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podcast 427 - Cowspiracy - part2

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Location: Issaquah, WA
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Credit: Penny McLoughlin

There was push back on presenting the methane issue to Al Gore. He said that CO2 is hard enough to get people to understand.

Paul said that he felt it was good to have lots of skepticism about the environmental industry but he also feels that it is good to be skeptical of the skeptics.

There was a short interview of Michael Pollen and Paul felt that he looked uncomfortable. There was lots of time from others being interviewed. Paul proposes that perhaps the Michael Pollen interview was much longer but that there was only a small part of it that agreed enough with the movie's mind set to be included.

The movie guy's highlighting of the problems are good but you should be skeptical of the solutions and conclusions that are offered.

DiCaprio was the producer of the movie.

The Sierra Club guy that was interviewed didn't agree with the movie guy's saying that animal agriculture was the worst cause of greenhouse gases. The UN report which says that animal agriculture green house gases are more than anything else was brought up.

Most people that were interviewed thought that fossil fuels were the worst of the greenhouse gas culprits but the movie guy kept bringing up animal agriculture as the worst part of it and the others didn't agree but he said that by removing it, it would also reduce fossil fuels for growing the cattle's food.

Paul says that you can decrease CO2 as either a vegan or as an omnivore.

There was lots of ocean stuff presented that Paul didn't know. Like that there are 5 pounds of waste fish that are discarded for every 1 pound of kept fish.

There was a mention of how there is no way to do sustainable fishing but neither Paul nor Shawn caught the reference in the movie.

Paul mentions that there was lots of really great fish information and a lot of it was about waste.

Shawn relayed a quote that by 2048 there will be no fish in the oceans.

Paul can't see how that would ever be true because eventually there would be so few fish, it wouldn't be worth it to even try to fish anymore.  He noted that the movie guy never mentioned all the ocean garbage and actually side stepped other important issues in the movie.

There was a lady from Amazon Watch who seemed very sharp and asked the question of why no one was doing anything. She brought up the point that in Brazil, lots of people speaking out against the deforestation were killed. Recently, 1,100 people have been killed.

Paul notes that the movie guy's speech pattern was reminiscent of a surfer dude and lent him less credibility.

Shawn notes that the 116,000 pounds of cow poop every second in the USA is cool - it's fertilizer. He also feels that the dead zones of the ocean are more likely caused by industrial fertilizers.

Paul brings forth the question of what would happen if they took away all subsidies of corn, wheat and con-ag chemicals.

The movie guy showed a sustainable beef operation. It had no visible poop but he didn't highlight that fact. He did ask about the carbon footprint of the cows but the owner said that there was none and then the movie guy went into bad math again.

The movie guy also visited a dairy farm and when he asked the owner how to make it sustainable, the guy's only idea was to maybe turn all the houses into grazing.

Paul suggests making multiple dairies of 4 cows each that graze through gardens. They could graze 30% and you would get 5 times more productivity.

Shawn points out that you may get issues with the cows trampling some of the garden.

Paul notes that cows can overgraze but won't if you move them around. Paul again notes how the movie guy feels that deforestation is caused by over grazing and that Allen Savory is wrong because he wants more grazing. Paul feels that the movie guy is a city guy that doesn't understand the basic principals.

It turns out that the movie guy was getting paid to make the movie as he complained part way through that his funding was getting withdrawn.

Paul thought that Cowspiracy might have ended up being crowd funded but he wasn't sure.

Shawn mentions that he would have been interested to see where the original funding was from.

Paul notes that the movie guy was going to see a chicken get butchered and then had a chicken on the passenger seat of his car instead. Paul notes that a loose animal in a moving vehicle while you're video taping it and driving is a combination of lots of bad ideas. The movie guy took it to the Animal House, an animal refuge, and Paul was hoping that it was vegans keeping farm animals but the movie didn't say that.

Fred, who is a vegan on Paul's property, likes to say "caring for farm animals." He wouldn't keep them himself but would animal sit for a neighbor without a problem.

There was mention of Veganic - a combination of veganism and organic eating.

The movie guy said that it would only take 1/6 acre to feed 1 person a vegan diet for 1 year. Paul says that could be true but only if they were bringing in a ton of organic materials each year.

Paul refers to a video he has done about a couple that were trying to grow all of their food on about a 1/4 acre without outside inputs. They are using permaculture principals, putting in a lot of work and even growing on their roof. They have been doing it for 5 years and estimate that in another 5 years they will be able to feed one small woman for an entire year.

Helen Atthowe, a vegan and a professional market gardener with lots of experience, has said that she can grow all of her own food on just 1 acre without inputs.

Others say that you can feed 4 people on a 1/4 acre but with bringing in animal food and fertilizer.  

Paul thinks that you could feed 1 person on a 1/2 acre but that you would have to put a lot of work into it.

The movie guy says that a vegetarian needs 3 times more growing space than a vegan or 1/2 acre and that someone eating the standard American diet would need 18 times as much growing space.

Paul again mentions that if they stopped subsidizing everything, then some items would get more expensive and other things not so much.

Paul also notes that it would be interesting to hear the ability to grow food expressed in calories not just pounds of food since some items like greens don't have much calories in them.

There was a vegan who reviewed the movie and was quoted as saying that animal agriculture was 15% of the greenhouse gases not 51%. And that if the other were true, he would have been trumpeting it from the roof tops.

Shawn expresses that he felt the movie was useful to see a vegan's perspective of the issue.

Paul says that lots of people will probably become vegan after watching this movie. Just let them do that and let it play itself out.

He says that if you choose to eat meat, raise it well and harvest it yourself. Give it a better life than it would have had in the wild.  Some people choose to be vegans because they don't want the responsibility of doing that. Killing an animal causes a little bit of a loss of your soul.

Paul also notes that there is a lot of animal life that is lost from mechanical harvesting of plants but that this is not talked about in vegan circles. Paul suggests that vegans should raise and harvest their own food to avoid that loss of life.

Paul ends with the opinion that the vegan path is a noble choice.

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