Eating Our Way to Extinction (2021) Movie Script

[birds chirping]
[chainsaw rumbling]
[insects chirping]
[wood crackling]
[crackling intensifies]
[loud crash]
[light suspenseful music]
But surely you must realize
that this is their home.
These Indigenous tribes
have been living on this land
for hundreds of years.
[soft dramatic music]
[Kate Winslet]
Our Earth...
She is ever in flow and motion.
A dynamic symphony of forces
all working together,
breathing life into
the four corners of the world.
[thunder rumbling]
And for millennia,
cultures the world over
have called her their mother.
[deep inhaling]
[gentle exhaling]
[deep inhaling]
[gentle exhaling]
[dramatic music intensifies]
[dramatic music continues]
[music stops abruptly]
[somber music]
[Mr. Brockway]
We live on an incredibly
beautiful planet.
A home that we will hopefully
pass on to generations to come.
But as the years go by,
it's becoming
increasingly hard to imagine
what kind of a world
we're leaving behind us.
[thunder rumbling]
We've spent the last four
years traveling around the world
filming the stark reality
that people now face
from the threat
of ecological collapse.
It's now become very clear to us
that there's one thing
driving the destruction
of our ecosystems
faster than anything else.
Let us show you
how this very same thing
might just also be
our salvation.
[gentle somber music]
[Dr. Kong]
Climate and environmental
warn that we are
fast approaching
the point of no return
if we don't make
a substantial course reversal.
[Prof. Wadhams]
We'll see really serious
catastrophic effects
in the next few years, certainly
in the next decade or two.
The world will be
completely different
from the way it is now.
[Kate Winslet]
Since 1900,
we have seen a dramatic increase
in worldwide
weather related disasters.
There have now been four times
more weather related disasters
in the last 50 years
than in the previous 100.
[Mr. Rifkin]
We began to work
together to move
this issue onto the global
center stage.
There was a lot of discussion
about the contribution
from buildings
and from industrial factories,
but I became aware during
that same period of time
that there was another factor
that was going undiscussed,
and that is the role
of animal agriculture,
which I could see was playing
some significant role
around the planet.
But this was
the elephant in the room
no one wanted to talk about.
Whatever environmental issue
you want to look at
from species loss
to water pollution,
to water use, to climate change,
animal agriculture
is one of the top causes.
[Dr. Kong]
The critical,
widespread negative impact
of animal agriculture
on our planet is undeniable.
Severe global crises
from climate change
and environmental damage
to species extinction,
hunger, poverty, disease
and antibiotic resistance,
all of these have
direct connections
to animal agriculture
and the massive inefficiency
of our current food
production systems.
[Kate Winslet]
A report published by
WikiLeaks as far back as 2009,
exposed the conversations
between Nestl executives
and U.S. officials
called "The Tour D'Horizon."
The Nestl executives said that
their own research had shown
that the world was set
to run out of fresh water
within the next 30 years.
It stated that one
of the greatest reasons
for our detour down
this catastrophic path
is the global demand
for meat products.
[Prof. Wadhams]
If you look at the impact
that food choice has on--
on global warming,
it's very significant.
Eating meat is huge
for global climate,
and that's something
where personal choice
is the determining factor.
So there's the only case
I can think of
where individual human choice
would have a big effect,
would be food.
We're now over the line.
And the idea that we're going
to double meat production
between now and 2050,
this is just unsustainable.
This is going to have to give.
Our diet is taking us
to an abyss.
[dramatic musical sting]
[Mr. De Schutter]
A significant reason
why livestock production
has been having
such a huge impact
on greenhouse gas emissions
is because of the large surfaces
of forests
that have been destroyed
in order to make room
for pastures and for the growth
of soybean and maize
for feedstock production.
[Kate Winslet]
Our forests were once full
of the most incredible life.
In more recent years, we began
to grow an insatiable appetite
for meat and dairy, and as
our demand for more meat grew,
we needed more and more land.
So we slashed and burned our way
through the pristine forests,
everything in our paths
to make way for the animals
we desired to eat.
As these animals
weren't allowed to roam free
as they naturally
do in the wild,
their grazing areas
soon became empty,
and so, of course,
we needed to feed them,
so again,
we slashed and burned our way
through more and more forests,
sowed the ground
with genetically
enhanced corn and soya,
and then dowsed it
in pesticides,
herbicides and synthetic
chemical fertilizer.
[dramatic music]
Animal agriculture has literally
changed the face of our planet.
The green land
is used for human crops.
A great area
that spans the globe.
And yet the land we use
for animal agriculture,
shown in red, now occupies vast
amounts of our Earth's land,
a far greater area
than that used for human crops.
Almost all the Earth's surface
has-- now bears the mark
of some kind of human impact,
and most of that
is livestock production.
Agriculture has transformed
the planet like nothing else.
To produce milk, we farm an area
about the size of Brazil.
To produce beef, we farm an area
about the size of Canada,
the United States,
the whole of Central America,
Colombia and Ecuador combined.
To produce eggs, we farm
an area the size of Sweden.
To produce aquaculture feed, an
area about the size of the UK.
A plant-based diet would reduce
the amount of land required
to produce our food
by 3.1 billion hectares.
That's an area the size
of the entire African continent.
[Kate Winslet]
The Amazon is the world's
largest tropical rainforest.
This ancient
and richly biodiverse world
is slowly being replaced.
It is often assumed
that much of the soy
being planted in Brazil
is for human consumption.
In fact, less than
six percent of the soy
grown across the globe
is fed to humans.
The vast majority
is grown to create
animal feed for livestock.
The soy is exported
all around the world
and fed to the billions
of chickens, farmed fish,
pigs and cows
that we eat each day.
The forests are not
only home to millions
of species of wildlife
and plants,
but are also great regulators
of our planet's atmosphere.
Day by day, they slowly
breathe in the carbon dioxide
whilst producing billions
of tons of fresh oxygen
for our air.
[dramatic music continues]
Each year,
an estimated 18 million
acres of forest are lost,
which is roughly the size
of the country of Panama.
It is thought
that about half of the Earth's
mature tropical forests
have now been destroyed,
and some scientists
have predicted
that unless significant measures
are taken on a worldwide basis,
by 2030, only ten percent
of the forests will remain.
[somber piano music]
[birds and insects chirping]
[Sir Branson] One of the most
precious things we have in
the world is our rainforests.
The rainforests are
literally being chewed away,
um, by farmers who know
they can make money
by cutting another acre,
and then another acre,
and then another acre for meat.
[somber piano music continues]
[Kate Winslet]
Each year,
hundreds of tribespeople,
to the Amazon rainforest,
have their villages
burned to the ground.
They have been forcibly
removed from their land,
with many of them murdered
by the agribusiness paramilitary
who seek
to turn their jungle home
into farmland for growing
soy for livestock feed.
[dramatic music]
[woman cries]
[Kate Winslet]
One of the worst affected
tribes is the Guarani Kaiow
in Mato Grosso do Sul.
[somber music]
[dramatic music]
[loud whirring]
[inhabitants clamoring]
[music fades]
So there was actually
a report that came out in 2018,
and they found that the world's
top five livestock corporations
now release more annual
greenhouse gas emissions
than ExxonMobil, Shell and BP.
It is crazy
when you think about it
because the EU
is spending 24 billion
of taxpayers' money
on livestock farming each year,
and this is at a time
when we are facing
an ecological collapse, and
we drastically need to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions.
So it's no surprise
that people are asking
a lot of questions now about
the fact that there seem to be
some serious conflicts
of interest going on here.
There's some very heavy
lobbying going on of government,
and I think that happens
throughout the world,
and it's just a historic thing
that needs to be,
I think, rebalanced.
[light dramatic music]
[car beeping]
Today, democracy
does not always function
as well as it should
because of the huge influence
that agribusiness corporations,
and livestock producers
in particular,
exercise on decision-making.
The former director
of the United Nations Food
and Agriculture Organization,
Dr. Samuel Jutzi,
warned as far back as 2010,
that interventions
by agribusiness lobbyists
were blocking reforms that
would offer better standards
for human health
and preserving the environment.
Big animal
agribusiness corporations'
and food producers' influence
over political decisions
about the regulation
of their industry,
has long been a concern
for campaigners,
who see the narrow interests
of the industry
taking widespread control.
[Mr. De Schutter]
If we have any doubt about
how powerful this influence is,
we can recall that, for example,
when the Advisory Committee
on Dietary Guidelines in the US
made recommendations
to the US government
as to how dietary guidelines
should be shaped,
they were blocked
by this very powerful lobby
of agribusiness interests.
[Kate Winslet]
In 2013, the United Nations Food
and Agriculture Organization
a landmark report called
Tackling Climate Change
Through Livestock.
The report states
that livestock farming
is responsible for more
greenhouse gas emissions
than all global
transportation combined.
[dramatic music]
A growing number of scientists
believe that the impact
of animal agriculture is,
in fact, even worse
than stated in the FAO report.
There are close ties between
the research organizations
and governments, and government
policy and industry.
It's very pervasive
because livestock industries
depend on government
policies that support them.
[Mr. De Schutter]
The FAO report
was prepared within the FAO
by specialists of agriculture
and livestock production,
not by specialists
of the environmental issues
with agricultural production.
I believe that the more
serious concern, of course,
is that the International
Meat Association
was involved
in preparing the report,
which does raise
the question of the independence
with which the study
was prepared.
[Mr. Wedderburn-Bisshop]
Government policy in that regard
is not for the benefit
of the land,
it's for the benefit
of the industry.
[Kate Winslet]
In their report,
the FAO partnered up
with member countries,
non-governmental organizations
and many other organizations,
the European Feed
Manufacturers Federation,
the International
Dairy Federation,
the International
Meat Secretariat,
the International
Egg Commission,
and the International
Poultry Council.
In an industry worth
over a trillion dollars,
are these not
the very institutions
that have the most
to lose from a damaging
scientific report
against livestock farming?
[gentle music]
[Kate Winslet]
There are few people
that know more
about the ocean
than Dr. Sylvia Earle.
Dr. Earle was the first woman
to become chief scientist
of the United States National
Oceanic and Atmospheric
and held the record
for spending more time
walking along the sea floor
at depth, untethered,
than any living person.
[Dr. Earle]
When I was a child,
the idea of a dead zone
in the ocean was--
was not even in our vocabulary,
but in the 20th century,
as agriculture
began to greatly expand,
the areas around the coast began
to show signs of wear and tear.
The first, most notorious...
spotlight area I think
was off the Gulf of Mexico.
And it has simply grown over
the years, an annual phenomenon.
It is coincident
with the application
of massive
amounts of fertilizer.
[Kate Winslet]
The millions of square miles,
given over to growing
feed for the animals we eat,
are heavily sprayed
with nitrogen fertilizers.
The nitrogen runs off the fields
working its way down rivers,
and eventually into our oceans.
The nitrogen-rich water
stimulates massive
overgrowth of algae,
resulting in algal blooms
so large,
they can be seen from space.
The algae starve
the water of oxygen,
leading to the death
of the marine life around it.
Since the demand
for meat has grown,
these low oxygen dead zones
have been steadily growing
and growing.
[ominous music]
There are hundreds of dead zones
that have developed
all around the coastlines
of the world.
Okay, people say, "That's--
that's too bad for the fish,
so sorry, fish." But...
we need to understand
that what we do to the ocean,
we're doing to ourselves.
[low rumble]
[whale calling]
[gentle music]
I want others to see it
and to see for themselves.
This is all we've got,
this little blue miracle.
[whale calling]
[ethereal music]
[eerie music]
[Kate Winslet]
It is believed by some
that switching
from eating meat to fish
will have a beneficial
effect on our planet.
This simply could not
be further from the truth.
If the ocean dies,
then we humans would
probably die with it,
as every other breath
of air we take
has been created by our ocean.
[deep exhaling]
As reported in the leading
science journal, Nature,
we have lost nearly
90 percent of all large fish
in the ocean since the '50s.
One of the most in-depth
studies ever carried out
investigating fish stocks,
also in the journal, Nature,
stated that at the current
rate of fishing,
the world's fisheries
are predicted to collapse
in less than 30 years.
According to IPBES,
the intergovernmental body
which assesses
the state of our biodiversity,
the leading cause of marine
life extinction is fishing.
Our taste for fish is literally
draining our oceans of life.
[light dramatic music]
[somber piano music]
[whale calling]
Today, we have agreed
on fishing opportunities
for European fishermen worth
more than five billion euros
and benefiting
more than 50,000 fishermen.
The catches agreed today
will continue to make
the European fishing industry
highly profitable also in 2019.
[somber music continues]
[Kate Winslet]
Norway, a beautiful country
with breathtaking landscapes.
It is also a place that
harbors some darker secrets.
Norway is one
of the world's largest
exporters of farmed fish.
An industry that is
worth billions of euros
to the country's economy.
As much of the wild ocean
large fish populations
collapsed to near extinction,
are turning to aquaculture
as a way of growing fish
in a controlled environment.
Norway produces
more farmed salmon and cod
than any other
country in the world.
About 70 percent
of the fish we eat today
now comes
from artificial fish farms.
As thousands of fish
are kept close together
in very small sea cages,
disease and lice spread easily
and have become a massive
problem for the industry.
As a result, pesticides,
and antibiotics
are used extensively
to keep the fish alive
long enough to go to market.
In order to rid
the fish of lice,
special pumping boats are used,
which suck the fish up
in a giant water vacuum.
The fish are then pumped
through the system,
and as they flow through,
they are either heated
to a high temperature or bathed
in a chemical solution
which removes most of the lice
before being pumped back
into the cage.
The fish are bathed in chemicals
such as hydrogen peroxide
and azamethiphos, to kill
the parasites and diseases,
and given feed with chemicals
such as teflubenzuron,
emamectin and diflubenzuron,
which, by their very nature,
are toxic.
Researchers have found
that traces of chemicals
can end up in the fish,
and ultimately on our plates.
This is much the same for farmed
fish all around the world.
Taryn Bishop,
an environmental activist,
is meeting
with the Green Warriors,
a conservation organization
based in Bergen,
on the west coast of Norway.
The Green Warriors
have been investigating
the devastating practices
of fish farming on the local
ecosystem for many years,
and are taking Taryn
to see the darker side
of the farms that lies
beneath the surface.
A specially built submersible
has enabled them to see
the seabed below the cages.
[light dramatic music]
[Kate Winslet]
All along the ocean floor
lies a thick layer of sludge
made up of fish waste,
bacteria and uneaten feed.
The sludge is full of the
pesticides added to the feed,
and new research has shown that
the massive amounts of pesticide
being added around the world
to the marine ecosystem
in fish farms is having
a devastating effect
on the natural ocean
The sludge also
releases large amounts
of climate warming methane.
Researchers at Oxford University
have found that some
types of aquaculture
are now releasing more methane
than beef production.
Liv Holmefjord is the head
of the Norwegian Directorate
of Fisheries.
Whilst in Norway,
we were given information
that not only is
she in charge of regulating
the country's
fish farm industry,
but also owns shares
in one of Norway's
largest fish farm companies.
Many conservation groups
feel this is a great conflict
of interests.
Holmefjord has agreed
to meet Taryn
to answer questions about the
state of Norway's fish farms.
Well, fish farming is quite
a new industry in Norway.
It started back in the 1960s,
so it's some local entrepreneurs
starting with hobby,
and it's grown until it's
a billion euro industry today.
And, um, seafood is
the second largest export
industry in Norway,
and fish farming
accounts for two third
of the export value of seafood.
So, recently, we found out
that you also have shares
in one of the largest fish
farm companies in Norway.
Do you not feel that
that's a conflict of interest?
Uh, of course, there could be
a con-- uh, in--
conflict of interest.
Uh, but this is
a fact that's been known
since before I got
this position,
and I've been open about it.
I have--
do not-- I'm not involved
in the business from day-to-day
or at any-- so it's--
an if this--
Um, we have-- um, I have--
Sorry, I have to--
you have to start over again.
[speaking in Norwegian]
[man mutters]
So all the decisions that I made
will either be
for the whole industry,
not specially
for this fish farm,
or it's only an advice to the
politicians, and the politicians
are setting the limits
and the actual regulations.
So if there's an actual case,
uh, handling,
regarding this company,
then I will step aside.
[ominous music]
[water splashing]
[birds chirping]
Salmon is marketed as healthy.
It's also marketed
in a very devious way,
deceptive way that
they think it's a wild product,
but it's a fake product.
It's a fatty product,
it's contaminated.
It's marketed as healthy,
but it-- but it's not.
So salmon, if you see
salmon, alarm bells
should start ringing.
It's pretty grim when you dive
down to the bottom of the cages
because, you know, we always see
the bottom full of dead fish.
And it's basically
because many of these fish are
so disease-, so parasite-ridden
and laden with chemicals
that they become sick, and they
live out their sad short lives,
basically looking like zombies.
[dramatic music]
You know, you don't
see this when you go
to the restaurant
or the supermarket,
but this is basically
what a lot of the fish
actually look like
before it ends up on our plates.
So, tonight Don
wanted to show us
how much
of the farm fish actually dies.
Because of the very unnatural
and unsanitary ways
that they are kept,
and they have rows of
very large metal containers
that they are constantly
filling up with the dead fish.
And I have to say that
the smell as we get closer
is actually pretty disgusting.
[dramatic music]
[Mr. Staniford]
So this is the sordid side
of salmon farming in Scotland.
This is the-- the dirty secrets
the industry
don't want you to see.
This is disease-ridden
farmed salmon,
it's 15 to 20 percent fat.
That's where the contaminants,
the cancer-causing contaminants,
PCBs, dioxins, and
the artificial colorings are.
So this is something
to be avoided at all costs.
[dramatic music continues]
This is the salmon farm
just here.
We got freedom of information...
data from the Scottish
Environment Protection Agency
showing the use
of over 50 tons of formaldehyde,
not just at this site,
but other sites across Scotland.
It's formaldehyde:
"May cause cancer,
of causing genetic defects,
toxic if swallowed,
may cause respiratory
causes damage to organs.
Do not breathe."
[mud sloshing]
[ominous music]
One of the fish farm workers
told us that the workers,
um, come down to the farm,
um, early in the morning,
spraying the chemicals
into the fish cages.
[light dramatic music]
[Kate Winslet]
As the ocean becomes a dumping
ground of seven billion people
and farms saturate
their fish with chemical feed,
eating fish
has never been so toxic.
[Dr. Greger]
You know, our oceans
have become humanity's sewers.
Everything eventually
flows into the sea,
so if you had a,
you know, time machine
that could go back before
the industrial revolution,
it might--
it's a different story, but now,
the highest levels
are many of these persistent
organic pollutants.
We're talking about,
you know, DDT,
and PCBs and dioxins.
The highest levels
in our food supply
are found
in the aquatic food chain.
Fish are not
the safest choice anymore.
-So, Tony it's great to see you.
-Great to see you as well.
-Thanks for coming.
-Not at all, thank you.
A pleasure being here.
So I wanted to ask you
if you could share with us
what is-- what exactly it was
you began to feel
when you realized
something was going wrong?
I was exhausted more than usual,
and then I was losing
short-term memory,
and that scared the hell
out of me. And then I tore
my rotator cuffs
in a really intense
snowboarding accident.
And the doctor said, "Do you
want to do your metals test?"
And I said, "Ah, I got
my amalgams out 25 years ago."
He goes, "There's so many metals
in the environment,
you should do it."
So I did.
I get a phone call a week later,
and I said to my assistant,
"Just have them send
the report."
And he said,
"No, it's an emergency.
He has to speak to you."
And it was like,
no one wants to hear that.
And so I called him up
and he said, "Tony,
I showed your blood tests.
You have extreme
mercury poisoning,
on a zero to five scale,"
which is what they measure,
"five being toxic, you're 123."
The doctor said, "How long has
this man been in the hospital?"
And I just got off stage.
So I-- I said,
"I can't understand this,"
so I went out and they thought,
you know,
maybe someone was trying
to poison me because
the number was so high.
And I was very disciplined.
I was a vegan for 12 years
and then I just went
salad, fish, salad, fish.
And they brought
the medical group out here
and they looked at it,
and I found this man
named Dr. Shade
who's the only guy
that has an ideation process
where he could see
where the mercury came from,
and it was fish.
It's been three years, um,
and I had some severe moments.
It burned a hole in my esophagus
and I literally collapsed.
I lost a third
of my blood supply.
I could have died.
I lost half of my hemoglobin.
-People begin
to lose their hair.
Their memory.
They lose their memories.
-As you were doing.
As you-- as you noticed.
-Yes, yes.
But they can
also have headaches.
They can complain of fatigue,
and they can also
have depression.
What we're seeing now
is with the toxic
environmental exposure,
and especially with
the mercury-- methylmercury
in fish, is that everyone
has got to be careful
because their--
the levels are going up.
Udo, tell me, because
your specialty is in this,
how do you get the fish oils
that we all need
for the brain and for the body
if we can't have fish?
What do you suggest?
Well, we used to get
them from fish oils.
-And-- But there--
We can actually get
them from vegetables.
Flax is the richest
source of omega-3
that we-- everybody thinks
should come from fish oil.
If you get enough
of that as starting material,
your body will make
what the fish oils make,
and it'll be clean.
[Dr. Newman]
Many people take fish oils
or have fish for the long-chain
omega-3 fatty acids,
and you have to ask
yourself the question,
"But where do the fish
get them from?"
And it turns out they get them
from the algae in the ocean.
They get them from plant food.
So if you want the purest form
of the long-chain ready-made
omega-3 fatty acids,
the best way of doing
that is simply to take
an algae supplement,
because then you've got
the purest form of it
and you don't have
the extra risks
of having the toxins
and the heavy metals
and the saturated fat
and the cholesterol
that you would get
from eating a fish.
[Kate Winslet]
A peer-reviewed study
from researchers at Scripps
Institution of Oceanography
at UC San Diego,
undertook one
of the largest studies
of fish pollutants in the world.
The scientists found
toxic contaminants in fish
right across
the planet's oceans.
Nobody would go
to the nearest body of water
and put in like a cup
and drink the water.
Um, you're basically getting
the concentrated toxins
if we're eating fish.
[Kate Winslet]
Our oceans have
also become filled
with plastic.
As the oceans are so large,
it is a challenge
for any scientist
to accurately understand
where most of this plastic
is coming from.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch,
covering an area of about
1.6 million square kilometers,
may provide a unique opportunity
to better understand
the growing problem
of microplastics in the sea.
A team of scientists from
the organization Ocean Cleanup
have been studying
the Patch for some time
and were surprised
when they discovered
that the vast majority
of plastic in the Patch
is not from old drinking straws
or used plastic water bottles,
but from thousands of tons
of discarded fishing gear
broken down by the sea
into trillions of pieces
of microplastic.
A study, recently published
in the journal, Nature,
found that about 80 percent
of the plastic in the Pacific
is made up
of discarded fishing gear.
Many scientists agree
that one of the greatest things
we as individuals can do
to solve this problem
of a plastic ocean
is to move away from eating fish
and switch
to a plant-based diet.
At least half
of the plastic in the sea today
comes from discarded
or lost fishing gear.
Because all those nets,
all those lines, all that stuff,
it's just become
a plasticized ocean,
but we have a chance.
We have a chance right now
to change our eating habits.
[light dramatic music]
[Prof. Lindeque]
There's an estimate
that there's over five trillion
tons of plastic currently
floating in the ocean.
It's absolutely everywhere.
Everywhere we looked,
we found microplastics,
whether it's at the polar
regions, in remote islands.
Also, if we're looking
on the surface or the seabed
and everywhere in between,
we find microplastics.
We've also found microplastics
in just about every animal
group that we've looked in.
We've been sampling
for microplastics
for quite a while now,
and we found that there's
27 times more bits of plastic
than there are fish larvae.
[Kate Winslet]
Microplankton are found
throughout the oceans.
They are filter feeders.
When the researchers
add microplastics
into the plankton's environment,
they consistently observe them
ingesting the plastic particles.
Unaware that the tiny particles
are made up of toxic chemicals,
the plankton consume them
The researchers observe
how the chemicals accumulate
within the organs
of these small marine creatures.
The toxic plankton
are then eaten by larger fish,
and researchers have
found that much of the fish
that we are eating today
has bioaccumulated
these chemicals
within their flesh.
[mellow music]
[Kate Winslet]
A study by the University
of Plymouth
found that over a third
of all the fish tested
contained microplastics.
As we eat
these contaminated fish,
we ingest the same toxic
chemicals into our bodies,
and recent research suggests
similar toxic accumulation
in humans.
[suspenseful music]
[Mr. Rifkin]
Our scientists tell us
we're now
in the sixth extinction event
of life on this Earth.
It doesn't even
make the headlines.
No one even knows about it.
[soft exotic music]
[gentle music]
[somber piano music]
[bird hooting]
[bird chirping]
[distant hooting]
[somber piano music continues]
[music fades]
[Mr. Rifkin]
We've had five mass
extinction events
on this planet
in 450 million years.
Let me be clear on this,
the last time we had
an extinction event
of this magnitude,
was 65 million years ago.
It's incredibly sad to realize
just how-- how many species, um,
both in the oceans and on land
that we're losing at the moment,
um, and it's up
to all of us to make sure,
that, um, this doesn't
happen in the future.
[Mr. Poore]
Today, over 26,000 species
are currently threatened
with extinction,
and the most important
driver of that
is our use of land
for agriculture.
Over time, um,
livestock have been a major,
major driver
of biodiversity loss.
[Mr. Wedderburn-Bisshop]
Some have predicted
that by 2045,
the species loss will be so
great that we won't recover.
The Earth will suffer
ecological collapse.
And the biggest thing
you and I can do...
is change our diet.
[Kate Winslet]
Some scientists have begun
to call this current crisis
a "biological annihilation."
[soft somber music]
According to the journal,
Science of the Total Environment
from Florida
International University,
livestock farming is the leading
cause of biodiversity loss.
According to a study published
in the journal Science,
if the entire
world were to switch
to an exclusively
plant-based diet,
we would free up over 75 percent
of the world's arable land,
and many of the forests,
previously cut down
for livestock farming,
could be restored.
There are now
many great initiatives
around the world
doing just that.
Ecosia, an online search
engine similar to Google,
is one such initiative
that uses the revenue made
from advertising to pay local
communities to replant trees.
One of Ecosia's
main foresters is Mauricio,
who has been working hard
to replant the rainforest
in Brazil.
[uplifting music]
[Kate Winslet]
Trees breathe
life into our world.
When we plant a tree,
we sow the very seeds
of our future on this planet.
[somber music]
The most recent in-depth study
into the environmental
impact of what we eat,
was a peer-reviewed journal
by an international team
of researchers.
This landmark study,
headed by Dr. Marco Springmann
of Oxford University in England,
found that in order
to have any chance of keeping
temperatures below the dangerous
two-degrees-Celsius threshold
set out in the Paris
Climate Agreement,
in high-income countries
we need to drastically reduce
our consumption of meat
by around 80 percent.
Policymakers have been
very, very reluctant
to address the livestock issue.
It's entirely out
of keeping with the urgency
of the crisis that we're facing.
Hi, Otto Brockway
for Broxstar Films.
Um, this is a question
for Commissioner Hogan.
The scientists at Oxford
University have been very clear
that livestock farming
has a far greater impact
than plant-based farming.
With this in mind, would it
not be common sense to reduce
the billions in subsidy
payments to livestock farming
in Europe and offer them
to plant-based farming instead
as an incentive to a much
more sustainable food system?
We have made our proposals
based on protecting the farmers,
because they are,
unlike you and I,
they're out in all sorts
of weathers and all sorts
of market risks,
and you and I may not know
anything about that
because this is their lives.
They're producing
high-quality food for us all
so that we can
have this particular
good-quality products
available to us at all times.
Sometimes under local
conditions like organic,
more times
it's conventional farming.
So we provide financial support
at the moment for that.
And it's a public good
that's not always recognized,
but the movement of our policies
is in the direction
of our farmers
being centrally involved
in providing more public goods.
And if you want to do anything
in life, you have to pay people.
Sometimes I understand
that there's a moral obligation
and there's people of principle,
but most of the time,
99 percent of the time,
they have to get paid.
So as professionals
we're expecting to provide
good-quality food
and do more on public goods.
We pay our farmers.
This is a decision
that we make
at a political level.
[Mr. Rifkin]
Livestock emit methane
and nitrous oxide.
Now most people, when they
think of climate change
they think of CO2,
carbon dioxide,
which is a very potent
global warming gas.
But methane
is 25 times more potent
per molecule
when it's released than CO2.
And nitrous oxide
is 298 times more potent
per molecule than CO2.
These are very powerful
global warming gases.
[Mr. Brockway]
So today we have
a very special camera
called a hyperspectral
imaging camera,
and it basically enables us
to be able to see
gases that would be otherwise
invisible to the naked eye.
And today we're looking
at methane gas.
Methane is a gas
that is being produced
by cows when they belch.
[Kate Winslet]
Methane, together
with the other gases
it produces in the atmosphere,
has caused a third
of global warming since 1750.
Livestock are the largest source
of methane that we can control.
Steep cuts in methane emissions
can slow global warming
by 15 to 25 years, making it
the most effective means
we have to slow warming
in the critical years ahead.
-Whoa, look at that.
[ominous music]
[Kate Winslet]
To demonstrate
the different heating potentials
of climate gases,
we can look to an experiment
known as the "infrared
absorption experiment."
Here we see four
Earth-shaped ice statues,
each one in its own
airtight chamber.
The chambers
represent the atmosphere
surrounding the planet.
Each has an infrared
heater placed above it,
set at identical temperatures,
and each one is then filled
with a different gas.
[gas hissing]
The first chamber
is filled with normal air
that we breathe from day to day.
The second chamber
is filled with carbon dioxide,
a well-known
climate warming gas.
The third chamber
is filled with methane,
a gas associated
with animal agriculture,
and the fourth chamber
is filled with nitrous oxide,
also a gas associated
with animal agriculture.
Over time, we begin
to see the ice statue
in the carbon dioxide chamber
slightly melting,
compared with the normal air.
But in the same short time,
the statues in the methane
and nitrous oxide chambers
begin to melt rapidly
as the temperature
inside rises considerably higher
than both the normal air,
and also the carbon dioxide.
16 hours later,
the results are stark.
We can clearly see that
the methane and nitrous oxide,
the two main gas byproducts
of animal agriculture,
are potent
climate warming gases.
[somber music]
Of the estimated
70 billion land animals
reared for human consumption
each year around the world,
nearly 90 percent are chickens.
An emerging problem
is that chicken consumption
is now on the rise.
Whilst chicken has
a lower environmental
impact than red meat,
over 90 percent
of chicken globally
is now intensively farmed,
and this is having devastating
effects on our planet.
If we compare
the equivalent protein calories
for meat and plant-based
proteins, such as chickpeas,
chicken does less harm
to the environment
than commonly
consumed red meats.
And yet, still causes 40 times
more climate-related warming
per calorie of protein
than chickpeas,
and uses 50 times
the amount of water.
We know that if we would shift
from, um, ruminant meats
to other meats,
then we probably would reduce
our footprint just from--
from that particular product
by about a factor of ten,
which is quite a bit.
But if you compare that
with how much you would
reduce your footprint
if you went
to plant-based products,
that is about a factor of 100,
and that's the reason
why shifting to more--
towards more plant-based diets
has such a big impact,
because we're really talking
about different scales here.
[Kate Winslet]
Organic meat has been
claimed to have
less environmental
and climate impact.
However, a study
carried out by researchers
at Oxford University,
found that, in fact, organic
or conventionally produced meat
has little
significant difference
in greenhouse emissions.
So in our data,
we didn't find...
big differences
between organic and conventional
across multiple indicators.
What we did find
is that no matter
how you produce animal products,
even the lowest impact
forms of production
still create higher emissions
and use more land
than typical vegetable proteins.
So that's saying something
really important, that's saying
that even if you go into
the shops and try and purchase
sustainable meat or dairy,
it's always going to be better
to purchase vegetable
proteins instead.
[Kate Winslet]
Each year the US Government
gives around $20 million
to subsidize fruit
and vegetable farming,
but meat and dairy farming
get a massive $38 billion
from the government.
It is now estimated
that the annual cost
to the US taxpayer
of diseases related to meat
and dairy consumption
are now around $314 billion.
[light dramatic music]
And when you cram,
tens of thousands
of animals in these crammed,
filthy, unhygienic conditions,
basically live atop
their feces, it's just
like a breeding ground.
Animal-to-human diseases
that arise
are because of the way
we're now treating animals.
Whether it's these live
animal markets in East Asia,
whether it's the bushmeat trade,
the concern is that with enough
spins at genetic roulette
on these swine factory farms,
these chicken factory farms,
we're going to end up
with one of these viruses
that's not only deadly
to chickens, but can jump
and transmit human to human and
cause the next human pandemic.
The risk of large-scale factory
farming increases the risk
that we-- or the likelihood
that we might have a pandemic,
of influenza in the future.
This pandemic
has been very severe,
but this is not
necessarily the big one.
[Kate Winslet]
Swine flu, which killed
over half a million people
is believed to have
originated in pig farming.
AIDS and the Ebola virus
are believed to have come
from eating wild animals,
while MERS from camels,
and also camels' milk and meat.
SARS is thought to have spread
from live animal wet markets
as was the recent
COVID-19 pandemic.
Bird flu is believed
to have come from chicken farms
and also live animal
wet markets.
And the measles virus
is thought to have originated
from farm cows.
[Dr. Greatorex]
People know now what
a global pandemic feels like,
and they've seen the effects.
They will be feeling the effects
for many years to come,
and this is a chance,
I think, an opportunity
to point out
that this particular
route of infection
is a-- is a very concerning one.
[Kate Winslet]
The World Health Organization
has announced
that the post-antibiotic era
is near.
A time where a simple scrape
on the arm could become fatal.
Our miracle lifesaving
antibiotics are being
rendered useless
due to overuse, not
because of overuse by humans,
but because we give them each
day to billions of farm animals.
[dramatic music]
[Mr. Bayley]
So having been
a butcher for six years,
one thing I know is that
if people knew what happened
in the production of their food,
they wouldn't eat meat.
So one of the things
that we would hit every day was
pus nodules, tumors, cysts.
It was something that
we would hit on a daily basis.
Having worked
in a supermarket chain,
I was-- I saw this firsthand
every single day.
So here's one that's running
along the shoulder blade.
-That is what I remember
in the butchery,
it comes out
like thick toothpaste.
I remember that
every single day.
-That's interesting to hear
you had that experience...
...all the way over there
because in the UK
it's exactly the same.
-We would see that
on a daily basis.
But those people who say,
"It's-- it's not my butcher
who does this."
-They need to open
their eyes,
because if their butcher is
being honest with them, we know.
-We both know, we were in,
-and any honest butcher
is going to admit it.
They're not going to want
to tell the public because
it's going to affect
-their business,
but it is a fact.
And me working
in multiple butcheries,
I saw these common trends
across the board,
so I know that it wasn't
just isolated to the one
that I was working in,
it was across the board for me.
People need to reconnect
with what they're eating
-and the whole process
that we were...
...we're talking about here
of how that food gets to them.
Um, it's hidden from them,
and it's hidden for a reason,
because if they saw it, it would
most definitely make them
want to think harder
about what they're eating.
[thunder rumbling]
[water rushing]
[Kate Winslet]
As our oceans and atmosphere
begin to warm,
the water cycles of the planet
are beginning to change.
[ominous music]
[Mr. Rifkin]
Climate change changes
the water cycles of the planet.
The heat that's being generated
is forcing the precipitation
into the clouds,
so we're getting more
concentrated precipitation
in our clouds,
and more dramatic, extreme,
and unpredictable water events
all over the world.
[Kate Winslet]
In the northern region of the
remote Pacific island of Taiwan,
the Atayal people live
high in the mountains.
Taiwan is no stranger
to extreme weather,
but in recent years
the strength and frequency
of the typhoons have increased.
This has had
a devastating effect
on the Atayal people
and their way of life.
[dramatic music]
[water rushing]
[thunder rumbling]
[water splattering]
[car crashing]
[crowd yelling indistinctly]
[Kate Winslet]
Whilst much of the world
has been experiencing
increasing levels
of extreme flooding,
in many places,
the opposite is happening.
Much of the world
is increasingly entering
into extreme drought, destroying
thousands of tons of crop,
as millions of farmers
struggle to find
enough water for their fields.
[Mr. Michael]
I'm definitely worried
about the future of our farm.
I think we're seeing,
you know, much more, uh--
many more swings in climate
than we've seen in the past,
but we want to use all the land
that we have to grow food,
but we haven't been
able to just because
of the shortages of water.
It will have an impact
on food supply and prices
and availability,
and so estimates now are
between 500,000 to over
1,000,000 acres of farmland
that will come out
of production in California.
[light dramatic music]
[Kate Winslet]
Almeria, in the south of Spain,
is home to 31,000 hectares
of indoor vegetable farms.
Almeria produces
half of Europe's fresh fruit
and vegetables,
an essential component
in the supply
of the continent's food system.
Worryingly, Spain has been in
the grip of a 20-year drought,
a drought
that climate experts suggest
is closely linked
to climate change.
[translation] In terms of water,
the truth is that the drought
in Spain has become
a complete catastrophe.
Our harvests are decreasing
in massive quantities.
Last year,
in the area we are now,
there was almost no harvest.
People don't realize
the food system is collapsing.
[dramatic music continues]
[Kate Winslet]
As a result of this shift
in the global climate system,
the drought
across Africa has deepened.
Rivers and lakes
that supply hundreds of millions
with fresh drinking water
are beginning to run dry.
As new conflicts break out
over these dwindling resources,
we are witnessing the beginning
of a mass exodus of people
moving north,
desperate to survive.
These climate refugees
are willing to risk everything
to get themselves and their
families to what they see
as the safe shores of Europe.
In response to this modern day
mass migration,
Spain has built a massive wall
that runs along its
southernmost border in Melilla.
Thousands of refugees
are beginning to swarm
the border fences,
overwhelming the Spanish police.
Amid predictions
that this migratory pattern
is set to increase,
it seems increasingly clear
that our world
is poorly prepared to cope.
[music fades]
[wind blowing]
[hoofs thudding]
[somber spiritual music]
[Kate Winslet]
As the Gobi Desert in Mongolia
begins to spread deeper
and deeper
into the country, like a beast
consuming all life in its path,
many of the lakes
that support both the people
and the wildlife
have now dried up.
If the lakes
continue to disappear,
then the people will be
forced away from their home
and into distant
and strange lands.
[liquid splattering]
[gentle spiritual music]
A lot of people talk
about how much fresh water
we use for hydrofracking.
700 billion gallons
globally is wasted on fracking.
So, 700 billion gallons.
Sounds like a lot,
but animal agriculture,
the production of animals that
we use for meat around the globe
uses 70 trillion gallons
of fresh water a year.
Hundreds of thousands of times
as much as fracking.
And we give the cows and the
chickens the good stuff, right?
They don't get the Flint,
Michigan lead-tainted,
condoms-floating-in-it water.
They get the top shelf stuff,
because we don't want
to screw up our sausage links.
And I know what some of you
are thinking right now.
You're thinking,
"Oh, here's the part...
[with high-pitched voice]
'I'm a vegetarian and pigs
are people too, meh!'"
But no, let's ignore
how the animals are treated
in our factory torture farming.
Let's pretend they're treated
amazing, for just a minute.
It's like a celebrity
backstage at the Oscars,
they're just being fawned over
and they get swag bags
with free Apple watches...
Point is, you should still be
upset about this
because animal agriculture
is killing us,
and corporate media
is fantastically pathetic
on this topic.
They never mention
meat production.
They never mention
that a Quarter Pounder
takes 660 gallons
of fresh water to create.
That's the-- that's
the equivalent of showering
for two months.
So, one, usually underestimated
impact of livestock production
is the huge amount
of fresh water required
for that production to be
maintained and to be increased.
The problem is that in many
places, water is being used
much faster
than the natural renewal rates.
Overall, in the world,
1.8 billion people
are living in areas
with severe water scarcity.
The livestock sector
is the single biggest water
user in the world.
1/3 of the water use
in the world is being used
for producing animal products,
meat and dairy,
and it's not because
those animals drink so much,
it's really because there's
a lot of water required
to make the feed
for the animals.
If we want enough fresh water
for future generations,
water alone dictates
that we must change our diet,
away from meat and dairy.
[Kate Winslet]
All over the world we can
see evidence of a global shift
towards animal-free foods that
is enough to give us some hope.
In 2021, a record
580,000 people signed up
to the UK's Veganuary campaign,
and it's estimated
that there are now
over four million people
identifying as vegan
across the United Kingdom.
In Canada, it's estimated
that ten percent
of the population
are now either vegan
or vegetarian,
and in the US,
over 50 percent of chefs
have added vegan items
to their menus,
with a 600 percent increase
in the vegan lifestyle
in the last three years.
[onion slicing]
[playful music]
[oil sizzling]
[Mr. Brockway]
A few years ago,
it was quite a challenge
to get hold of good vegan food,
but today we're pretty
much spoiled
for choice, and there are
vegan options everywhere.
-Yeah, thanks.
It tastes like a normal hot dog,
is it a normal hot dog?
Like as in like-- or is this
like plant-based or something?
-What is it?
-So, it is actually
plant-based, yeah.
-So every--
-It's really nice.
-I prefer it
because I don't really...
-Do you? meat that much,
so this is good.
-All right.
-I like meat
and it tastes good...
-...for not being meat.
-Would you be happy with that?
I'd be stoked.
I love meat too much,
so I feel like if I went
plant-based, I'd miss it,
but if this stuff
tastes the same...
-...I'd be very happy with this.
[oil sizzling]
[playful music continues]
-...nice, messy fingers.
-It is, yeah.
-Solid food burger.
-Thank you.
Would it interest you
to know that
that's completely plant-based?
-I wouldn't know.
So that, I would definitely--
-That's a winner.
-Yeah, I'm amazed.
If burgers always
tasted like that,
Would you be happy to just
not eat a beef burger again?
I'd like you to tell me
which one of these nuggets
is plant-based
and which one is real meat.
[playful music continues]
It's very hard
to say which one is...
They taste exactly
the same, honestly.
-These are not the chicken?
-That's interesting.
Which one of this is animal meat
and which one of this
is plant-based?
Meat or not meat?
You're not sure?
You're not sure.
-No. Yeah, I'm not sure.
-...are wrong. [laughs]
-Okay, okay. [chuckles]
-...but you think
the second one was chicken.
-The second one
was actually plant-based.
-No way.
-Yeah, and the first one
was chicken.
-No way.
-Okay, I didn't--
I couldn't have guessed that.
I definitely thought
the first one.
Yeah, definitely.
It seems that changing what we
eat to a more sustainable diet
can also coincidentally be
very beneficial to our health.
There is a growing understanding
that we can actually prevent,
and in many cases even reverse
some of our most common diseases
all through a shift
towards a whole food vegan diet.
Humans can survive
on many different kinds of diet,
but many decades
of research has now shown us
that the best way
of not just surviving,
but truly thriving, is on a
whole food plant-based diet.
The human can be healthy
on a plant-based diet,
without any animal products.
The major dietetic associations
around the world, including the
British Dietetic Association,
have produced statements
to say exactly that, that a diet
made up of whole plant foods
is healthy for humans,
all stages of their life.
[Ms. Davis]
And not only can
they be healthy,
but they can restore
or reclaim their health
adopting a plant-based diet.
There's certain areas, certain
populations around the world
that have extraordinary
health and longevity,
for example, a large
number of centenarians,
people that live over 100,
these so-called "Blue Zones."
What's really interesting
about the Blue Zones,
they actually
have more centenarians
than anywhere else in the world,
and a centenarian is someone
that lives at least 100 years.
But what-- what's really
interesting about the Blue Zones
is when people reach
these advanced ages,
they are still productive,
so the Blue Zones
have taught us a lot.
And the bottom line is,
we really want to try to emulate
what the people
of the Blue Zones are doing.
[Kate Winslet]
The five regions known
as the Blue Zones
are Okinawa in Japan,
Sardinia in Italy,
Icaria in Greece,
Nicoya in Costa Rica
and Loma Linda in California.
[Dr. Greger] So the question is,
"Well, what do they all
have in common?"
[Dr. Newman]
They have a predominantly
plant-based diet.
They have a diet rich
in fruits and vegetables,
whole grains, beans,
soy, lentils, chickpeas.
They have a diet rich
in all these nutrients
and that's one thing
that they have in common.
So the EPIC study is
the European Prospective
into Cancer and Nutrition.
It followed over half
a million individuals
from ten European countries
for more than 15 years.
Those in the EPIC study
that were eating
predominantly plant-based
or eating high levels of fruits
and vegetables lived longer,
had lower incidence of cancer
and heart disease.
About two and a half thousand
of the individuals
in the EPIC Oxford
only ate plant foods,
so they were vegan.
And even though
they weren't the most healthy
vegans or healthy plant eaters,
you could show that these plant
eaters were healthier,
they had lower incidence
of heart disease,
diabetes and cancer.
From everything we have
discovered on this journey,
it seems that moving away
from animal foods
to plant-based foods instead
can not only give us a whole
host of amazing health benefits,
but also gives us
a chance to be able to leave
a sustainable planet
for future generations to come.
Perhaps the single
most meaningful change
that we can make as individuals
is ultimately deciding what
ends up each day on our plates.
[Dr. Kong]
We are running out of time.
The world community
must acknowledge
that animal agriculture
is the most destructive
industry on our planet.
We can't wait
for government policies
and other organizations
to create
a better life for ourselves.
We need to stand up now
and make our voices heard.
for the typical consumer,
avoiding meat and dairy is
probably the single biggest way
to reduce your impact on Earth.
Without addressing what we eat,
we simply won't make it.
This is a number one priority.
This is a next step,
in taking responsibility
for our communities,
our planet, our biosphere,
our fellow species.
Climate justice!
When do we want it? Now!
People say, "What can I do as an
individual? Feels overwhelming."
Well, you can make
individual choices. We all can.
Our individual choices
affect the collective choices.
We hear about airplanes
and cars.
And we're still going
to use those things,
but the choices
we make in our diet,
this agricultural business
where we use animals
as the primary
source of protein,
the one thing
I think we can all do is,
as individuals, is make
our own individual choices.
How we're going to live,
how we're going to eat.
Plant-based diet makes
all the difference in the world.
Just make some choices
that are good for you,
and being good for you,
it'll be good for the planet.
[Kate Winslet]
This planet is our home.
And it is up to us
what happens now.
History has shown
that when we stand together,
united in a common cause,
we can achieve great things.
Before us lies
an opportunity to build a world
in which we can thrive.
But the clock is ticking...
and time... is running out.
[dramatic music fades]
[light dramatic music]
[dramatic music continues]
[music fades]