For years I was an OCE — Obsessive Compulsive Environmentalist. I recycled everything, took short showers, turned off lights when I left the room, biked everywhere — everything the big environmental organizations I followed say we need to do to live green — I was there with eco-friendly bells on.
But as time passed, I was dismayed to find my OCE ways didn’t seem to be making a difference. If anything, everything seemed to be getting worse.
And then I learned something that left me reeling, wondering what I’d been doing all those years I thought I was helping to save the world.
Here’s what I discovered:
1. Animal agriculture, rather than fossil fuels, is the leading cause of anthropogenic climate change in the world.
Responsible for at least 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, with some scientists claiming the number is actually 51%, animal agriculture has an absolutely enormous impact on the planet. If we’re going to halt climate change, not to mention feed a worldwide human population of more than 9 billion by 2050, it is essential we change our ways and stop breeding livestock for food.
This was shocking enough, but as I investigated further I found that:
2. Animal agriculture is also the leading cause of many devastating environmental effects.
3. Industry lobbied ag-gag laws in the U.S. are eroding our rights.
Ag-gag laws are making it dangerous to expose the truth about how the animals that become your food are being bred, raised and slaughtered.
Did you know you can be fined, jailed, and, if the agriculture industry had its way, labeled a terrorist for blowing the whistle on unsafe and inhumane practices on farming operations? Forget asking how that’s legal — how is that sane?
4. Those big environmental organizations we’ve been supporting all these years are failing to address the problem.
Plenty more surprises were in store, but want to know the number one shocker? Greenpeace, Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, Oceana, 350.org, the list goes on and on — none of these organizations are addressing the number one cause of environmental destruction on the planet. Why?
I had to know — why isn’t this information being plastered across every newspaper in the world, much less the home pages of all the organizations that say their entire mission is saving the environment?
I and my fellow filmmaker Keegan Kuhn set out to investigate what was going on. What we found shocked and alarmed us, and left us determined to expose the truth. Because how can we save the world if the number one threat to its survival isn’t even being talked about?
COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret tells the story of what we found.