In a new video sponsored by Mercy For Animals, environmental activist Greta Thunberg draws connections between animal agriculture and the environmental crisis. Tom Mustill of Gripping Films, who specializes in stories where “people and nature meet,” directed the powerful video.
Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist who has been challenging world leaders from an early age. She has received numerous honors and awards for her international environmental efforts, including making Time’s 100 most influential people list, being the youngest Time Person of the Year, and earning three nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. Thunberg is vegan and even convinced her parents to adopt a plant-based lifestyle as well.
The COVID-19 Pandemic
In the video, Thunberg speaks of the devastation COVID-19 has caused around the world, of the millions suffering and dying from the disease. Scientists report a high likelihood that humanity will face more pandemics. To prevent this, we must take a look at the most likely cause of a future pandemic.
Up to 75% of all new diseases in humans start in other animals. These diseases include West Nile fever, Zika fever, Ebola virus disease, mad cow disease, avian flu, HIV/AIDS, swine flu, SARS, and MERS.
Despite this, we continue to up the risk by cutting down forests, destroying habitats, and expanding industrialized farming. This all helps create the perfect conditions for diseases to spread from wild animals to farmed animals and then to humans.
Thunberg also addresses our need as a species to dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.
While fossil fuel companies may draw the most media attention, animal agriculture accounts for nearly 15 percent of global human-induced emissions. In fact, if we all switched to plant-based food, we could remove up to 8 billion metric tons of CO2 from the earth’s atmosphere each year!
Land Use and Biodiversity
About 83 percent of the world’s agricultural land is used to feed livestock, even though farmed animals provide only 18 percent of our calories. In the video, Thunberg states:
The way we make food, raising animals to eat, clearing land to grow food to feed those animals—if we continue, we will run out of land and food. It just doesn’t make sense. The land requirements of meat and dairy production are equivalent to an area the size of North and South America combined.
Humans kill around 60 billion land animals per year. We kill fish in such large numbers that we measure their deaths in tons. All this killing is without regard for the animals’ unique personalities and capacity to feel pain, fear, and sorrow. Thunberg tells viewers:
Some animals plan for the future, forge friendships that last for decades. They play, they help each other, they show signs of what we call empathy.
A heartbreaking 70 percent of farmed animals live in factory farms, denied everything that makes life worth living. In the United States, this number is around 99 percent. This is unacceptable.
What Will You Do?
By preserving nature and improving our relationship with our planet, we will protect ourselves as well. In the video, Thunberg acknowledges that we all may not have the same opportunities and choices, but most of us can do something.
Please share Greta’s video with your friends and family. Help spread this message that is so critical for our planet and all who inhabit it. You can also make a huge difference by eating more plant-based foods. Click here for delicious recipes, tips, and more.
Cover Photo: Copyright Gripping Films