Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Mooving Forward

This past weekend I watched Cowspiracy on Netflix and I am questioning everything in my life. This MOOvie hit real close to home because I feel like everything I believe in and support is a complete and UTTER hoax. (I will try to keep my cow puns to a minimum, but no promises). The most interesting and shocking thing in the moovie did not even concern beef; it was about fish! Fish makes up a large majority of tropical nation's diets as well as a good portion of other countries' diets. But fishing in our oceans is unsustainable because no amount of fishing can be supported by the current production. Or at least in the way that fishing is being done today. Most of the fishing that is done today is indiscriminate, meaning that people go out with trawlers and large nets and catch whatever swims into their nets. These nets often catch unwanted fish, including sharks, whales, and dolphins, and these marine organisms often become bykill. Even though sharks, whales, and dolphins are not targeted by fisherman due to international agreements, they still do a whole lot of damage to these populations because they accidentally catch them and are not able to release them before they die. A shocking statistic that the moovie shared was that for every one pound of sustainably caught fish, about five pounds of large marine organisms are also killed. At the rate that fishing is being done, there will be nearly zero fish left in the ocean by 2048. That is insane because the ocean is humongous and most of the fish in the oceans have not even been discovered. This is a crazy problem and is making me reconsider eating fish, even if it says that it was sustainably caught.

Healthy food is not quite the same thing as sustainable food. Eating healthy means getting all of your required nutrients and calories. Eating sustainably means eating food that has small environmental impacts and can support the population for many years to come with minimal environmental degradation. Cowspiracy touched on this indirectly, but nonetheless focused on how cows and other domesticated animals use a lot of resources for a considerably small amount of nutrients. It is not very sustainable to base  your diet on proteins that require a significant amount of resources. It's important to have protein in your diet, but there are other foods that require less inputs that have just as much or more protein than beef. If you think about it, it should be a lot cheaper to live on a sustainable diet because all of the food that you would eat would require less inputs for it to grow. If everyone were to stop eating beef, there would be huge economic losses for people in the agricultural sector. But there does need to be some kind of change that will allow for people to continue to prosper, even while diminishing the amount of cows that they produce. Environmentally, it would be most ideal for the cow industry to die out, but this will never fully happen. People like meat, so it is going to be hard to convince them to stop eating just for the environment. It's definitely going to be hard for me to consider eating meat after that movie, but its also hard for me to not eat meat because it makes up a large part of my diet. What's going to be even more difficult for me to not swallow is less dairy. Dairy uses so much water and grain to produce and is just as bad as eating meat. The vegan doctor in the movie described milk as baby calf growing food because it is designed to make small calves into large cows. We don't necessarily need dairy, it's just one of human's best tasting cultivations.

After watching this moovie, I am seriously reconsidering my diet. I don't feel like I eat a whole ton of meat, but I think I am going to seriously cut down my consumption of meat. Eventually, I'd like to be a vegetarian who enjoys some meat on a rare occasion. Even further down the road, I hope to become a vegan who enjoys cheese every now and again. I don't want to fully cut meat and dairy from my diet because they are delicious. Also, it's unrealistic for me to entirely cut out any food while I'm living at home and not buying my own food. I will be suggesting to my mom to reduce the amount of meat that we have in our house because of the things that I have learned from this moovie. Once I fully mooooove out, I will take serious steps towards becoming full vegetarian and possibly vegan. Until then, I will be focusing on reducing my meat consumption to at least once every two weeks.

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