Cowspiracy – The Sustainability Secret

November 8, 2015 at 6:42 pm | Posted in Economoney, Health, Media, Movies, Science | 4 Comments
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I’ve written several articles on this blog on the CHIP program and the many health benefits of shifting to a more plant-based diet – including reduced cancer risks. Recently, the World Health Organization announced that processed meats are carcinogenic and red meat probably also is. This is based on hundreds of studies.

A friend recommended the film Cowspiracy, a surprising documentary about the meat industry. Not only is excess meat a health issue but it’s also the number one cause of global warming. Simply because of volume, cows and their processing produce well over twice the greenhouses gases than all forms of transportation. Really?

“Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.”
Goodland, R Anhang, J. “Livestock and Climate Change: What if the key actors in climate change were pigs, chickens and cows?”

“Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas with 296 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, and which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years.”
“Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options.” 2006.

“Even without fossil fuels, we will exceed our 565 gigatonnes CO2e limit by 2030, all from raising animals.”
Oppenlander, Richard A.

“Agriculture is responsible for 80-90% of US water consumption.”
US Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, 2013.  54% is for growing feed crops.

Conservatively, 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef. Eating a single hamburger will negate any individual efforts you can make to conserve water.

“Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction.”
World Bank, 2003

“Today, humans and the animals that we raise as food make up 98% of the zoomass.” (animal biomass on earth)
Vaclav Smil, Harvesting the Biosphere, 2011

“We are currently growing enough food to feed 10 billion people.” But half of it goes to feed animals, even in countries with starving children.

much more, with references      An infographic

Meat production is the largest cause of deforestation, water consumption, ocean pollution, and desertification. A third of the planet is now desert. And yet the film-maker found that most environmental organizations refused to talk about it. His primary funder suddenly backed out over the “controversy”.

Turns out it’s illegal in the US to speak against the meat production industry. There is now an “Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act”. In other words, speaking about this in the US can be considered a terrorist act. In South America, people are shot for protesting against agribusiness.

Yet – on a given land area, we can produce 15x the protein with plants rather than animals.

“A person who follows a vegan diet produces the equivalent of 50% less carbon dioxide, uses 1/11th oil, 1/13th water, and 1/18th land compared to a meat-lover.” Just with diet.

A little more effective than a low-flow shower head, biking to work, and turning out a few lights. And if we’re actually serious about addressing climate change, we need to address the elephant in the room…


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  1. To be clear here, I not a vegan. In fact until recently, I considered it an extreme diet. But I’ve learned things this year that have caused me to reevaluate some of my lifestyle habits and begin to make some changes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi David!
    Went to this blog because you mentioned “your other blog”.
    I was a raw vegan for 2 years prior to my kundalini awakening. I studied natural hygiene and all kind of alternative health and diet models. And while all this figures seem to be true in my point of view it is important to move beyond them to become an intuitive eater. That will balance as best as possible. I eat vegetarian. Vegan does not work for this body at all. In Ayurveda i am a vatatype.
    Most vegans appear to be undernorished and i can feel that energetically. And then i found an article by Rose Rosetree who sees that undernorishment in vegans also.
    The mentalbody can become carried away with these facts (i have been there to the extreme) and then we stop listen to our own bodies. Of course to listen to them implies some trial and error 🙂



  3. Hi Michael
    Yeah, raw vegan is not a great idea for Vata. Warm cooked food, especially this time of year, is a good idea. I agree – it’s an experimentation – paying attention to what the body is asking for. But avoiding sugar as that messes up the bodies intelligence and creates cravings.

    Yes – Rose’s article was interesting. Putting beliefs ahead of health is not really wise. Happily, the participants where all younger and likely to learn.

    Listening to the body also can require we deal with some of our unresolved emotional stuff. Thats one of the reasons people can tend to tune out. Also the busyness of modern life.

    Part of what I’m looking at is aging. What has worked for me for years is no longer, so I’m having to rediscover what works better now.


  4. […] I watched the film Cowspiracy, I discovered their web site had an offer for a free 30-Day Vegan Challenge by vegan author Colleen […]


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