By Staff Writer James Mellen III.
The Office of Campus Sustainability and Residential Initiatives put on a production of Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, on Wednesday, February 6.
Cowspiracy is a groundbreaking feature length environmental documentary following intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today. He investigates what the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about.
The main theme of the movie is that the meat industry is doing more harm to our environment than the transportation or energy industries, but is getting less coverage from environmental organizations like Greenpeace.
Going into this movie, I thought that I knew a thing or two about the environment, and I knew how bad the beef and dairy industries were for the environment, but I had no idea it was this bad.
The documentary hits hard with facts about the destruction that the meat industry does to our world, pretty much immediately. The beef industry is responsible for 51% of greenhouse emissions a year, and for 91% of rainforest deforestation a year.
Beef also contributes to a highly ineffective use of water because the amount of water required to make a hamburger could give a person a shower for two months.
Yet, very rarely do you hear about these things as a consumer. The goal of this documentary was to find out why, and honestly it’s pretty crazy.
As crazy as it sounds, too, when people speak out against the meat industry and the damage it does to the environment they die unexplainably.
A Catholic nun by the name of Sister Dorothy Stang spoke out against the beef industry in Brazil, and got shot four times in the back of the head by a member of the beef industry. And apparently, it’s illegal to speak out against the meat industry in America.
These are some extreme examples of the corruption that the meat industry brings to the table, but there are plenty of more mild examples.
One, being every American being told that cow milk is good for them their entire lives, even though there have been plenty of scientific studies that show that osteoporosis is more common among dairy consumers than non-dairy consumer; or, how many Americans are taught that animal meat is the best form or only source of protein.
On top of being bad for the environment, the meat industry is also non-sustainable on the scale of being able to feed humans as the global population grows.
Right now, 75% of all of American farming fields are used to grow grain to feed cows.
This means that as a species, we could be feeding four times as many people as we currently are.
Eighty percent of American antibiotics are used on animals, which both wastes antibiotics and builds human tolerance to antibiotics, both of which are not good.
Meat and dairy are also generally not that good for people to eat, as it acounts for 14 out of 15 of the leading killers in America are diet related illnesses, making our high red meat consuming diet arguable more dangerous than cigarettes.
On top of that, the government subsidies the meat industry; without these subsidies a Big Mac would cost almost twice as much as it does now.
The Torch caught up with the student in charge of putting on this documentary, senior mechanical engineering major Roman Wordell (pictured above).
Wordell said that if there was anything that he wanted students to take away from this documentary, it would very simply be to stop eating meat.
Wordell says that since he had gone vegan he “feels healthier and better knowing that the way he consumes food is ethical.”
The Torch asked Wordell for advice for students who are dining on campus. He said that the best place to eat clean is the “rooted section of rez,” which is the side across from the pizza and pasta section.
Don’t like rez? Me either! Good thing there are vegan and vegetarian options at birch such as the black bean burger and the vegan chicken nuggets at Birch.