vegansaurus!

09/15/2014

Cowspiracy: the environmental documentary with a new message the world needs to hear  »

imagePicture from the premier, from Splice Photography’s FB

Last month, I went to the Cowspiracy NYC premier. I was not prepared to be so moved! I went into the theater like, “OMG I’m tired and work is annoying and now I have to see a documentary and learn shiz” and I left like, “OMG I’M SO GLAD I’M VEGAN HOW CAN WE MAKE THE WORLD VEGAN?!”

The movie starts as a first-person journey to sustainability for Kip Andersen. He’s a self-proclaimed environmentalist, but it’s not until some serious digging that Kip discovers the devastating impact of the meat and dairy industries on the environment. As someone who turns to organizations like Greenpeace and Surfrider for info and guidance, Kip wonders why they have almost no information on the number one cause of environmental destruction (i.e. meat and dairy). He goes to speak to these organizations and films interviews (sometimes secretly). The interviews are nothing short of hilarisad (my own word, you can use it). By the middle of the movie, we have what shapes up to be a very real conspiracy. I know, sounds melodramatic, but watch the movie. There is no more appropriate word than conspiracy. The groups that are supposed to be helping the environment are spitting out more crap than a factory farm. Really, it’s bonkers. 

imageThis guy was my fave. 

At the beginning of the movie, I was a little put off by the numbers the filmmakers cite, as I know they are all hotly contended. But then it occurred to me, no matter who’s numbers you pick, meat and dairy is still the number one threat to the environment! We can debate the specific numbers all day but no matter where you net out, it’s bad. Here’s a great example from a Beef Magazine article: Why Ranchers Should Care About The Documentary “Cowspiracy”

Of course, Cowspiracy just appears to be regurgitating the common myths the beef industry has worked hard to correct over the years. For example, the Cowspiracy website claims it takes 660 gals. of water to make one hamburger, or the equivalent of 2 months’ worth of showers.

However, according to Facts About Beef, “In reality, it takes 441 gals. of water to produce 1 lb. of boneless beef…” 

Well! A mere 441 gallons. So there’s my point: no matter who’s numbers you use, it’s bad. 

Oh one thing I should warn you about, while the movie is not very gruesome, there is one slaughter scene. But you know it’s about to happen so you can close your eyes, as I did. Because the main focus is environment and not animal welfare, the disturbing images are of effed up forests and whatnot, not abused animals. So if you close your eyes for the one part, you should mostly be ok. EXCEPT you may be SO ANGRY that this shiz is going down!

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One of the filmmakers, Kip Andersen, at the after party with Noah Gittell and Dania DePas of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Photo by Splice Photography

I also attended the after party, organized by vegan media maven Nell Alk. Suite ThreeOhSix was kind enough to host and eats were supplied by Dr. Cow, juicers PitangaThe Vegan VineDun-Well Doughnuts, and Pipsnacks.

And here is my goodie bag in all its splendor! 

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Featuring: candles from Produce Candles, body lotion from Bulldog Skincare, honey sticks from Bee Free Honee, chocolate bars from Brooklyn Dark, white chocolate medallions from Obsessive Confection Disorder, soap bars and bath bombs from LUSH, protein bars from 22 Days Nutrition, lip balm from Hurraw, and coupons for free products from Beyond Meat and Gardein

Plus everything came in eco totes from Minnesota-based brand Relan. They make their bags with recycled billboards! How cool will I look at the farmers market this weekend?! Spoiler: SO COOL!

Basically, the party was the perfect chaser to the movie. Back to the film: I encourage everyone to see it and organize a viewing in your area if you can! 

Here’s how you can see the film yourself:

-For DVD and digital download pre-sale options, visit the Cowspiracy site.
-For information on how to organize—or attend—a screening in your own community, visit the Tugg site.
-Watch for Cowspiracy on Netflix and iTunes this fall.

And follow them on FB for updates and great graphics like this one (my new favorite image):

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08/14/2014

Why don’t major environmental groups take aim at meat? Cowspiracy.  »

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Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is coming to NYC next week and I can’t wait to see it! I’m hoping it answers a long-time frustration of mine: why do environmental groups keep skirting the meat issue?!

Now, I don’t want to attack environmental non-profits. I really don’t. But seriously, how many “water conservation days” or Earth Days do we see promoted that barely, if at all, mention meat and dairy? When boycotting those industries is the most impactful thing an individual can do to help the environment? It’s so ridiculous and I’m so tired of it! I thought they kept diet as a side note because people are so reactionary when you threaten their precious meat, but maybe there is more to it, i.e. C.R.E.A.M.

Watch the trailer to get a little more info:

Cowspiracy is on a screening tour and as I said, it’s coming to NYC a week from today, aka August 21st! Unfortunately, the tickets are sold out. But there’s a waitlist

There are a ton of other screenings coming up all over the country, including Sacremento on August 28th and Philly on September 10th. See when there’s one near you—or plan your own screening! (apparently it’s free and easy)—here

Has anyone already seen it? What did you think? Anyone planning to see it?

06/24/2013

“ The exponential growth of the human population will continue to pose a threat to other species. In other words, there does not appear to be a threshold above which population growth would cease to have an incremental negative effect. „

Just a friendly FYI from “Are We Pushing Animals Over the Edge?,” a study  published this month in the Journal of Human Ecology. Can’t wait till the only non-domesticated animals only live in zoos!

05/29/2013

Get ready for whey in everything again  »

Thanks, Greek yogurt craze.

[Cornell dairy scientist Dave] Barbano, who specializes in filtration methods for separation and recovery of protein, has his sights set on the tiny amount of protein in acid whey. He believes it might be usable as an infant formula ingredient. But first Barbano has to figure out how to extract the protein in a cost-effective way, and his research is just getting underway.

The concept is roughly modeled on the success that cheese-makers have had selling products derived from their own byproduct — sweet whey. Sweet whey is more valuable and easier to handle than acid whey, as it has a lot more protein, and is easier to dry because it isn’t as acidic as Greek yogurt whey. Cheese-makers have developed a lucrative business selling whey protein for use in body-building supplements and as a food ingredient. And Greek yogurt makers are eager to follow suit.

Last year the industry produced more than 150 million gallons of acid whey as a byproduct of making Greek yogurt, and they have no idea how to get rid of it all. Yet. Just wait till they figure out how to make a cheap additive out of it, it’ll be a whey-in-everything party all over again. Like useless dairy byproducts aren’t snuck into enough processed foods already. Like we didn’t have enough reasons to hate the dairy industry.

Read the entire article at Modern Farmer to find out the extent of the decadence and wastefulness of Greek-style yogurt production, facts that you can tell all your yogurt-eating friends as they stand in the dairy aisle, trying to decide between Chobani and Fage. Or, more realistically, you can yell about over a drink with your vegan friends, hoping if you’re loud enough some yogurt-eaters will overhear and mend their ways. Passive-aggressive activism!

[Photo by Jared and Corin via Flickr]

05/17/2013

Great job, humanity: Global warming forces ocean fish to new waters  »

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Global warming is fucking with the fish, and the fish-catching economy is finally catching on. From All Things Considered:

The new study in Nature shows these anecdotes aren’t simply a fluke. Data from fish catches from around the world show it’s happening everywhere the ocean is warming—which is just about everywhere.

So they’re seeing swordfish in Denmark, Mexico-based Humboldt squid in British Columbia, and Atlantic mackerel in Iceland. I wonder what it’ll be like when we’ve made the oceans so hot fish can’t live there anymore. What’ll become of the pescatarians?

"This is suddenly a wake-up call," [Mark Payne at the National Institute for Aquatic Resources in Denmark] says. “It’s a strong suggestion that climate change is here. It’s real, and it’s really starting to affect what we catch and, therefore, what we eat.”

Bye, environment! Nice polluting you!

[Narrow-barred Spanish mackerel photo by Klaus Stiefel via Flickr]

03/13/2013

Polluted English waterways are shrinking otters’ penis bones  »

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All the harmless-to-us chemicals we humans are flushing down our sinks and toilets have effects on the creatures living in our waterways. In England, otters, which made a valiant comeback after being nearly wiped out by chemical pollution, are now turning up with smaller penis bones, which scientists believe is linked to modern contaminants.

Dr Chadwick said: “With many of these contaminants, there can be all sorts of different sources… so it might be things like drugs that we’re taking and they flush through our sewerage systems and end up in the rivers.”

She added that dust from industrial production travelling into the atmosphere could also carry contaminants that end up in rivers as rainfall, even travelling long distances between countries.

Sorry, otters. All those lovely Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals that help us thrive are slowly murdering you.

"People are very quick to say: otters are in our rivers. That must mean rivers are perfect, they’re so clean, everything’s fine again… but it’s not really that simple," said [Countryfile director Anna ] Jones.

[Photo by Keven Law via Flickr]

10/30/2012

Pig factory farms are really bad for the mostly poor, non-white people who live near them  »

Some really depressing news from EHP about how pig factory farms are and how they impacting the lives of the people who live near them. SPOILER ALERT: it’s not giving them magic powers or helping them live really long happy lives!

Wired breaks it down:

… in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, which finds an association between air pollution and odor in the near vicinity of swine farms, and hikes in blood pressure in local residents. When you put the pieces together — most hog confinement operations are in poor, non-white areas; cardiovascular disease is endemic in African Americans;  North Carolina lies within the worst US area for cardiovascular disease, known as the “Stroke Belt” — you can see that anything that makes blood pressure chronically worse is bad news for public health.

That study, though, is just the latest in a long string of publications that Wing and team, and the community they have been studying, have brought forward over the past decade. During the meeting, Wing gave a comprehensive overview of the major problems with confinement agriculture, setting it within a context of environmental injustice and worsening public health.

Ugh, this shit is so bad for everyone, especially poor, non-white people, the folks who are shit on by society the most are now being literally shit on.

I get it, bacon tastes great, I’m not denying that, but the fact is, there are lots of fatty, salty, smoky foods that taste just as good (or almost as good, if you’re truly a crazy person for bacon) and the price that we pay for this obsession is ruining lives. Just fucking give it up, please, it’s better for your health, and the health of everyone else.

10/03/2012

California climate change could put the pika on the endangered species list  »

Pikas are related to rabbits. They’re about the size of hamsters, with no tails and round Mickey Mouse ears. They live in rock piles at high elevations, and are adapted to cold temperatures. When it gets too hot, they hide out under the rocks. So [ecologist Joseph] Stewart is trying to figure out if pikas don’t do well in the heat, what will happen to them as the climate continues to warm.

"They’ve been petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act because of climate change," he explains to the students. "But when the Fish and Wildlife Service reviewed that petition, they pretty much said that we don’t know enough about how pikas are doing. We need more data."

KQED’s Quest had a neat story this week about local middle school students learning practical science while helping ecologists study the Pika, which could be the first species in California “to be listed as threatened primarily because of climate change. If the state starts protecting animals because of climate change, things that affect the climate, like new fossil-fuel power plants or clearcut logging projects, could be slowed.”

It’s interesting. And cool to hear kids learn about science. Read (or listen! Radio!) at KQED.

[Photo by Chris & Lara Pawluk via Flickr]

09/26/2012

International tragedy: Britain’s National Pig Association predicts global bacon shortage  »


Really, it’s true:

[T]he European Union pig herd is declining at a significant rate, and this is a trend that is being mirrored around the world. Pig farmers have been plunged into loss by high pig-feed costs, caused by the global failure of maize and soya harvests.

(“maize and soya” means “corn and soybeans,” but you knew that already.)

Global warming is fucking it up for you meat-eaters all over the place: those cows being fed gelatin and sugar instead of corn; the World Water Week scientists predicting our need for water will make eating meat globally untenable. We are running out of water to nourish everything on the planet that needs water (read: everything on the planet), and raising commercial livestock not only requires massive amounts of water, but it contributes to the global warming that makes water even more difficult to get.

It just gets harder and harder to be a meat-loving food-obsessed asshole, doesn’t it. Even with the Today Show inanely calling this whole thing “ham-maggedon” like colossal fuckfaces. At least it’s not “bacon-gate.” I really hate meat-product fetishists.

[Photo: Oklahoma bacon cheeseburger at Native Foods by Jeff Gunn via Flickr]

(Source: The Huffington Post)

09/12/2012

The 100 most endangered species, in pictures  »


Sumatran rhino, Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, Kalimantan and Sumatra, Indonesia: 250 mature individuals left

The Guardian, a top newspaper for people with brains, has a gallery of the 100 most endangered species, as listed by the IUCN and Zoological Society of London. It’s depressing! Even more depressing, it’s part of a series called The Sixth Extinction: How humans are driving animals and plants to extinction, which includes articles on how endangered wildlife is being (illegally) traded on the internet, and on Ecuador’s Yasuni Park, “the most biodiverse region on Earth,” where people want to drill for oil because what else do you do with all that wildlife?


Spoon-billed sandpiper, Russia, Bangladesh and Myanmar: 100 breeding pairs left

I had this conversation the other day about how, as a disgruntled, in-it-for-the-ethics vegan, it’s hard not to wonder if the world would be better off if whatever apocalyptic event happens and wipes out humanity; you know, end humanity, end humanity’s nonstop abuse of animals (among a million other things). Counterpoint: Hoping for the apocalypse is just another way of expressing depression; it’s our responsibility to not be jerks—not contributing to the exploitation of people/animals/the environment, being kind to other people, living well and appreciating how good we have it, and trying to help everyone have it better. Read all the books about the post-societal gangs of rapist cannibal murderers, while striving for utopia.


Coral tree, Namatimbili-Ngarama Forest, Tanzania: 50 individuals left

These 100 species are considered the most endangered not only because there are so terribly few of them left, but because “they have no obvious benefits for humans.” So cool! What do we even do about this? What does it matter if we cause the death of the greater bamboo lemur, or the Amsterdam albatross? They’re not curing our cancer or assembling our shoes or inventing personal electronic devices; fuck ‘em. We won the evolutionary race, we get to decide who lives and dies from now on. Right?

[photos, from top: ZSL/IUCN; Baz Scampion/ZSL/IUCN; ZSL/IUCN all via the Guardian]

[link via The Editors’ Desk]

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