I was beyond excited to learn that Leonardo DiCaprio, the United Nations Ambassador of Peace on Climate Change and Executive Producer of the new cut (available on Netflix) of Cowspiracy:The Sustainability Secret, was creating a documentary about climate change, entitled Before the Flood. He spent two years traveling around the world witnessing the ongoing environmental devastation and had access to world and religious leaders, scientists and parts of the planet that the vast majority of us do not. It was going to monumental. It was going to be a call for world leaders to invest heavily in renewable energies, a call for humans, both individually and collectively, to consume less and to become vegan, as well as to curb our appetites for planes, trains and automobiles.
Simply Stated, the Three Biggest Sectors That Spew Carbon and Methane Into the Environment Are:
Unfortunately, This Trifecta Was Not Reflected in the Body of the Documentary:
Fossil Fuels were highlighted for about 95% of the movie.
Animal Agriculture received 5 minutes worth.
I was shocked and then I was angry.
Now I would like to offer the information and solutions that Leonardo failed to speak out about.
Important Statistics Cited in Cowspiracy but Missing From “Before the Flood”:
Livestock and their by-products account for at least 32,000 million tons of CO2 per year or 51% of all greenhouse gasses.
By simple math, this would mean that each year there is no greater emitter of greenhouse gasses than the animals who we raise for food and the crops that we raise to feed them. Think of all the land used, water used, waste emitted, oil needed, transportation, refrigeration, packing plants, exploited slaughterhouse workers, etc. Not to mention the most significant fact: Trillions of sentient beings killed every year, without their consent, all to fuel our insatiable appetites.
Emissions from agriculture are projected to increase 80% by 2050, while emissions from energy are projected to increase only 20% by 2040.
We very well may see a 100% renewable energy occidental world by 2050. It is possible. The costs are outrageous, but there may be a collective will of world leaders. Yet it will not change anything. In fact, by expanding our animal agriculture habits, 60% more emissions will be in our atmosphere, greatly worsening our situation.
Even without fossil fuels, we will exceed our carbon dioxide equivalent limit of 565 giga-tonnes by 2030 from raising animals for food.
Case in Point!:
To create a documentary that talks solely about fossil fuels and the necessity of leaving them in the ground is discussing only half the problem. It is absolutely imperative that we push the discussion forward about eliminating animal agriculture. The issue is not about eating less, or shifting from eating of cows to chickens, as the documentary states, but rather eliminating 100%, the use of animals for food.
Despite views to the contrary, we can, as individuals stop contributing to the environmental devastation caused by animal agriculture.
Envision a 100% Vegan World:
Critics may say that we should not impose said vision on others in developing nations. Yet, we are already stealing their lands, using their water and polluting their air, all in the name of animal agriculture. As the US and Canada become more aware of the benefits of veganism, companies here are continuing to sell their animal products abroad, in most cases forcing these products into the mouths of those who are the most malnourished. Therefore, these corporations are already imposing their views on the less fortunate, making them sicker and poorer. A Vegan world could provide food for all people, because it is cheaper to produce and requires less land and water resources to do so.
Advocate for the Complete Elimination of the Exploitation of Animals:
Anything else is missing the mark. For example, we would never say in our society that it is acceptable for people who abuse their spouses or children to reduce said abuse or that it is acceptable to sexually assault women 3 days out of the week instead of 7. Neither is it acceptable to have human slaves do our work as long as we treat them “humanely”. We abhor these beliefs and rightly so. We need to adopt the same perspective when someone advocates for ‘Meatless Mondays’ or harm reduction.
We ought not to suggest that to simply reduce rather than end our own contribution to animal exploitation is a worthy end goal.
(Casey Taft__Motivational Methods for Vegan Advocacy, page 14)
You Have the Power to Change:
I have had conversations with many people who have said that the only way that we are going to change our abuse of animals is through governmental intervention. This documentary is a classic example of how this view get us nowhere fast. Government is slow in acting and anytime a government forces a society to do something, the backlash is extreme. Look at prohibition in the 1920’s United States. Even worse, in 2016 corporations are mammoth entities which pull the strings of all our politicians. Good luck changing that. But each one of us, individually, can choose wisely, researching and adopting the least exploitation possible. The more we consume of something, say Soy and Nut Milks, the more they will be produced. The less we intake, say milk products from cows, the less that will be produced. It is the law of supply and demand. Corporations will not continue to produce and sell that which is unprofitable.
Have Hope That Change is Coming:
It is the only reason I can be at the slaughterhouse, watching as the trucks, each filled with over 10,000 chickens, come in. It is the reason I can stand for two hours in -25C weather with my Je Veux Vivre (I Want to Live) , DXE (Direct Action Everywhere sign . I do this because I believe that the change can happen. I need all of you to believe it too.
1. Become Vegan, 100%, not just in your eating choices, but in the clothes you wear, the personal and household products you use and the entertainment you watch.
2. Consume as little as possible, re-use, buy used and research all your purchases so that human animals are not being exploited by our corporations and our consumption.
3. Educate yourself, watch documentaries on Netflix and YouTube, seek out books on animal rights activism and veganism. Share the movement on social media.
4. Be an activist. The more of us there are, the more of us there will be.
It is not always easy to have hope in what seems like a hopeless world. It is not easy to stand up to suffering and exploitation and society’s societal norms. But, as in all things, if you don’t who will?
Annie’s Vegan View
Let’s all be a part of the discussion.
May all beings be happy and free.