Can you cut 1 Tonne of carbon pollution out of your life?Take the challenge
It's the documentary that everyone's talking about, seems to bring up in online forums, and is the one film that your vegan friend has been begging you to watch.
So, what's the beef with Cowspiracy?
The documentary focuses on the impact of livestock production on the planet: the enormous amount of greenhouse gases this industry creates, the power and influence of the animal agriculture industry, and some of the cruel practices routinely carried out as part of meat and dairy production.
Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, you can stream the film at the Cowspiracy website.
What is animal agriculture?
Animal agriculture is the practice of breeding animals for the production of animal products and for recreational purposes. In everyday life, animal agriculture links to our demand for meat.
Here are some resources to help you get informed about animal agriculture and meat consumption:
The bigger picture
Documentaries such as Cowspiracy are part of a growing debate around food production, animal welfare and the environmental impact of our food. More and more, people are asking questions about what's on our plate: where it's from, how it was produced, and whether it's a sustainable option.
We're used to seeing stories in the media about live exports of animals for slaughter, whether food is free range, hormone free, gluten free, organic, biodynamic, grass fed… the list goes on!
It's also becoming confusing for consumers who want to make a responsible choice, especially as terms such as "sustainable meat" don't have just one definition, but may actually refer to a number of different farming and animal management practices.
1 Million Women is empowering women and girls around the world to lower their impact on the planet. If you love what we do, please support our work by donating a couple of dollars. For the price of a cuppa, you can help us inspire millions more! (click to donate)
A sustainable future isn't just about meat
As Simon Lamey so eloquently put in this article, "This is not about turning us all vegan; this is about finding a sustainable diet for each person on this planet from now to 2050."
While the issues are not as black and white as "meat is bad" and "plants are good", the overall trend is that we need to reduce our meat consumption in order to avoid further environmental going into the future.
Read more on this topic: How reducing the consumption of animal products benefits the environment
Eating less meat has also been show to positively affect your health. A report from Chatham Housefound that on average, people in industrialised countries such as Australia and the US eat twice as much meat as is deemed healthy by experts. This is leading to an increase in diseases such as obesity and type-2 diabetes.
What you can do
For regular meat eaters, try cutting out 1 red meat meal each week. By cutting out one 150g red meat meal a week you can save approximately 195kg of CO2 in a year.
Always ask where your food is coming from, and make the most ethical and sustainable choices based on what is available to you. Use your power as a consumer!
READ THIS NEXT: 1 Million Women's guide on adapting to a plant-based diet
Images: Shutterstock and Unsplash