not alone. A huge part of the problem we’re facing is that the environmental destruction caused by eating livestock, which accounts for 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, is rarely given the appropriate amount of attention by our government, media outlets, and environmental organizations. Unfortunately, the lobbying power of the animal agriculture industry in the United States directs an immense amount of resources towards obscuring the environmental degradation and instability that it causes. It is really astonishing that animal agriculture, which is the leading cause of habitat destruction, water depletion, deforestation, species extinction, and ocean “dead zones” is rarely part of this conversation.
It has been said that the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago and the second best time is now. As environmentalists, we should be basing our efforts on a full understanding of the issues the world is facing right now. I think one of the most interesting ways to learn more about this is to watch the film Cowspiracy. It can be streamed on Netflix, but if you don’t have a subscription, you can download it directly off the Cowspiracy website for $5. I think we are all responsible for being aware of the ways that we can make the biggest difference in the realm of environmental preservation.
Many of us are already making personal sacrifices like recycling, composting, not littering, and being aware of our water use in order to engage in this project. It has been incredibly inspiring to find out about the magnitude of impact that eating choices can have. I hope that we can start a new conversation where conscious eating is added to the list of environmentally sustainable habits that are actionable in our daily lives.
Here are a few facts from the movie which can help contextualize our efforts and recalibrate our framework:
Here is the official trailer: