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“Cowspiracy” campaign calls diet the key to planetary sustainability

Cattle herds consume huge amounts of grain that could otherwise feed more people if they ate a plant-based diet
Cattle herds consume huge amounts of grain that could otherwise feed more people if they ate a plant-based diet
Photo by Handout

Studies of food production statistics claim that the world currently produces enough food for 12 billion people. The world currently only has about seven billion people. So where does all this food go? Vegan activists in Metro Denver point to the studies conducted in part by the “Cowspiracy” campaign to emphasize that food enough for five billion yet-to-be-born humans is currently being fed to animals each year-animals that become food for the world’s existing seven billion bipeds.

A showing of the Cowspiracy film was recently hosted at the SIE Film Center, at 2510 E Colfax Ave, Denver as part of an effort to raise awareness to the idea that production of animal-based food products is resource-intensive, and that eating more vegan-a.k.a. plant-derived foods-requires the use of far less resources. Cowspiracy claims “that animal agriculture is responsible for consuming upwards of one-third of all fresh water and occupies upwards of 45% of all land globally. It is the leading cause of ocean dead zones and responsible for upwards of 91% of amazon destruction.”

Slash-and-burn tactics used to clear rainforests for ranches have been on the environmental radar for years, but because the average person is so removed from the actual food production process, they don’t make such connections between the planet and what they eat. The Cowspiracy campaign aims to create awareness, much like the shocking film “Blackfish” triggered massive curiosity about the living conditions of whales in captivity at Seaworld-specifically Orcas, a.k.a. “Killer Whales”.

Cowspiracy’s website includes a multitude of short videos that profile the environmental impact of food production-up to 600 gallons of water to produce a hamburger (including the bun) for example-a conservative estimate compared to some others which peg the water use for one meat-based meal at as many as 3,000 gallons.

Vegan food-and its more-environmentally-friendly level of impact, are called by Cowspiracy as the sustainability secret. United Nations forecasts show that the planet could be home to nearly 11 billion people by 2100. The peak level of the world population has been debated for decades. Doomsayers claim there is no peak in site, while others say the population will level off and begin to shrink, as it is already doing in Japan and in many countries in the Western World.

Even if the population levels off and starts shrinking globally, it won’t happen soon enough to avoid sever impact and strain on the planet’s natural resources. Global warming trends mean some currently arable land will be less productive. Of course, there is also a lot of farm land that is not producing at its potential capacity-National Geographic recently reported that if African farms become able to bump production by two tons of wheat per acre, then the continent, which will be the world’s most populace under current population growth trends, will not only be able to feed all of its people but could even become a net exporter of food.