Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (2014)
Directed By: Kip Andersen, Keegan Kuhn
Written By: Kip Andersen, Keegan Kuhn
Rating: NR (US) Running Time: 1 hr 25 min
Cowspiracy points out the green house gas-producing elephant (or more accurately, cow in this case) in the room. A relatively short, crowd-funded documentary that points a finger at several prominent environmental groups, as they either don’t understand or willfully ignore the impact animal agriculture has on our planet. While simultaneously illustrating the terrible return on investment when it comes to the amount of water, land and food it takes to produce a single hamburger.
I thought this documentary’s approach was interesting. On the one hand it could seem unfair to scream conspiracy and target groups that dedicate their existence to worthy causes. Like a Vegan giving a Vegetarian a hard time for frying an egg, while a guy nearby gleefully devours a bloody steak . On the other, it does warrant the question – why are these groups not tackling what many scientists believe is the No. 1 cause of man-made climate change? If they claim to care about the planet, why are they avoiding this topic?
The answers (as delivered in this film) mostly point to the power and influence of the animal agriculture industry. As they willfully ignore climate science, and fiercely defend (sometimes violently) their unsustainable approach to food production for a rapidly growing world population. As that industry likely sees it – more people means we’ll need more cows, chickens and fish. So let’s do what ever it takes to produce this product, irregardless of the terrible impact it has on our planet.
That impact, plus the insanity of this approach is nicely illustrated in Kip Andersen’s and Keegan Kuhn’s film. Though they do on occasion slap shocking stats on the screen (so shocking they don’t seem credible) without immediately breaking down the individual components to explain that information. Like when they say it takes 660 gallons of water to produce a single hamburger, and then deliver the breakdown later in the film. Possibly after losing the more stubborn meat-eating viewer, looking for any excuse to hit the stop button.
The way this film delivers its information is mostly designed to teach, rather than preach, which is a good thing. And the calm relaxed non-confrontational delivery of this information should have anyone viewing it, reconsider their diet. And while I doubt viewers will go all out Vegan after seeing this, they certainly might consider being meat free for most of the week, or explore the options of vegetarianism.
This film mostly relies on clean easy to read charts and graphics to illustrate its argument. There are however, some very brief moments of animal cruelty that are hard to watch.
This film will be serviced perfectly well on a TV, laptop or tablet.
The way this movie uses clean fun graphics to illustrate its message.