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A Climate Change with Matt Matern
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144: "Eating Our Way to Extinction," with Gerard Bisshop and Mark Galvin: Urgent Action Needed on Animal Agriculture

Guest Name(s): Gerard Wedderburn-Bisshop & Mark Gavin

Check out Matt’s discussion with guests Gerard Bisshop, and Mark Galvin, about their documentary “Eating Our Way to Extinction,” and the environmental issues it addresses. They delve into the devastating impact of animal agriculture on deforestation, biodiversity loss, and climate change.

They also highlight the economic and health benefits of such changes and discuss the involvement of Richard Branson and Kate Winslet in their documentary.

Eating Our Way to Extinction >>

Episode Categories:
Matt, Gerard Bisshop & Mark Galvin discuss "Eating Our Way to Extinction," stressing urgent action to address animal agriculture's impact on deforestation, climate change. They advocate plant-based diets & activism for change.
Show Links:
EATING OUR WAY TO EXTINCTION takes audiences on a cinematic journey around the world, from the depths of the Amazon rainforests to the Taiwanese Mountains, the Mongolian desert, the US Dust Bowl, the Norwegian Fjords and the Scottish coastlines, telling the story of our planet through shocking testimonials, poignant accounts from indigenous people most affected by our ever-changing planet, globally renowned figures and leading scientists. This powerful documentary sends a simple but impactful message by uncovering hard truths and addressing, on the big screen, the most pressing issue of our generation – ecological collapse…
Narrated by Kate Winslet, ‘Eating Our Way to Extinction,’ a Cinematic Feature Documentary addresses the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about… Will we be the next species on the path toward extinction?
144: "Eating Our Way to Extinction," with Gerard Bisshop and Mark Galvin: Urgent Action Needed on Animal Agriculture

You’re listening to A Climate Change. This is Matt Matern, your host, and I’ve got Gerard Bisshop, co-founder of World Preservation Foundation, and Mark Galvin, who is a producer of “Eating Our Way to Extinction.” “Eating Our Way to Extinction” is a great documentary. Kate Winslet is the narrator of it. I watched it recently.

And I must say, I could listen to her read the phone book from cover to cover. So you got a great narrator. This film was the 2022 winner of best documentary from the environmental media, also the International Green Film Award. It’s had 10 million viewers so far and counting. So it’s a powerful film. I saw it on the way back from COP 28. I went to Dubai this year.

And I felt it made such a powerful case against modern agriculture and the pollution and the environmental degradation that follows with the runoff causing ocean dead zones and all this pollution that literally flows downstream from creeks and rivers and the like into our oceans.

It’s compelling in so many ways, so great job you two, and welcome to the program.

Thank you, Matt.

Thank you. Thanks, Matt.

So tell us, Gerard, what brought you to the environmental movement? And then kind of the second part of the question would be, then what brought you to making this film?

Okay, yeah, look, I worked for government, federal and state government for many years. And for the last two decades, I was a principal scientist working for state government. Our job was to map the deforestation in the state of Queensland, which is about three times the state of Texas, pretty big. But what we saw in, Australia is unique. It’s a first world country with third world.

deforestation. We’re up there on the WWF ranking as one of the deforestation fronts along with Brazil. But I watched 10 square kilometres, that’s two and a half thousand acres of bushland, of forest being cut down, trashed, bulldozed down, every day.

for grass-fed industries. So that was totally sobering. And when I left government, I left because my group had been involved in a greenwash exercise of the Queensland beef industry. And that disgusted me, so I left. And since then I’ve been working with Mark and others, and this eating away to extinction is more or less a culmination.

of that work. But yeah, so there is a book that goes along with the documentary and there’s a lot of other work too. I’m actually working on the climate impacts of animal agriculture recently, which is cutting edge, which we may get to later if we have some time.

Well definitely, definitely want to jump into that. Mark, what brought you A, to the environmental movement and then to producing this movie?

Okay, it started, I suppose, in a way through business. My first business was herbal medicines organic. So through that process, I learned about the impacts on the soil of how we produce crops and so on. And then I also got involved in importing proteins. But one of the relearnings actually was…

a range of skincare from Australia actually, which was organic food standards. And I learned a lot from the founder of that about the impacts.

on the environment. So that set me on my path to learning how producing of ingredients and proteins and herbs and any kind of plant affects the environment. But as I went on that journey, I started to learn about the impacts of animal agriculture. And the first big one was, you know, when I started to see the data on the amount of rainforest being lost in Brazil, particularly to

agriculture which is 80% plus.

So from there we went and Jerry’s a co-founder, we founded World Preservation Foundation, writing reports showing the impacts of animal agriculture specifically on the environment. And we also have a tree planting initiative at the foundation because it’s about education but also trying to make an impact and restore the soil and bring back the biodiversity that we’re losing everything we learned from our journey with, you know, you start to build up a network and Ludo and Otto, who are the directors on the project, and producers with me, and Kian, we all had the passion to do something. A

nd we said with collective knowledge we have, let’s go make a documentary and really show, bring in the best scientists in the world, credible scientists to actually share that message with the public and show them that, you can make a huge impact by changing what you eat.

So Mark and Gerard, had you done a documentary before? Was this your first documentary?

Yeah, this is the first.

Well, well done. A really great one to get out of the gate. Not too many people hit it out of the ballpark on the first swing. So tell us a little bit about kind of the genesis of the documentary and how you connected to Ludo and Otto and how they decided to run with the project and had they done any other environmental films before this?

Yes, so Otto and myself had known each other for many years through mutual friends and Ludo, his brother, obviously. But Otto had worked on productions before, editing music. He’s really great at that. And Ludo had his own production company. So Ludo had worked on documentaries in Madagascar and different parts of Africa.

So he’d seen a lot of wildlife in his career and but the one thing he did see was the impact. So he would have been say, in Madagascar, he’d go back five years later, and he’d see a huge impact on the environment. So he started to get concerned when he started to see the real impact of animal agriculture and how we were taking down our forests and biodiversity to raise livestock. So it was just that coming together of talent and with the same philosophy that we had to tell this story.

I guess the question that comes to mind is, are we doing a better job at slowing down the animal agriculture industry in the deforestation, and if so, how much and how much more kind of remains to be done?

I can answer that. To answer you no directly. We’re not doing a very good job at all at preserving our environment, the environment that sustains us. Deforestation is now greater than it ever has been and we’re reaching ecological tipping points. I’ll just give you an example of ecological tipping point and it’s tragic example, it’s the Amazon.

The Amazon has a river which flows east and in the sky above the Amazon is a river which flows west. They call it the river in the sky. The rainforest, the Amazon rainforest creates its own rain. It gives out the moisture for the atmosphere but it also gives out the particles and the aerosols which create the raindrops. So this rain is incredibly productive.

This rain that comes from the river and the sky waters not only the Amazon rainforest, but also all the agriculture in the countries surrounding in the southern end of Brazil. That’s why in Brazil, in some areas, they have two and three crops per year, rain-fed, which is amazing. But what’s happening there, and scientists have been warning about it for over a decade, is that once we reach a threshold, and they’re saying it’s 20% of the Amazon cut down.

Once that threshold has reached, we’ll reach a tipping point where the whole of the Amazon will revert, or most of it will revert to savanna. It won’t have the rain to support a rainforest. And that’s exactly what’s happening now. In the last decade, the Amazon has had its first ever droughts and this year has been a, and last year, has been an extreme drought.

They’ve held El Nino on the top of it, which has dried up. Some of the rivers that are dried up, they’re just water holes now, but the temperature of the water has reached 38 degrees. Everything’s dying. So this is what we call an ecological tipping point.

And these are the this is the impact that we, humanity, has had on the environment in many areas. But this is a glaring area where one of the systems that supports life on Earth is in a perilous state. And unless we change, unless we reforest, it’s suffering, it may collapse.

Well, if that’s not a wake up call, I don’t know what is. We need to change our behavior and we need to do it now. And it’s quite shocking. And something that we’ve taken for granted forever, that, oh, the Amazon rainforest will just be there for us. And it may not be. And that it could be wiped out in such short order, we better start taking action and doing it immediately. So.

You’re listening to A Climate Change. This is Matt Matern. Got Gerard Bisshop and Mark Galvin, who created the documentary, Eating Our Way to Extinction. We’ll be right back in just one minute.You’re listening to A Climate Change. This is Matt Matern. I’ve got Gerard Bisshop and Mark Galvin, who created Eating Our Way to Extinction, a great documentary. And right before the break, we were talking about the Amazon rainforest. And Mark, maybe you could walk us through a little bit of the cycle of degradation and how that is playing out in real time.

So in the documentary, the opening scene is, you know, it’s a thousand year old tree being cut down. We were there with the cameras, you can hear the, you know, the crunching of the wood, you can hear all the animals and the birds, you know, nearby screaming and as it hits the ground. So just the sound alone is pretty horrific.

But you, you know, I’m not sure the exact number, but the amount of rainforest cleared every day is vast. So that’s just one tree, but that’s happening on a mass scale. But when we went there, you’ve got indigenous people being forced off their own land. Some are a lot a lot are actually killed by militia and they then clear the land, they grow intensively soy and other crops.

80% of soy is fed to livestock crop is sent, it’s used for livestock in Brazil, but it’s mainly sent to China, US and Europe. So the cycle is we’re cutting our rainforests, taking the grain and shipping that grain to feed livestock in Europe and the US and China. And that source of protein is very inefficient. So it’s an efficient source of protein in the first place, where we could actually take the actually destroying our biodiversity.

And as we know, they say the rainforest is the lungs of our earth. It’s more than that. It’s also the water systems, as Jerry mentioned earlier, the river in the sky. We did a launch of the documentary down in Brazil. I actually went to the museum there where they show the river in the sky and we are totally disrupting that whole ecosystem. And then

When you look at it, Europe and the US in particular are saying to Brazil, you’ve got to stop this process, you know, stop cutting down your forest. Yet we’re taking the grain and feeding it the livestock and eating the beef and the pork and the chicken on our plates. So we need to look at the source of what’s happening. And we need we need governmental change in around the world.

Right, we’re sending two different messages. The one message is stop doing it, but the other message is we’re buying every bit of soybeans that they’re producing and meat. So it incentivizes this. And just, I think it’s really important that we create incentives, monetary incentives for people to do the right thing. So maybe Gerard and…

Yes.

You can speak to that as well as other impacts on the ecosystem based upon this deforestation.

Yeah, thanks, mate. The documentary addresses the question, why are we trashing our planet? And scientists have been looking at that for quite some time now, and it’s very clear. They’ve defined the systems that support life on Earth and their limits, and these are called planetary boundaries. And we’ve now defined that there’s nine systems and six of those systems have been overstepped.

And by definition, if we overstep one system like climate or biodiversity loss, we endanger all life on Earth. So we’re not doing too well, but the scientists have been looking at what’s driving this. What is, why is it that we’re heavily impacting our environment the way we do? I mean, no animal dirties its nest as we do. And the reason is quite simple.

And the body of scientific evidence is very strong now. And it comes down to this, what we eat, what we put on our plates in front of us every meal is the biggest impact on planet Earth. It’s not iPhones, it’s not lithium mines, it’s not plastic pollution, it’s what we eat. And that’s now acknowledged as the, by far the biggest impact on planet Earth.

And within that, animal agriculture, it has the lion’s share of impact on the environment. And for example, one of the first things we do, what’s the most precious thing that we have about our planet? A lot of people would argue that’s land, that’s our planet. That’s precious. And what we do is we squander that land. The biggest land use by far is animal agriculture.

It takes up over 40% of the land, a lot of it’s unusable, it’s ice and snow and desert, but 40% of the good stuff is given over to animal agriculture. Now that’s been taken from nature. And if we go back to the Amazon example, nature, habitat is everything. They are territorial. And the reason for that is this, every animal, native animal has its patch, and that patch provides for them. It feeds them.

It waters them, it gives them a home. Now, if you take away that home, the animals die, basically. They don’t move to another spot like we do, and cause immigration issues. They die because animals are territorial. That’s their food, that’s their sustenance. So if you take away the habitat, you take away their lives. And we are in the midst of the sixth great extinction.

And that’s driven by us taking away animal habitat and it drives all sorts of things. It changes the weather cycles, the water cycle. So now when it rains, it pours and when it’s dry and hot, it’s even hotter and drier. So droughts and floods are gonna become more common with this because we’ve trashed the environment that moderates this. And so that moderation, that life support system that we’ve relied on for all these years, is trembling, it’s crumbling and it’s all because of what we eat.

So the biggest and this is a good news story. This is an incredibly good news story because the biodiversity crisis that we’re in right now, I mean, there are four percent of the mammals on planet earth, that’s from mice up to elephants and whales. Four percent of the mammals are us and our animals that we keep for food.

Sorry, 96% is us and the animals we keep for food, 4% is the wildlife. So the wildlife has been squeezed into this tiny corner on our planet. And if we extinguish the wildlife, we extinguish our own lives. We depend on them. So we have this great opportunity just by simply changing what we eat. We have this opportunity of releasing 40% of the planet back to nature.

And in doing that, that much habitat will reverse the sixth great extinction, it will reverse climate change, it will reverse the water cycle imbalance, the nutrient pollution, many, many other facets that are actually impacting our life on Earth right now.

I guess the question, you know, it’s not really too much of a question, but Mark, we can do this in terms of people have been a vegetarian for, for millennium. So it isn’t something that is beyond human capacity to be a vegetarian or be a vegan, right?

Exactly. And all the research is starting to point to the fact that we’re actually healthier on a vegan and vegetarian diet. That’s for sure. You look at the latest series on Netflix, The Blue Zones, people that live the longest around the world in Japan, in Loma Linda in the US, they live longer, healthier lives because they don’t consume or they consume very little animal products.

So we’ve got the scientific evidence to show that and even the diet tech diet Dietetics Association of the US has said that a vegan diet is a perfectly healthy diet Canada has changed its food pyramid to reduce the amount to show a reduction in the amount of Meat and dairy anyone should consume and consume more beans lentils vegetables fruits

And the positive is we’ve got so many great alternatives as well, meat alternatives, dairy alternatives that are being produced. And, you know, you’re going to see cell food coming in, which is basically meat produced through cellular agriculture, which has just a drastically less environmental footprint, like 95 percent less water.

No antibiotics, no steroids needed. So these other options will be coming. Fermented foods are coming a long way. So you have fermented dairy, fermented meat alternatives. We will have options for people who want an alternative because some people do. Others just want to go on a clean whole food plant-based diet which is fantastic.

And when we look at processed foods anyway there’s a whole movement away from highly processed foods. So that journey is beginning for everyone as well that, you know, we need to make a change in diet, and it’s going to improve our overall health, and it’s going to improve the health of the planet.

For instance, in the Europe, It’s a study out of Oxford with Marcus Springman and Jerry will probably know the name of that study. It’s shown that the cost to the European Union of not adopting their own dietary guidelines for health and the environment is costing between two and three trillion euros every year. They are incredible amounts of money.

Yeah, it’s shocking the cost of our bad health that comes from poor eating from the start at the farm level to the pesticides and everything that’s put on the food to the mass food industry that puts three, it’s like 2,000 artificial ingredients into the US food supply.

I think the EU is a little ahead of us and only had 300 artificial ingredients, but still that’s not great. So, you know, we’re fed these artificial ingredients and all these diseases come from this terrible food, which then has, as you said, Marc, a tremendous healthcare cost downstream. So we could literally probably pay for all free food for everybody and it would be less than the cost of the healthcare expense and the environmental costs of polluting, so it’s kind of a no-brainer. But stay tuned, you’re listening to A Climate Change. I’ve got Gerard Bisshop and Mark Galvin, producers of Eating Our Way to Extinction, the great documentary, and we’ll be right back in just one minute.

You’re listening to A Climate Change. I’ve got Gerard Bisshop and Mark Galvin of Eating Our Way to Extinction on the program. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you before, you guys, how did you get Kate Winslet on the show to be your narrator? That was a great coup.

Yeah, so Kate just happens to be Ludo and Otto’s sister-in-law. So, and she, you know, Kate’s always been an advocate for the environment. So it was an easy ask in a sense. And she’s got such a fantastic voice and it just sets the scene for the whole documentary.

Ah, that helps.

It does indeed. And then you’ve got a tremendous amount of co-stars on there, one of which Richard Branson, or Sir Richard Branson, how did you get him on the show?

Yeah, so Richard, obviously, he has, he helped us with the documentary in terms of, you know, flights and financial help. So that was great. And he’s obviously a passionate environmentalist as well. You know, and it’s people say, you know, he’s got an airline, but everyone’s going to travel.

And when you are in a position that Richard is in.

He has to run his business, yet he has to also look at the other side, which he does. And by supporting projects like this and offering meat alternatives on his flights, he’s just on the first flight from London to New York on biofuel, SAF.

So he’s always been trying to move the needle for his own companies. And he does a lot of work in the background and a lot of great initiatives of tree planting, etc. So he’s doing his bit and it was great to have him on board.

Yeah, well he’s certainly a powerhouse and he’s had his fingers in so many different things. When he gets engaged, he gets things done, so it’s always wonderful to have somebody like that on your team, because somehow he’s got that Midas touch of making projects move.

So, yeah, I’m a big proponent of hydrogen and I’m still hoping that eventually we’ll be able to power planes by hydrogen, which would then be a much cleaner method of flying. But we’re not quite there, but they’re moving in that direction. Tell us a little… Yeah, I think we’ll get there. I think technology is improving dramatically to clean up the world, but those technological

Yeah, they will get there.

solve the problem of deforestation and the like, because we still have to tackle that problem. If we still keep eating all this meat and all that, we’ll be deforesting the planet and we can ruin the planet just from that method alone. We were talking earlier on the break about Sudan and maybe if you want to comment about that crisis and how that’s all affected or connected to what we’re talking about.

Yeah, I was just watching the news and there’s, it was just saying in one camp alone, 14 children are dying of starvation every day. And the UN are saying, you know, they need a lot of help there. And this is going to happen around the world. You know, the numbers of refugees the UN are predicting by 2030 is incredible. Climate refugees. So we need to address this problem. And, you know, there shouldn’t be any starvation in this world.

What we’re doing is we’re not using our resources properly using the grains for creating protein, for creating bread, for creating meat alternatives and all the other nutrition of value in what we’re feeding to livestock to create a pound of beef, a pound of pork and chicken, we could feed the whole world probably twice over.

So it’s just really sad to see children dying when there is no need for it and it’s just us needing to change how we look at food, how we produce food, and then as we mentioned just earlier in the programme, the financial benefits, the health systems of the world and to the environment are just endless.

Yeah, I think you look at kind of moral of, the laws of basic morality is, hey, look at what the effect that we’re having on other people and clearly the effect that we’re having by using grains so kind of greedily to make meat versus

Sharing it with our brothers and sisters in places that are you know don’t have enough food is It’s kind of unconscionable. We just and we can easily turn a blind eye to it But the reality is that we are in some way Causing these food crises by the way that we eat here in the developed world.

Exactly and we can’t really blame the public in a sense because there was a recent study showing that of all the environmental media and reports out there, I think it was only, and Jerry probably has the number more accurate than I do, I think it was only 5% mentioned animal agriculture.

And it probably didn’t go into any great detail. So I believe that if the media have a role to play, government have a role to play in letting people know that by changing the food they eat and making that reducing their consumption of meat and dairy will have such a great impact for them right now but especially for their children their grandchildren you know we’re really decimating our planet with this industry and a lot of it is down to the power of these companies the lobbying power they have the amount of lobbyists for the meat and dairy industry in Washington in Brussels at UN conferences like COP is just incredible.

It’s almost verging on criminal. We are misrepresented. The public taxpayers’ dollars that go to fund these industries that are actually destroying our planet. So we, as the public of the world, we’re giving our taxpayers’ dollars to our government. They should be making sure that they’re not destroying the planet with that. We’re funding fishing industries that wouldn’t survive without taxpayers money.

They’re not viable businesses, they’re only held up by taxpayer dollars and yet they’re destroying the oceans. Mass fishing nets go on for kilometers that are dragged along the sea floor destroying our corals, our biodiversity in the sea. It’s incredible what we’re doing.

Well, it is, when you look at it systemically, the ads from these companies, meat, dairy, oil industry and the like, feed the media. And so the media is less likely to report stories about those types of things because they don’t want to upset their advertisers. And then those same industries are funneling money to the politicians so that they’re funding those programs because they have the most money.

I mean, who, you know, the kids dying of starvation in Sudan do not have lobbyists. They don’t have anybody generating ads on their behalf in the fancy publications all over the world. So they’re not, their voices are not gonna be heard the same way as the richest companies in the world. So there you have it.

Yeah.

Gerard, sorry, what’s your thought as to how this plays out going forward and what can we do to kind of best shake this system up?

Yeah, thanks, Matt. Look, this is, we’re at a critical juncture. We’re at a point now where we can decide the future of our planet. It’s been called the Anthropocene. In other words, the major geological forces on the planet are taking a back seat to the force of humans on the planet. And we’re at a point now where we can decide, we can decide the future of our planet.

And largely that will depend on what’s on our plate. We’re talking about Richard Branson before, but the whole airline industry emissions are small compared with food. And I might share with you an example of how our thinking has led us astray. Many people think that factory farming is awful, which it is, and they advocate for grass-fed and for free range.

But grass-fed has actually been the most destructive force on our planet. Grazing animals, half of the world’s grazing lands, 37% of the planet is grazing. Half of that was forest. So we’ve taken out that forest. Another 3% is crops for livestock. We’ve taken out that forest we have reached a point where these systems are creaking and breaking as we said as we discussed before.

But what does that give us? 37% of the planet at the grazing lands, the grass-fed lands gives us about five or six percent of our protein. Now that is probably the most destructible, destructive in terms of deforestation and emissions and wasteful things that we do. And it’s way more than any air travel.

So this is a message of hope. It’s a big message of hope. If you look at how we’ve used, if you think about this world, if each one of us who’s listening to this thinks about this world as our island, now this island has supported our families, our growing families for a long time, but we’ve trashed the forest.

We’ve muddied, we’ve dirty the river with nutrients, with nitrogen pollution. We’re killing off the ocean with dead zones. We’ve raised the temperature so that it’s affecting everything on life that we do. The water cycles are broken. And our science team, we might have an uncle or a nephew who knows these things, and we get them in to advise us on how to run our island.

And those that science team is telling us here is one big thing which is most destructive on your island and that is animal agriculture. So we get the family together and we talk about, okay, what can we do to have a future on this island? And one of the recommendations, a strong recommendation from the health, from the environment, from the climate side is go plant-based. Okay, now this is from the science.

So you take that to the family group and the family thinks about it, decides, no, we traditionally always eat meat. And then you see the scientists saying, no, we trash our island, we lose our island if we keep going that way. If we change, we will have abundance. We’ll be able to let the wildlife come back, the forest come back, and we will use much smaller area of our island.

So that’s the decision point where we are right now. That’s where we are and we’ve got to inform our family and programs like yours, Matt, are brilliant in educating people. We need to do that. We’ve been the victims of advertising and lobbying for far too long.

It’s now time to look at the science as eating away to extinction does and to look hard, have a hard look at what’s killing our planet and what’s killing us and make those hard decisions. And we can do it and we can have a bright future if we do.

Well, let’s do that. Let’s decide what’s on our plate. We can make this choice and change the planet in the process for the better. So you’re listening to A Climate Change. This is Matt Matern. I’ve got Gerard Bisshop and Mark Galvin on the program. We’ll be back in just one minute to discuss eating our way to extinction.

You’re listening to A Climate Change, and I’ve got Gerard Bisshop and Mark Galvin from Eating Our Way to Extinction on the program. And Gerard and Mark, as we talk about the last segment, really wanna drill down on what we can do going forward and giving our audience some ideas about making changes themselves, as well as you know, supporting friends and family along the way, as well as politicians.

But kind of circling back to the science before we do that, Gaurav, maybe you can talk to us about the tremendous amount of methane emissions and other emissions that come from this gigantic animal agricultural industry around the world.

Yeah, thanks, Matt. The science around emissions from agriculture is now extraordinary. We’ve only been in the business of measuring emissions for three or four decades. And we’ve had these conventions back when it all started that have skewed our thinking. We thought originally it was totally to do with fossil fuels. Well, now, and so what we did is we counted fossil fuels quite differently.

to how we count emissions from say deforestation. But now we’re looking at them equally. We find a totally different story. We actually find that emissions from deforestation have been twice the amount of fossil fuels. So that’s one thing. We’re also learning that when we burn fossil fuels, we release carbon dioxide, which warms the planet.

We also release aerosols like sulfur dioxide cool the planet, you might have heard of global dimming, the sulfur dioxide and others have caused that. So that cooling effect from the global dimming has actually balanced a lot of the warming effect from carbon dioxide released. So up until now, fossil fuels have only caused the current global warming that we’re experienced. Fossil fuels have only caused about, or less than 20% of that warming.

Now, I’ll let that sink in, but that’s gobsmacking. And the thing that’s caused half the global warming to date is methane, methane. And we know the biggest source of methane is animals and their dung, followed by coal mining and gas fracking. So they say methane, natural gas, is a transition fuel.

It’s a very nasty fuel because the leakages from that and mostly comes from animal agriculture, but that methane has caused half the global warming we are experiencing today. When you add that to the carbon dioxide released by deforestation, which does not release any cooling aerosols or not as much, we find that animal agriculture has actually caused the bulk of global warming.

Now this is new research, it’s under peer review right now. Some of it, like the cooling from aerosols is well-known, but the other deforestation is in peer review right now. But when you measure all of that up, you find that we’ve got no idea what’s really causing global warming. And the fact that, the interesting thing is that, animal agriculture has caused the deforestation.

It can also, it’s reversible. Fossil fuels are a bit harder to stuff back into the ground, but forests are reversible. We can grow new forests, and nature will do a lot of the heavy lifting for us as long as we stop two things, burning, which we do every year. In the tropics, they call them woody weeds that we burn off, and the long grass to burn off, to create new a green pick for the animals.

But if we burn off to stop the forest and we also put animals on the land and that stops the forest. Sheep and goats particularly are incredibly efficient. You look at Scotland, they’re incredibly efficient at killing off any regrowth. So you pull them off the land, you stop burning and nature will take over.

Nature will regrow. You just look at Chernobyl. So um, this is the good news story. This is the part of the thing. The global warming caused by animal agriculture is way more than we thought. But it’s also the solution.

Right. Well, that is the good news. We can make a choice to change this process. It is gobsmacking, as you said, to have 50% of the global warming come from methane emissions, a lot of which come from animal agriculture. You know, another point that you made about the animals, the grass-fed and the free-range stuff, causing so much in the way of problems.

I recall seeing in Arizona, a chart of what Arizona used to look like before there was animal agriculture there and cows being raised for food. And there were rivers running all over Arizona, which is kind of a deserted type area. You think of it now, at least in the U.S., and now a lot of those rivers dried up because the animals there ate all the grass, the natural grass, and dried up the rivers.

So like if we would have taken, you know, if we had not put animals where they shouldn’t have been, Arizona would be like a different state, which is kind of mind boggling that rivers are literally dry up because animals chew, you know, chew up the grassland.

Yeah, it’s incredible.

So I guess the next piece that I’d kind of like to pivot to, Mark, maybe you can talk about is where people can tune in to see the movie and also what they maybe want, what you would say to do next. What are your kind of action steps to somebody who’s out there listening to this?

Yeah, thank you, Matt.

Yeah, we’re the documentaries available on Amazon Prime were also available on YouTube. We’ve tried we’ve narrated in up to 16 languages plus and the subtitles for other languages. So we’ve tried to cover as many languages globally as possible. We just released Hindi for India with Maneka Gandhi. So we’ve got some great people narrating around the world

eati and there you can sign up to do a screening and we’ll give you access to files where you can show it at a university, at your local community center, wherever you need to, even in your home. And there’s also posters and materials you can use to promote the documentary, so we’ve got a kind of a screening pack on there.

So I just ask anyone that wants to help us promote it on social media, share the link from our YouTube channel for all those different languages. If you’ve got friends who are in different countries around the world, we’ve probably covered most of those languages as well. So it’d be great if everyone can share the documentary. And as I said, go to the website, there’s lots of great materials on there. There’s Q and A’s, there’s Mythbusters. You can learn quite a lot on the documentary.

Well, I would greatly encourage people to watch the documentary as it was one of the best ones that I’ve seen produced in terms of not only just production quality and an interesting story, but the science behind it. You had tremendous scientists throughout the program that are very persuasive telling a story that is important and needs to be told. And as you said, our media is not telling this story.

for the most part, they’re not giving us this really on a daily basis. Quite frankly, the red lights should be flashing. We should be hearing about the effects of animal agriculture every day in the news. This is extraordinarily, we’re talking about the apocalypse coming because of animal agriculture. Wake up. Come on. This is time.

Yeah.

It’s, you know, this is important enough. It actually is important, more important than celebrity news. You know, shouldn’t we cover this story more than we cover, you know, TMZ? I mean, come on, it deserves its own channel for God’s sake.

Yeah, exactly.

It really does. That is an idea we have. But one of the things if you go to and this I’ll end on this the if you look at the shift to electric cars, you could see how governments got behind the car industry with subsidies, charging stations around countries, you can see it can be done with government support. We need government support now to back the plant based sector.

that shift away. And we need to support the industries in the meat industry themselves and the farmers especially to make that shift. So we’re not saying, you know, these farmers work incredibly hard to produce food for us and their hearts are in the right place, but they are going to be impacted by water shortages massively over the next 10 years. So they need to make the shift for their own livelihoods. They might not know it now because again, they’re not getting the correct information.

If you go to blackrock.com, one of the biggest funds in the world, they have a whole section on their website about how much water we’re going to lose by 2030. They’re basically advising their investors not to invest in these areas in water for that specific reason. So if one of the biggest funds in the world is telling you not to invest in water because you’re going to be critical water shortages, take notice. And farmers should take notice because…

During the summer in France, the farmers were asking the French government to give them two billion to buy more feed for their livestock because they couldn’t grow because of the droughts and so on. But the knock on effect of that, that two billion would go to probably buy it in Brazil, taking out more rainforest, feeding more livestock and the cycle continues.

So we need to educate farmers and we need to support farmers financially to make the shift. And they can do it. They can grow crops, they can do solar, they can grow woodland. There’s so much you can do and properly rewild in the right way.

Thank you, Mark and Gerard, for being on the program. It was great talking with you. Everybody watch Eating Our Way to Extinction. Great documentary with Kate Winslet at this narrator. And stay tuned, come in, stay tuned next week. We’re gonna have some great guests on the program. Check out aclimatechange.com or tune in to Apple, Spotify, iHeart.

and look at any of our older episodes on there as well. So thanks again, Mark and Gerard, for being on the show.

Thank you Matt, real pleasure.

Thank you.

(Note: this is an automatic transcription and may have errors in formatting and grammar.)

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