October is Sustainability Month and some of the ways Knox is staying in tune with the theme is by showing educational movies, teaching how to eat healthily and learning how to upcycle books. On Tuesday, Oct. 9, Sustainability Director Debbie Steinberg partnered with Bon App
étit’s Shira Caufman to show the movie “Eating Animals”, based off of Jonathan Safran Foer’s book, which covers the effects of factory farming on the environment and on our health.
The movie dealt with a difficult topic explicitly. It puts all of the behind the scenes action into the light and breaks down just how damaged our meat industry, factory farming, and our department of agriculture really is.
“I think that even though I’m already a vegetarian, it’s really important to keep educating myself and to know all I can about it,” junior Natalie Krogull said.
She found that after initially reading the book “Eating Animals,” the choice was clear that it was time to go vegetarian. She continues to learn about the meat industry because of how much it affects our society.
“Because of the environmental impact, because of the human rights concerns with it, just how much inequality stems from the meat industry with the worker’s rights that are there, the way it affects communities, the way it affects local farmers,” Krogull said.
Sophomore Sam Williamson also found the movie incredibly moving even though she’s already a vegetarian. “Becoming a vegetarian is learning a lot more about all this and how the agriculture industry is so messed up. I’m glad that I did.”
“Eating Animals” gives the inside scoop on how brutally the animals that humans eat are treated to be served, sold and cooked efficiently. What matters most to the meat industry is how quickly they can get the meat out to the public. Because of this, the animals are fed drugs and other antibiotics to grow quicker and get to the slaughterhouse faster. The chickens brought to the stores are hardly able to stand because of the mutations that come about through the generations. They grow four times faster than they used to, resulting in health problems, weak legs and bacteria in the meat they produce.
The meat that is being produced is the meat that is in most school lunches, starting in elementary school. The milk that people are encouraged to drink because it makes them “big and strong” is actually filled with excess bacteria and parasites. The movie stated “it is not if, but when another dangerous flu virus hits,” in response to the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic that infected an estimated 500 million people from the meat they were consuming.
Steinberg has been putting together many activities to amplify Sustainability Month here at Knox. After attending a conference about the topic, one of the promotions granted for the month by the Associations for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) was to allow colleges to show this movie for free. Steinberg and Caufman found the movie to be perfect for the campus. Steinberg said that one of the reasons they chose the movie was because it is “a well-rounded look at industrial animal raising.” Steinberg saw the movie as impartial and thought it provided a deeper understanding of industrial farming.
The rest of Sustainability Month will focus on more activities to get Knox in the spirit of more care for the environment. “Get Caught Green Handed” is another initiative that Steinberg and her eco-ambassadors are working on. This awards the students at Knox with a sticker if they are caught doing something great for sustainability.