December 22, 2014

Film: Cowspiracy—People are the Real Cattle

 

First time documentarians make a giant first step.

PHOTO COURTESY OF A.U.M. FILMS

Film: <i>Cowspiracy</i>—People are the Real Cattle

Directors Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn's debut documentary is a spiritual descendant to 2006’s An Inconvenient Truth considering the ecological thesis provided and the vast data crunch that supports it.

Davis Guggenheim and Al Gore’s presentation came as an apocalyptic warning while Anderson poses a more existential question: why do people only choose to see what is right in front of them?

The pursuit and pure desire for answers give Cowspiracya depth that the latter can’t touch.

Anderson highlights himself as Joe Q. Consumer until a viewing of Gore’s Academy Award-winning documentary changes his outlook. After years spent riding bicycles, meticulous recycling and short showers to reduce his carbon footprint, Anderson’s research reveals that carbon dioxide from cars isn’t the sole problem to global warming. Methane gas produced from the agricultural-cattle business actually produces more methane than the entire transportation sector combined.

Yikes!

This is where Cowspiracy really finds it footing. Andersen’s outside-the-box approach makes a valid argument against the assumptions the public thinks they know about the environment.

More importantly, the ability to pivot one cause into multiple ecological issues is a master stroke. Take something simple like the common burger: to house and feed cattle for production leads to an acre of land lost per second. The water footprint alone accounts for 660 gallons of water per hamburger or two months of showering or just water to have in a drought.

There doesn’t need to be a lot of numbers to convey the importance of the director’s fear, but they are effective. A personal favorite that Andersen unearths: 100 billion gallons of water go into fracking while animal agriculture consumes 34 trillion gallons while daily public consumption is less than 5 percent.

The more shocking and memorable the stats become, two things become obvious. The term “follow the money” is an actual thing.

Even if people found out the root cause of whatever environmental issue du jour is, could humans stop themselves? Many people would associate environmental protesting as grassroots because of only a small niche of “crazy” people who need a cause when, in reality, it’s a political loser when going after big business according to the D.C. lobbyists and PR that gave interviews. When there is a loss of fundraising in Washington, loss of cause is sadly inevitable.

Cowspiracy is a logical yet moving documentary about the hamster wheel society is on. If Anderson is brave enough to stand up to the agri-business sect, it’d be real interesting to see what else he has to say. Stay tuned.

Visit cowspiracy.com for screening schedule throughout the U.S.