Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a documentary by Kip Andersen that explores animal agriculture and its devastating effects on the environment and climate change. We find out that animal agriculture is the number one problem that humans should be attempting to fix when it comes to environmental destruction. Despite its significant impact, conservation groups such as Greenpeace and The Sierra Club do not seem to know anything about it, and if they do know something, they are hiding it for some reason. A lot of this film is participatory because it is focused a lot on Kip Andersen’s interaction and conversations with his subjects. He talks to several people on both sides of the argument such as a doctor who highly recommends a vegan lifestyle and cattle ranchers that don’t think what they do has a carbon footprint. A part of the film is also Kip’s personal journey into this subject. He sees an animal slaughter for the first time and frequently says during the film, “I still don’t know…”
The pros outweigh the cons in my opinion. The film offered facts and statistics as well as personal opinions and stories. We hear from both sides of the story as well. And while some might argue that both sides were not fairly represented, the film does not need both sides. The point of any film or documentary, whether implicitly or explicitly, is to have some kind of argument or opinion and Cowspiracy does that successfully. The film also did something that not a lot of films do which is follow the Aristotelian triangle. The triangle says that to have a cohesive and valuable argument you need, logic, ethics, and emotion. This documentary has all three, and it sells it.
There were a few cons with the film. One that stands out is the question of whether everyone can afford to have a sustainable lifestyle such as going vegan. A vegan diet is expensive and the film does not address that. If you or your family is struggling with finances, sometimes it is a lot easier to just get a burger off the dollar menu at Mcdonalds. That being said, however, if you have the financial capabilities and you have the will and the want to change the world, there should be no excuse for at least trying to eat differently. The film mentions “feeding your addiction” which is something I’ve never thought about before. We tend to not think of human beings being addicted to meat but we are to extent. We love to eat it and we are sold on the idea that it is the best way to get your protein. As aforementioned, it is sometimes the cheapest way to get your protein but hopefully one day we can get to a point where affordable plant-based food become the norm and are affordable to everybody.
I consider myself an impressionable person, but I like to think I’m impressionable on the right things. This film made an impression on me, and if making a sincere effort to eat vegetarian and someday vegan is something I can do for the environment, then I’m going to do it. One of my favorite foods is steak, but I think living a sustainable and green lifestyle is much more worth it in the end.