The First European Screening of “Cowspiracy” AND Our Chat With Producer Kip Andersen

October 2, 2014 by Elskamor
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Kip Andersen is the producer of the environmental documentary Cowspiracy – The Sustainability Secret. Kip is a fellow traveler along the road from vegetarianism to veganism, a yoga lover (and certified Jivamukti Yoga instructor), as well as an artist and musician. But don’t let yourself be fool by his creative talents, he is also a successful entrepreneur. He currently runs three businesses and recently released Cowspiracy – a film whose impact people compare to Blackfish and Forks over Knives.

Cowspiracy explores the topic of animal agriculture and its destructive environmental impacts. Kip discovers that even if we take every car off the road, take shorter showers and recycle, we won’t be able to reverse the environmental impact caused by animal agriculture. The film investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are not talking about the severe negative impacts of animal agriculture. Elskamor will be at the premiere of the movie in Berlin on October 14th 8pm. You can buy and reserve your tickets here.

We interviewed Kip a couple of days ago and would like to share the highlight with you. You can watch the trailer to get a glimpse of the movie or skip straight to the Q&As.

 

You took a lot of risks in the creation of this film. Please tell us about those and why you chose to focus on the environmental aspect?

I discovered the destruction of the environment that is caused by the animal industry, and I found out one thing about the green house gases, and then another thing, and then another thing about the water use, and about the species extinction. And then I looked on the big and favorite non-profit environmental websites, and I couldn’t find anything on there about this topic. I was shocked so I tried to contact them. I tried not just for months, but for years and years to get a response. So eventually I thought I have to make this movie. I have to get this message out there because no one else was saying anything. Honestly I thought someone would be making a movie about this and it just never happened so I teamed up with Keegan, and we just began.

Where you already an environmentalist?  Would you describe yourself as one? What did you discover what was that catalyst point to drive you in this path?

Well I thought I was doing everything I could, taking shorter showers, turning off lights, biking, you know just doing those things that you think you are doing your contribution. And then I initially found out a fact about greenhouse gases of animal agriculture – the number varies greatly anywhere from 9% to 18% to 51% – but essentially it is greater than all the green house gases caused by the entire transportation sector, cars, trains, planes, everything all put together and I couldn’t believe it. I also found out about water use. For example, California is experiencing a drought, and they have this water restrictions laws that you could get a fine if you are not using water properly. But they don’t tell you that if you just eat one hamburger you are essentially wasting up to the equivalent of showering two entire months; two whole months just for one hamburger.  So all these little things I was doing was not really doing much compared to the decision I was doing with my diet.

There are a lot of different numbers in term of how much percent animal agriculture actually contributes to greenhouse as emission, and we know you are really diligent with your data. Would you tell us where you found your most reliable data?

The discussion around the data and especially on that number is a controversial one. And that’s the thing, people say, who are Keegan and I? Are we scientist? We are not. I follow my journey were I discovered these things and that 18% was a 2006 study of the UN report.  The UN did a report and they said it was 18% versus 13%* and then in 2009 the World Watch Institute** which is affiliated with the World Bank, they have ties in some ways, they did a study much more in-depth and they said it was 51%. And so we have that in the film and I mean that is such a big variance and then you’ll see the newest UN reports said it was 14%. On the animal agriculture side they have their scientist of course and they say 9%. The more people I talked to on the road and scientist, they feel somewhere around 30%, and it’s growing.

Read here for further information on this topic: United Nations Report, 2006, Livestock’s Long Shadow and World Watch Institute, 2009, State of the World 2009: Into A Warming World.

You faced a lot of challenges during the production of this film, what kept you motivated to go on with this project?

A big challenge was getting interviews with environmental organizations that just do not want to talk about – ironically – the very thing that they supposedly supporting. We made a film about sustainability and that’s our foot in the door, and when we set up the interview we do mention that animal agriculture will be one of the topics. But man, once you mentioned anything about the impact of animal agriculture on climate change people just don’t want to talk to you. That’s the really interesting part of the story. Why are these organisations that make millions collectively billions of dollars to protect the environment not wanting to talk about the very thing that is hurting the environment more than anything else. It is kind of like if you are the lung cancer society and you are not going to talk about cigarette smoking as the number one thing. It is just so bizarre.But to realize this is what is destroying the planet, the number one thing, our motivator is that people need to know about this. Because if people are not at least aware then they can’t make inform decisions and we are all on this together.

What did you find out during this production that surprised you the most?

A couple of things. The other information leading up to the film we kind of already knew. I found some of this stuff years ago, so I knew a lot of it. But what I really didn’t know and was really surprising, it’s about the wild horses in the west between the western states and mid-west. In the United States we have tens of thousands of mustang, beautiful wild horses and they ran free, up until recently. Now, there are more wild horses in captivity, over fifty thousand. They captivate them, round them up because they share the same property as ranchers and their grass-fed cows. They put these cows in public lands for a fraction of the costs, for almost only pennies, and one cow takes up around 50 acres (~ 20 hectares), just one cow.  The cows compete for the same water and the same food as the horses, so what the rancher does, they say round up all these horses, get them off, kill all the wolves, all the cougars (mountain lions), all the predators, the coyotes.

You are having a screening here on October 14th. What about other European showings?

Yeah, we are having one in London, Amsterdam and Berlin.

Would you like to give a short pitch on why Berliners should see this movie and what they should do have seen it?

Really support those that do tell the truth and don’t support those that don’t. And tell these groups why. And then realise it’s not up to politicians and it’s not up to even environmental groups, it’s up to us. So a big thing is spreading the truth, spreading the message about what’s going on. If people know the truth about this, then they can make informed decisions beyond our circle of vegans and vegetarians. Because a lot of people just don’t care about animals. I’m an ethical vegan first and foremost. But a lot more people care about their health, a lot of people care about the future and their survival and their kids survival. And that’s why people like this film because it’s very logical. There is some emotional stuff, but it’s like “hey do you want to survive?”, because this is what’s being done. The thing is just to spread these messages of what’s going on because now people who do eat meat and dairy need to be held accountable. They are the ones, and I call it second-hand eating, like second-hand smoking. If someone walks into your house and they are smoking a cigarette you say put that out, this is my place, you are making us sick, please leave. But if someone is eating meat and dairy you can’t say please eat that on another planet? Where other people in the past used to say don’t put your ethics on me. Do what you want to do, that’s fine, you’re vegetarian, but don’t tell me how to eat. That’s not the case anymore. With seven billion people and nine billion people what everyone does effects everyone. And that’s very important to note. Vegans and vegetarians are finally having voices and saying no, this is why I am making these films and these tools.

So, what are you hoping this film will inspire people to do?

The dream would be that everyone is vegan. You know in religion it says do unto others, it does not say do unto other humans. It says thou shall not kill, not thou shall not kill other humans, it’s thou shall not kill. Once we are all vegans and we’ve set the animals free, and we don’t have this bloody trail following us, then I feel wars will stop, you know everything just goes into line. Our rainforests come back, our peace within ourselves, our spirituality. It is just truly the next step in the evolution. This transformation is happening so fast. People who are vegetarian or vegan are by nature very sensitive and prone to see the bad, because we are very empathetic. But to really realize that this movement is happening so fast and you can see this right there in Germany. Realise the shift is happening and we are on the winning side and everyone is catching up with us. We are the leaders not the weirdos.

 

UPDATE: You can now watch “Conspiracy” on Netflix!

 

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