To the editor:
Pre-released a couple months ago, the documentary “Cowspiracy” was only available to a select few, a couple of my friends happened to get a copy. I had a chance to see some clips online; it came off as not-your-typical environmental documentary. It makes the claim that environmental groups, not just the corporations involved, aren’t telling us the whole picture. A friend messaged me while she watched it.
“Damn! I'm watching the ‘Cowspiracy’ movie and I want to punch faces. It's so frustrating,” the normally calm activist and mother, Nina Berg, exclaimed to me with flaming-eared cartoon characters interspersed around her text. She soon focused, “I really question what kind of planet I will be handing to my son. People haven’t been given the facts; even environmental groups aren’t giving people this information. We can’t afford to be negligent with our earth.”
The documentary so struck her that she spearheaded bringing it to West Acres Cinema in October. The 60-plus attendees received it with cheers, applause and even laughter -- it had many comical scenes. And now, Kathleen Keene, another local activist who was energized by the film, is bringing the movie to the Fargo Library, this time for free, and with free samples of vegan food -- the proposed solution to the dilemma.
They’re right to be concerned and inspired to bring the message to more people. The inefficiency of animals and their dramatic impact on the environment is rarely, if ever, spoken about by environmental groups, a point highlighted by the film. What they aren’t telling us, and the film does, is that meat production consumes tremendous amounts of energy and expels more greenhouse gases than the usage of our cars.
The film reveals that it takes about five pounds of grains and more than 500 gallons of water to make one pound of meat. On top of that, current agricultural animal-feeding practices use large quantities of chemicals that have greatly contributed to a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico equal to the size of Connecticut. The film also highlights an often-overlooked byproduct of the meat industry -- secondary species destruction.
The question is then, why go through all of this when for only one-fifth of the energy, you can simply bypass the animal and make the grains and energy into viable food sources for people. The film delves into this, and is the reason Kathleen is offering the free vegan food to show everyone that a viable, and tasty, option exists.
“If something isn’t done now, the children of tomorrow are really going to feel the effects,” Berg said. “We’re not being responsible; something needs to happen to make things sustainable. Everyone needs to watch this, to educate themselves, to be informed. That’s our rent, to be on this planet.”
The free event is Wednesday, Nov. 19 in the downtown Fargo Library at 6:30 p.m.
-Adam C. Hasbargen
by HPR Contributor