Movie: “The Impact of Animal Agriculture”

ART I: Introduction (10 pts)

As an introduction for this assignment, watch the short video “What if Everyone Ate Beans Instead of Beef?” about how to reduce one’s personal carbon footprint. Then check out and respond to the three items below. Here is the link! (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

1. What are your initial thoughts on the first video and on the topic of animal agriculture in relationship to Climate Changec? (50-100 words minimum)

2. There is a population crisis – but probably not the one you think (Monbiot, G. 2015). To see this, search the internet and use approximate numbers where needed.

a. How many people are there in the world? What does the average person weigh? Multiply the two numbers and get the total weight of people in the world?

b. How many cows are there in the world? What does the average cow weigh? Multiply the two numbers and get the total weight of cows in the world?

c. Compare the total weight of people in the world and the total weight of cows in the world, if you are not sure of your numbers, compare with a fellow classmate. What are your thoughts on this comparison?

d. To meet growing demands for beef and dairy around the world, the cow population is predicted to grow significantly faster than the human population (Monbiot, G. 2015). Discuss your initial thoughts on the different ways this growing cow population will impact the earth. (50-100 words minimum) (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

3. Read Paul Hawken’s short overview on a “Plant-Rich Diet” and answer the following questions. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

a. What is the amount of global emissions attributed to a meat-centric Western Diet?

b. If cattle were their own nation, what number would they rank for world emissions?

4. What place is the US in for consuming the most beef in the world and how much do they consume? Look in the “Consumption” column at the following link. ( (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

5. Factory food production has become very large scale. Following is a short 6-minute “Samsara” food sequence video that gives a glimpse into the current scale of factory food production. Discuss two things that struck you most. (“Samsara” can be described as the cycle from beginning to end.)

Note: Although the filming is an artistic representation of mass food production in our culture, the video does contain graphic filming of animals in factory food production and may be uncomfortable viewing, therefore it is not required to watch.

Samsara: Food Sequence (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. SAMSARA food sequence

PART II: COWspiracy – The Sustainability Secret (14 pts) Skip this part if you did not watch the movie.

Watch the movie at the link at the start of the assignment. (Watch with a friend or group if possible.)

1. From the movie, what is the % cause of climate change attributed to animal agriculture? (different numbers are stated, see if you can catch them all)

2. From the movie, what % of rainforests is being destroyed by slash and burn agriculture to raise cattle and to grow feedcrops for cattle?

3. From the movie, how many gallons of water are required to produce 1 lb. of beef? Discuss three reasons why this much water is needed.

4. After watching the movie COWspiracy and completing the Introduction, discuss your thoughts on animal agriculture and the related impacts on climate change. Also discuss your thoughts on if or how our culture could make changes as a result of this information. There are no wrong answers here. (100-200 words minimum)

Note: This documentary refers to a non-peer reviewed article that shows 51% of climate change is caused by animal agriculture (Goodland and AnHang 2009). A review of all of the research currently available shows the impact to range from a low of 14.5% (FAO 2013) to the mentioned high of 51%. Keep watching as this area of research develops.

PART III: Is Reducing Consumption of Animal Products Healthy? (4 pts)

This part of the assignment is to provide a short background that eating a plant-based diet with less animal products, while being healthy for the planet, can also be a healthy option for people. Provide responses to the following two items.

1. To recover faster and stay competitive as they age, many athletes are moving toward plant-based diets in many sports, even sports such as Mixed Martial Arts, 100 Mile Ultramarathons, and the NFL and NBA. In fact, the NBA may be the sport where players are embracing plant-based diets the fastest! ( (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.).

Name 3 plant-based athletes in 3 different sports of your choice and what they have accomplished. If you don’t follow sports, you can select from the following athletes. (You would also find it fascinating to read about each of these incredible athletes!)

Scott Jurek/UltraRunner, Ruth Heidrich/Ironman Triathlete, Patrik Babaumian/Strongman, Venus William/Tennis, Tom Brady/Football, Heather Mills/Skier, Carl Lewis/Sprinter, Leilani Munter/Race Car Driver, Mac Danzig/Mixed Martial Arts, and Fiona Oakes/Marathoner.

2. In 2005, National Geographic published an article “The Secrets of a Long Life” ( (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.). Provide responses for the following:

a. What are the Blue Zones referenced in the article? (search the internet for “Blue Zones” to find the answers)

b. What are the longevity diets in the Blue Zones? (search the internet for “Blue Zones longevity diets” to find the answers)

c. Discuss how you think the Blue Zone longevity diets would impact climate change? (50-100 words minimum)

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