By Rachel Krantz
When I spotted fellow vegan James Cromwell in line for food at an advance screening of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, I couldn't help but try to talk to him. Recently arrested at a protest against SeaWorld, the Babe and Six Feet Under actor is a remarkable environmental and animal activist.
"Can you believe they're serving chickens here?" I asked him. "I mean, I guess it's a little better for the environment than eating cows, but it's still ironic to be serving animals at a party for a documentary about climate change."
"Yeah, really!" Cromwell answered. "Besides the damage it does to the atmosphere from methane release, and the terrible torment of the animals, it is destroying us spiritually. You eat one hamburger and have no idea of the process that led to that one hamburger, how many animals suffered, how much waste, what it does to us, and what it does to the planet."
Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Sequel' Conveniently Leaves Out This One Big Truth https://t.co/WJ5yf4U224 @SoilAssociation @eatsustainable— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1502243704.0
He's right. We aren't serious enough about the impact our diet has on the environment, despite overwhelming evidence. For instance, to produce one hamburger takes as much water as two months' worth of showering. Additionally, the livestock sector is one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide emissions and the single largest source of both methane and nitrous oxide. And according to the World Bank, animal agriculture is responsible for nearly 90 percent of Amazon rainforest destruction, with more than 80,000 acres of forest—and 135 animal and plant species—lost each day.
Study Links Most Amazon Deforestation to 128 Slaughterhouses https://t.co/K6CRKZr9Tc @lunchboxbunch @TheVeganSociety— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1501364707.0
Simply put, animal agriculture is one of the main culprits behind climate change. An Inconvenient Truth failed to address this, and people have been wondering whether the sequel would make up for it, particularly since it again stars Al Gore, who himself went vegan after realizing the connection between animal agriculture and global warming. Unfortunately, as James Cromwell and I were about to find out, the sequel likewise failed. And that's truly disappointing.
Instead, too much of the new documentary was devoted to spotlighting former vice president Gore as a leader, rather than informing viewers about the many concrete actions they can take to limit their carbon footprint, like adopting a plant-based diet.
At the end of the film, the audience is asked to take the pledge to #BeInconvenient, to keep demanding that schools, businesses and towns invest in clean, renewable energy. "If President Trump refuses to lead, Americans will," the call to action reads, encouraging viewers who want to fight climate change to use "your choice, your voice, your vote." This is great, but aside from a few seconds where Gore mentions that "agriculture is another major cause" of CO2 emissions, the link between climate change and eating animals is entirely left out of the film.
And any environmentalist worth her salt should find that outrageous.
The link between our diet and the environment is both direct and strong. To give you an idea, if every American committed to just one meat-free day a week, the impact would be equivalent to switching all our gas-powered cars to hybrids. In fact, according to research published in the journal Climate Change, if you adopt a plant-based diet, you'll cut your carbon footprint in half.
Yet these facts are nowhere to be found in this supposedly environmentalist documentary.
Perhaps the filmmakers thought that mainstream viewers couldn't handle the truth. I like to think otherwise.
It's time for environmentalists to face reality and start acknowledging the impact animal agriculture has on climate change. As Cromwell told me, "You can't consume another creature out of sloth, ignorance, and unconsciousness and then switch that off and go with dedication and consciousness in another area of your life. You have to be conscious in the entire course of living."
To call yourself an environmentalist and ignore what eating animals is doing to our planet is hypocritical and perpetuates the selfishness that got us into this mess in the first place. If you really care about the environment, take the film's pledge to #BeInconvenient, and tell everyone you know that one of the biggest things they can do to fight climate change is to leave animals off their plates. Whether or not they find your statement inconvenient, it's the truth.
By Chris Sosa
Gore is currently touring the globe with his latest environmental movie, "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power."
"We're only six months into the experiment with Trump. Some experiments are ended early for ethical reasons," Gore said to the filmgoing audience. While he acknowledged his comments were "provocative," he refused to retract them.
Gore also expressed confidence in the environmental future of the U.S. despite Trump's withdrawal from the Paris agreement. He believes that American cities, states and corporate leaders will ignore their president and meet U.S. obligations anyway.
"We have a global agreement and the American people are part of this agreement in spite of Donald Trump," Gore said.
He reassured the foreign audience that the U.S. will "soon once again" have a president who is committed to combatting the global climate crisis.
Watch Al Gore's recent appearance on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" below:
Reposted with permission from our media associate AlterNet.
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.
By Rachel Krantz
Feel-good cheers in the audience abounded, but in my seat, I was seething over the truth that was conveniently omitted from the new sequel to An Inconvenient Truth: that the most significant thing we as ordinary individuals can do every day to fight climate change is to adopt a plant-based diet. Al Gore himself went vegan in 2014, but aside from a split-second where he mentions that "agriculture is another major cause" of CO2 emissions, the subject is entirely left out of the film.
And that's disgraceful.
You want me to #BeInconvenient? OK, here are some facts: According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the livestock sector is one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide pollution, and the single largest source of both methane and nitrous oxide. According to the World Bank, animal agriculture is responsible for nearly 90 percent of Amazon rainforest destruction. The rainforest is our planet's lungs, and we are destroying it simply to make enough space to kill more animals. More than 80,000 acres of tropical rainforest—and 135 animal, plant and insect species—are lost due to this destruction each day.
If that kind of devastation is too massive to comprehend, consider these more convenient truths: If every American committed to just one Meatless Monday a week, it would be the environmental equivalent of all of the cars on the road switching from sedans to hybrids. The link is so significant that according to research published in the journal Climate Change, if you adopt a plant-based diet, you'll cut your carbon footprint in half.
Yet the bulk of An Inconvenient Sequel focuses on former Vice President Al Gore's quest to save the world, and the behind-the-scenes drama at the Paris climate accords. While it's inspiring to watch Gore help convince India's leaders to use more solar energy, far too much of the documentary is devoted to spotlighting him as a leader rather than informing viewers about the many concrete actions they can take to limit their own carbon footprints.
Telling viewers to fight back simply by taking the hashtag pledge to #BeInconvenient and ambiguously "vote with their choices" is a cop-out. What about the very concrete choice we can all start making today to leave animal products off our plates? Perhaps the filmmakers thought mainstream American viewers couldn't handle that message. After all, when we're still trying to get parts of the country and politicians to admit climate change is real, the bar is awfully low when it comes to confronting reality—even transportation's impact on the climate went unmentioned in the film.
But Gore is right when we he argues that we don't have any time to waste. If sea levels continue to rise at current pace, scientists estimate that New Orleans and Miami will be underwater by the end of the century. Due to our warming oceans, weather events are becoming more and more extreme—as Gore says, "every night on the evening news is like a walk through the Book of Revelations." Lobbying for solar power alone isn't going to cut it.
So yes, by all means, #BeInconvenient. Demand alternative energy reforms, vote in every election, and consider making the ultimate environmental statement by leaving animals off your plate—if not for their sake and your health, then for humanity. Because here's one of the most uncomfortable truths: We talk about climate change as if Earth's destruction hangs in the balance. But the truth is, the planet will persevere. It is mankind—and the many species we should be stewards of—that may not.