I’m an all-American, good old-fashioned, non-discriminatory meat eater. I’ve spent the majority of my life chowing down cheeseburgers, lasagna, hot dogs, sausages, philly cheese steaks, meat loafs, fried chicken, lobster, and pretty much everything in between. My favorite meal, for decades now, has been a nice juicy sirloin steak. It’s delicious, it’s fulfilling and, most of all, it makes me feel like I accomplished something when I finish my plate. Little did I know that every time I eat meat I am helping to deplete the earth of it’s water and destroy the ozone layer. Don’t believe me? Then you should watch Cowspiracy.

When I saw the documentary listed on Netflix, I passed over it and didn’t even give it a second thought. It wasn’t until I got into what I like to call “sponge mode”, where I watch as many documentaries back-to-back as I can, that I ran into this movie again and decided to give it a go. I actually didn’t know what it was about, but I had an idea based on the title, of course. As soon as the movie started it proved, within minutes, that the number one reason for depletion of the ozone layer and increase of global temperatures is animal agriculture, representing 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Read that again:

Animal agriculture makes up 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions

After around 5 minutes into the movie, I was already told the most important thing anyone has ever told me about global warming. The scary part is that nobody in the White House seems to care. I felt like I needed to look up the data to verify it and, sure enough, it checks out. So, I decided that I was going to go vegan. But, after a life of eating meat, how am I going to make this change?

There comes a time in every person’s life when they’re confronted with the reality of their lifestyle and need to make dietary changes in order to ensure they live a longer, healthier life. Usually, cutting down on red meat and butter is the best move you could make if you’re attempting to avoid heart disease, but that still leaves chicken and other poultry, fish, crustaceans, and other seafood, and the idea of “cutting down” is not the same as “cutting out”. At the end of the day, you’re still eating meat. Even one of the people in the movie mentions the fact that going “meatless on Mondays” is still destroying the Earth 6 days a week.

What’s worse is the amount of water and rain forest destruction happening in the name of animal agriculture. If a person eats 3 animal product meals a day, it actually has the most devastating effect on the Earth above fossil fuels (oil, coal, gas, etc), which is everyone’s biggest concern, even environmentalist groups. This is because it takes so much water, grain and land space to raise animals.

Probably the most disconcerting part about this entire issue is the fact that it’s actually against the law to protest or take part in any sort of activism against the animal agriculture business in America. It’s even gotten people killed in South America and caused the creator of Cowspiracy to lose his funding and fear for his life.

I finished the movie recognizing that there was a clear agenda behind it, but that I didn’t disagree and found it hard to even try. The only real reason people eat meat is because it tastes good. But if we want to save the world, it may be time for everyone to go vegan.