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  1. I just watched the documentary Cowspiracy, now available on Netflix. It's a great film about how animal agriculture on land and fishing/farming in our oceans are the #1 cause of nearly all forms of environmental degradation, including greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, deforestation, water depletion, topsoil erosion & species extinction. Up to 51% of greenhouse gas emissions are a direct or indirect result of animal agriculture, for example, by some credible analyses. The filmmakers interview quite a number of experts who recognize how big a problem these practices are, including the recognition that "sustainable fishing and aquaculture" are a joke (sorry Saul). Nearly all the species of fish in our ocean are seriously depleted, and the bycatch on even those fish species considered "sustainable" is 5-to-1, meaning for every pound of wild fish that are caught, there are 5 pounds of other fish species that are destroyed in the process. But the most shocking thing is how the major environmental advocacy groups (Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Oceana, etc.) refuse to focus on or even acknowledge that raising and harvesting animals / animal products for human consumption are the major problem when it comes to environmental devastation. Going into the film, I figured the reason these organization are ignoring the "cow in the room" would be that they were being paid off by the big agribusinesses who benefit from their silence. But the filmmakers suggest it is something else, namely they are afraid to alienate their constituents and major source of funding, average environmentally-concerned citizens. These constituents are concerned enough about the environment to turn the faucet off when brushing their teeth, and give $20 to the Sierra Club in order to feel good about helping the environment. But the environmental organizations figure that asking these supporters to consider doing something that could have a real impact, changing their eating habits to reduce or eliminate animal products, will strike a nerve - the cognitive dissonance would be too great and they'll lose members & contributions. So instead they focus on relatively minor contributors to our environmental problems. Pretty sad if you ask me... I highly recommend the movie to anyone concerned about the future of the planet. --Dean
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