Eating Our Way to Extinction

Vegans will inherit the earth.

(2020) Documentary (Seine) Kate Winslet (narration), Sir Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, Otto Brockway, Joanne Kong, Joseph Poore, Peter Wadhams, Jeremy Rifkin, Bruce Friedrich, Tara Garnett, Roger Roberts, Oliver de Schurrer, Gerard Winterbern, Dr. Sylvia Eagle, Don Staniford, Liv Holmefjord, Udo Erasmus, Gemma Newman, Taryn Bishop. Directed by Ludo and Otto Brockway

 

Climate change is, without a doubt, one of the signature agenda items of our generation. It might surprise you, though, to learn that one of the leading contributors to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere come from what you might consider a harmless source: animal husbandry. The raising of animals for food creates an enormous amount of hydrocarbons but in order to keep all those animals fed, much of the crops that we grow go directly to them and not to hungry humans. It does seem somewhat bizarre.

This slick, well-meaning documentary charts how our lust for hamburgers and chicken nuggets are leading to an absolutely ruinous future. Oscar-winner Kate Winslet narrates, soberly ticking off points and captioning footage that is, to say the least, disturbing. The makers of the film claim that this movie will change the way you look at food, and it might very well do that.

Now, there are an awful lot of scientific talking heads, and that’s all well and good, but it can get a little bit dry, although the nifty animations help. What I found to be a major failing of the film, though, was that it seems to be presenting veganism as the only solution to the problem. That doesn’t take into account that humans have been raising animals for food for thousands of years and it is only recently that it’s become a problem. And while I admire the passion behind the project, I don’t appreciate being hammered over the head with a point of view that reminds me of an overzealous Christian missionary trying to convert me to Evangelical Christianity.

But it IS a problem, and we need to insist that our meat comes from healthier sources and not factory farms. Whenever possible, buy locally sourced meat and yes, that may be more expensive, but we should also be eating more vegetables anyway. I don’t think that the solution is for the entire planet to go vegan – that would bring on a whole slew of other problems. There is a tendency to think that because a problem is extreme that an extreme solution is required. What we need is to act in moderation. Eat less meat. Eat healthier meals. If we can stop consuming the massive amounts of beef, pork and chicken that we do, we can actually slow down climate change. But we also need to regulate Big Agriculture and their use of toxins like pesticides, growth hormones, dyes and preservatives. This movie, while on the strident side, gives us a good starting point in how to change our ways to make a difference for future generations.

The movie is playing tonight only as part of Fathom Events. Check your local listings to find the nearest theater playing it. Otherwise it will be appearing on most major streaming platforms later this fall.

REASONS TO SEE: Intelligently presented.
REASONS TO AVOID: Tends to hammer the viewer over the head with its points.
FAMILY VALUES: There are some disturbing images.
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: The Brockway brothers also directed the official promo for Virgin Galactic.
CRITICAL MASS:As of 9/16/21: Rotten Tomatoes: No score yet; Metacritic: No score yet.
COMPARISON SHOPPING: Fed Up
FINAL RATING: 6/10
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No Responders Left Behind

4 thoughts on “Eating Our Way to Extinction

  1. Avoiding meat is not just for climate change, it is totally unnecessary to kill an animal for food. Plants provide as much if not more of the protein than meat that we need. In fact the animal got its protein from the plants in the animal feeds and not from meat. so why get your protein second hand when you can get it directly from the plants? We are running out of resources like water, so each time we eat meat someone somewhere are dying from thirst. the most important point is you do not support the suffering and killing of animals at the rate of 210 millions a day, excluding sea food and fishes. You have a choice to be compassionate why do you want to choose your personal taste over the suffering and killing of innocent intelligent animals? sincerely yours with deep gratitude.

    • Thank you for your comments. The Vegan argument that plants provide all the nutritional needs of human beings (and in fact do a better job of it than consuming animals do) isn’t completely true. Vegans have to supplement their diets with B12 and Omega-3s which plants don’t provide as readily. As for being compassionate to animals, there is that, but the cold fact of the matter is that for us to survive, we must kill living organisms, whether animal-based or plant-based. If you wish to say that plants are less entitled to life than animals, that is your right (and you’re probably not wrong) but understand that is the nature of life that we must kill and consume living things in order to continue living ourselves. You may choose to live however you wish, and as far as water shortages, that is obviously a very real issue but there are certainly other options other than turning the entire species vegan. The bulk of the water used on this planet goes to agriculture in any case; whether we are feeding animals or humans that will not change unless we begin thinking outside the box. Thanks for your comments!

      • Sorry to say but you are incredibly misinformed and clearly everything the documentary said has gone over your head. Animals are fed B12 supplements. Vegans just take the supplements… directly. Omega 3 in fish originates from algae in their food chain (which again was said in the documentary). Vegans just take the algae supplements… you guessed it- directly. Sorry but I’m not even going to address the “plants have feelings too!” argument because it is beyond absurd to compare chopping a carrot to slicing an animal’s throat. And the bulk of water and land goes to ANIMAL agriculture- not any agricultural- which again, was mentioned in the documentary. The reason animals are abused and the environment is doomed is because people want to continue justifying their selfish ways of living. There’s no justification. There’s no right way to do the wrong thing.

      • *Sigh* You might try reading the response a little more carefully rather than getting up in a lather that everything went over my head. I said very CLEARLY that Vegans have to take supplements – which they do. The Vegan argument that a Vegan diet provides all the nutritional needs that are required for human beings isn’t true. The film pointed out that the largest chunk of total agriculture goes to animal agriculture – a point I’m not arguing. What I AM saying is that even if we change to a plant-based diet universally (which isn’t likely to happen), the bulk of our water and land will CONTINUE to go to agriculture, whether or not it is meant for feeding animals or humans. I agreed with the point that we need to change our ways, but what needs to change is factory farming which is responsible for nearly all the abuse that goes on – most small farmers and ranchers treat their animals with respect. And, as I said in the original review, we went three thousand years of animal husbandry without causing the kind of issues that we now face. It is possible to continue to eat meat without killing the planet, which is a point the movie doesn’t make. You, like the filmmakers, have an agenda and wish the entire planet to conform to it. Sorry, but I don’t agree.

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