PLANEAT.co.uk Trailer from planeat.co.uk on Vimeo.
Ed. Note: More from our resident evolutionary biologist Ph.D., EvoDiva.
The AFI Theatre in Silver Spring, Maryland presented a special viewing of “PlanEat,” a documentary that broadly examines how the food choices we make affect everything around us. The title leads you to believe that it’s all about the planet, but it’s that and so much more.
We were lucky to have the young British filmmaker Shelley Lee Davis introduce her first film to us via Skype. Three years ago, she used to argue with her vegetarian boss over his dietary choice. But the more she discovered, the more urgent it seemed to get her newfound message to the masses. She quit her job and co-produced this film (with Or Shlomi) with no start-up money and no budget for marketing. Given all this, the film itself is impressive.
Of course it’s not about the killer special effects though – it’s about the content. We’ve heard morsels of much of this stuff before. The filmmakers interviewed scientists who study the relationship between food production and its impact on the environment. The wastewater from America’s breadbasket factory farms flows down the Mississippi River and creates a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico the size of New Jersey. The most striking (and frankly depressing) finding was that ovo-lacto vegetarians tend to have a worse impact on the environment than poultry eaters. This was based on the assumption that ovo-lacto vegetarians consume LOTS of cheese, and those cows really drain our resources.
Meanwhile, for those of you out there who can’t afford a new hybrid, you don’t have to get your tree-hugger card taken away: simply maintain a plant-based diet and you can have over 30% more of an impact than your flesh-eating, hybrid-driving friends.
As an evolutionary biologist and anatomy geek, I was most fascinated by the undeniable findings on the impact of animal protein on human health.