Earlier this month I spoke with filmmaker Kip Anderson who, along with Keegan Kuhn, has made a very important feature-length documentary, Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret.
In faCE Issue 2 we selected Kip and Keegan as our Recommended Person.
Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret identifies and examines THE most destructive industry on the planet – large-scale factory farming. They back up their facts with one insightful interview after another with industry experts and watchdogs arriving at the clear realization that: “Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean ‘dead zones,’ and virtually every other environmental ill. Yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged.”
At this point, this documentary is only just beginning.
As we noted in our review in Issue 1 of author Jonathan Safran Foer and his book, Eating Animals, sometimes being part of the solution is being able to frame and ask the right questions. Kip takes his realization and directs it back at the spokespersons and leaders of the Sierra Club and other preeminent environmental organizations – the ones that are supposed to be the watchdogs for the environmental movement.
Their reluctance to acknowledge, and when confronted with the facts, their failure to admit to, let alone address animal agriculture, THE paramount cause of environmental and species degradation worldwide, leaves us as well as Kip dumbfounded. Cowspiracy is a jaw-dropping revelation in this regard.
Since the environmental ‘leaders’ have no solutions to the problem they seem unwilling or unable to address, Kip and Keegan take that upon themselves, suggesting a new path to global sustainability.
When I spoke with Kip, I was most interested in his perspective now, months after completing this film:
SE: The solution you arrive at in Cowspiracy is that humankind needs to sharply reduce animal agriculture, and as quickly as possible. Since you’ve released the documentary, what do you now see as the most important paths toward that solution?
KA: As an individual, it’s transforming within yourself, living on a plant-based diet. It’s also important to share this information with everyone. Tag the information you come across out there with the truth about what’s going on.
As a movement, there are several new groups which will soon be arriving on the scene. If existing environmental groups can’t get behind this position, they will be shifted aside by those who do.
I’m very optimistic. A shift is happening really fast. There will be a major shift in public consciousness on this issue over the next couple of years.
SE: Has there been any soul-searching on the part of the environmental groups you interviewed? Have they adopted any new positions or initiatives in this regard?
KA: Recently the Sierra Club polled their members regarding which directions to go. The Rainforest Alliance did a social media campaign regarding the impact of animal agriculture on the environment – but it wasn’t a priority – it wasn’t even on their website. Amazon Watch suggested some vegan lunches and dinners… I’m more disappointed by these groups now than when we made the film.
SE: Why the reluctance on their part? On your site the suggestion is made that they may be ‘afraid.’ Why?
KA: The people in charge of these groups, their boards and the 5% of their donors who contribute the majority of their funding – they eat animal products. They don’t want to have to admit to this if their organization took this position.
Second, they do not want to alienate their top donors. Or risk alienating the majority of their regular donors. They are more concerned with profit over planet. Major donors can have links in the animal industry. They can be on both sides. The organizations even test their campaigns to pre-determine member support, evaluating whether a campaign will be successful or not in that regard - rather than just doing it because it is the right thing to do.
In our interviews and communication with them, we never asked them to tell their members to do something, just to inform their members.
Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret. Watch this film.