Please don’t take my tag away from me! (What I learned from Cowspiracy)

Whenever there is a new documentary on Netflix promising to get our wheels turning, we always watch it. Watch, absorb, discuss, research and make necessary changes. So when Leonardo DiCaprio (my favorite eco-celebrity) posted that “Cowspiracy” was available, we knew we had to watch it.

There’s a lot to be learned from watching this amazing movie about how agriculture, raising livestock and eating meat, beef in particular, impact our environment. I will not be able to do the movie justice by attempting to summarize what it’s all about; you have to see it (and listen!) for yourself.

Personally, we knew eating meat was bad for the environment (cow burps and farts = methane), but honestly, we had no idea to what extent.

Water usage, meat vs. plant
Water usage, meat vs. plant

One of the sources interviewed in this fantastic movie said something like; “No meat-eater can call themselves an environmentalist”. Based on the fact that livestock is the largest global source of methane and nitrous oxide pollution, number one reason for deforestation, causes drought and produces excessive amounts of waste, to name a few issues; there’s no doubt that he is right.

This blog is all about tags. I’m always saying we must check the tag to see what something contains, where something is made, what a brand stands for. Tags and labels are important, and when it comes to myself, I like to think my tag says “made in Sweden”, contents: opinionated (150% of daily recommended value) environmentalist. I can’t have my tag taken away from me!! I’ve built a whole blog around my tag! Must eat better!

Land it takes to have a steak.
Land it takes to have a steak.

We saw the movie a few months ago, and since then, low, lower, lowest meat consumption for me and hubby. It’s not like we ate beef several times a week, and I was already doing meat-free-lunch every day, but we’ve stepped up our game dramatically. It hasn’t been a very hard change for me to be honest. But, yes, I do need to work on my vegan-cooking skills. I love cooking, so I am sure I’ll get better in time (that’s the optimist in me talking).

You know we’re saving for our first made right (here) Tesla, and here’s an interesting fact from the movie; switching to an electric vehicle (from a gas driven) will save a teeny bit more CO2 per year, than what switching to a plant based diet from a meat based diet will (only talking CO2 not the other worse greenhouse gases). But, how easy is it to change the purchases at the grocery store today compared to saving up and buying a new car? Exactly, that’s a no-brainer; start at the grocery store. Combined, these two changes are dynamite – in a good way.

We must all admit that we don’t know everything, and we all have the right to be wrong – that’s the cool thing about being human. We are wrong to eat meat in the vast amounts that we are, and the solution is really simple.

This movie got the world talking. It got me and my friends talking. Thank you Leo and Cowspiracy, that is truly grand.

3 gases

Pictures are from Cowspiracy’s Facebook page and copyright Culinary Schools.org. Read more at cowspiracy.com.

Personal note: I reduce the amount of non-recyclable packaging I bring into our home, by not buying meats. It’s also easier to check tags on veggies than it is on meats (and processed foods) making it easy to shop local.

2 thoughts on “Please don’t take my tag away from me! (What I learned from Cowspiracy)

  1. Hello! Ashley from Whistle Pig Hollow here. I’m a fellow aspiring zero-waster and I’m also a meat eater. I have not watched the documentary, but I will! I also love watching new eye opening documentaries and am excited to find out about a new one.

    So here are my thoughts. (1) It is the industrial food system itself that is so harmful to our environment, not just the animal products produced by it. As a meat eater, I absolutely don’t support conventional meat- the conditions for the animals are horrid, the implications for the environment are bad, and the unhealthy animals are bad for our health! But I believe it’s just as important to also not purchase non-meat items such as veggies (and anything really) from “big ag.” It’s grown far away typically, transported a long way to get to our tables, often packaged in plastic, the large mono-crop growing is depleting to our soils, etc. I strongly believe eating food grown and raised locally and organically is so important. (2) As “homesteaders” we’ve been growing/raising our own meat for the last several years- we have purchased none from the grocery store. That experience has taught me a few things. Our cows, for instance, never once had grain, because cows should be “grassfed” and “grass finished.” While, yes, they take up land to graze, they are not harmful and are actually a beneficial part of replenishing the soil. Other meat animals- chickens and pork, for example- do require some supplementary grains even if they are raised on pasture, but they require way less feed than animals raised in confinement. (3) Animals are actually necessary to fertilize and enrich the soil. Veggies- even organic- are fertilized with blood meal and feather meal from animal processing. If the animals are raised in a rotational grazing manner, they can really benefit the soil and their manure can be composted into the most amazing fertilizer. Unfortunately all of these systems are segmented in the industrial food system, so things that should be of great benefit (animal manure!) are environmental hazards when not used and not spread around.

    Sorry to write a novel, but I’ve been really wanting to discuss this with someone! I believe a soybean processed into a fake chicken tender and shipped across the continent is much more environmentally harmful than a locally raised chicken tender. Local all the way!

    Like

    1. Novels welcome!

      I agree with you completely on “local all the way”, it’s my whole mission. I also agree on your points on organic farming, which is also what I try to buy all the time (as long as it’s not imported)

      I don’t eat pretend-meats or tofu. I saw “How it’s made” on tofu and that is indeed a very processed food, that I won’t eat. I feel like that’s a meat-eater’s view of vegetarian or vegan food though, and it’s a little off. The key, which I also feel the movie is inspiring, is to cook differently, re-think the menu. For example, if I’d go into a vegan Indian restaurant, even as a meat-eater, I wouldn’t look at my plate and wonder where the steak is, as the meal I am having was not intended to have a meat side… So there’s no need for processed replacement meats.

      I tend to agree with you that cows can be beneficial to the soil, I can’t say I’m in any way an expert, and won’t argue that one! Your family has a unique access to meat and dairy as homesteaders that most other people don’t have. The movie, and the movement to go vegan, is important because we don’t have enough land on this earth to support everyone having a little farm or a homestead. The masses who live in cities have to get their food from somewhere outside of the city… in a somewhat industrial way. By eliminating industrial meat and dairy, we’d do the planet a favor, stop cruelty, corruption etc. It is also a huge problem, especially in US, with people not responding to antibiotics, as they’ve eaten meat containing it their whole life. List goes on.

      So, yes, it’s the industrial meat and dairy that is enemy no 1, in my opinion. But we can’t all go local, for obvious reasons. Plant based is sustainable for the masses. So even for someone who eats their home grown meat, advocating a vegan lifestyle still makes sense…

      Can’t wait to hear what you think of the movie!! (they do visit a small family farm and talk about about the CO2 released also when the soil is happy and the cows are)

      Like

Something to say? Please leave me a comment :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s