02 May 2011

Jason Schwartzman narrates short film that asks viewers to cut meat consumption

The question of what to eat is, unfortunately, one that many omnivores don't often treat with grave importance.  More often than not, most people end up choosing the easiest and most convenient option, and we all know how often that choice contains meat.  Aiming to show how thoughtful consideration can and should be a part of meal-planning, and how small steps can have a big impact, a new short film, "What to Eat," just made its internet debut.

Narrated by Jason Schwartzman (star of "Rushmore," "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" and the HBO series "Bored to Death") and supported by top environmental organizations including the Sierra Club, Worldwatch Institute, Food and Water Watch, Brighter Green and Farm Sanctuary, the film is looking to show how eating less meat can help lessen the environmental impact of factory farming.

"What to Eat" is produced by Greener Media and puts the viewer in the place of the main character as he goes about his day.  His humorous and familiar inner dialogue exhibits how he grapples with his food choices as he is confronted-- through television, radio and the internet-- with the gruesome realities of factory farming.

"The devastation inflicted on our environment by factory farms is something we all have the power to stop by doing something as simple as ordering a veggies burger instead of a meat one, " said Schwartzman.  "Please join me in taking the pledge to go meat free for a day, a month or longer.  It's a lot easier than you think, and let's be real, all burgers taste the same with ketchup."

The beauty of the film's style lies not only in its briefness (a cool four and a half minutes), but in its legitimacy.  By the end, the narrator chooses to reject his usual food choices as a result of his increased awareness of today's big-business agriculture industry, and this awakening feels natural and inevitable.

"The power of 'What to Eat' is that it reflects the world we live in," said Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary.  "What may seem like mundane decisions that we make every day have profound consequences.  Mainstream media is devoting unprecedented attention to the devastation caused by factory farming and new studies are linking the Earth's most serious environmental threats back to this wasteful and abusive system.  By becoming more aware of the impacts of our food choices and eating in a way that is more aligned with our values and interests, we are going to see a revolutionary shift."

The film can be viewed at platetoplanet.org, where there is also a companion website featuring a wealth of information regarding factory farming and its disastrous consequences.  Visitors can watch the film, examine interviews with some of the top experts in the field and learn about making plant-based food choices all in a one-stop shop.

Said Ed Hopkins, director of the Sierra Club's Environmental Quality Program, "We need to move to a whole different agricultural system, one that is more based on plant agriculture, as opposed to animal agriculture, and one that is more community based, more locally based, more sustainable, more environmentally friendly and produces healthier food."

Stephanie DeBalko | @_stephanied_
Stephanie is a freelance writer who loves shelter dogs and Vegenaise. She recently came to the conclusion that the written word could be an amazing ally for all animals, and is choosing to use her nerdy love of grammar and punctuation for the greater good of animal welfare. She can also be found at Homespun by Stephanie.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/rrrrred