Interview by: Molly Helfend and Sima Morrison
We had the unique pleasure to bump into Kip Andersen, creator of the acclaimed documentaries Cowspiracy and What the Health, while practicing yoga at Wanderlust Festival in Squaw Valley, California. He shared with us some insight on veganism, sustainability and his selfless social and environmental justice projects. You can learn more about Cowspiracy and What the Health on their websites and watch the documentaries on Netflix or Vimeo.
What are some of the take away messages from your films?
To learn the truth, do your own research. Find what is best for you and yourself. Your greater self comes when everything combines into one. And all beings are yourself. All animals. All plants. Be in harmony with it all. That is a powerful form of activism, which taps into a communal sense of you. You can always be much more powerful and active. And go vegan of course!
What changes have you seen since going plant-based and completely vegan, both in your own body and the community around you?
For me, it all started at once. It was ethical and environmental, and then health came later. I really just didn't want to do any harm to any other beings. I didn't realize that in about a month or two I was connecting with my inner child that I had put away for a long time. I was doing something I would never do as a kid, like I wouldn't kill an animal. I was reconnecting with the whole me of who I truly am and what I believe in. I began to feel this sense of growth, that I am connected to everything. I suddenly didn't feel so alone. I was and am connected to all of life. I'm doing my part and living in alignment. I didn't expect to have that sense of peace and calmness.
This idea that all beings are interconnected seems to resonate with you a lot. Do you believe that the more we build walls from nature, the more we are pushing our own health away, creating disease and a sense of isolation? Do you think there is any way to eat meat sustainably?
Yes, I definitely agree with that. We need to be connected with all beings to find true health. And, no, there is no way to eat meat sustainably because there is nothing you cannot get in animal products that you cannot get from eating plants. There is nothing. So, when people say “hey, I crave meat,” I always ask, “well, what is it you are craving exactly?” The calcium? The iron? What is in it that you need? If you do need something, you can find out and do blood tests on yourself. You can always live a healthy life and if you have questions you can contact me or even the clinic True North in Santa Rosa, who will do blood tests and tell you what you are deficient of. They will find what you need from plants, not dead rotting animal flesh. There is nothing in there. It is mostly a mental addiction, just like any other drug.
How do we raise awareness on big pharmaceutical and governmental corruption?
A big part is living a healthy lifestyle. Once you find the truth, you do not need to be a part of that corruption. Big pharmaceuticals are trying to make money, that is what they are doing. So, if you are living the truth of a healthy lifestyle, then that is powerful activism. Now, the demand has gone down and now their power has been diminished because we are all healthy living vibrant beings just by being and living the truth. That is such powerful activism.
What do you say to those people who use the argument that living healthy is too expensive?
We actually have at the end of our film “What the Health” a part called Plant Based on a Budget, created by Toni Okamoto, where she shows us how a plant based diet can feed an entire family of four for 21 dollars for an entire week. So, check out your bulk section or farmers market or her website. Do your research. It’s an excuse. Even if you live in a food desert, you can still make once a month or week trip to a Cosco or somewhere.
What has been the impact of your movies? What have you noticed?
More recently, whether it is our films or not, trends show that we are at a time in the evolution of humanity where, well every movement has its time and place, but they all had to lead to this one. We had women rights, civil rights, gay rights, etc. and they are starting to resolve themselves. Now there is this one that is emerging and leading to this conscious shift that we are starting to see everywhere. Studies show that veganism has risen around 500% in the last three to four years and the trend of people searching vegan on google is rising as well, so this new consciousness is exploding and we are entering into a new realm and that is part of it.
Where has your inspiration and drive come from?
They come from justice. Really they come from animals. I represent animals and that inspiration that things need to be done. I feel a very large connection to farm animals specifically for some reason. I cannot explain why. But, also to the environment and my health. It's just a win win win, combining all three. I think a lot of other social movements had one thing…ethics. It was purely ethics that didn't have the environment and health and look how passionate people were and still are. This has ethics, health and the future of our environment. That is a powerful trinity trio.
How are you building momentum from the film? Any new projects in the works?
We have several new projects. We have a new film we are working on called “Seaspiracy” and some other powerful films down the road. This one is about fish and the misconception that there is such a thing as sustainable fishing and about the destruction of the ocean. We are really diving into the devastation of overfishing and pollution from the energy sector running into the water. We also have a new What the Health meal plan to check out to make the how a lot easier.
Anything else you want to tell the HOC readers?
I think it's a really exciting time in humanity to be alive. We are so fortunate that in the last 4 to 5 years we are starting to see the shift we have been waiting for hundreds and hundreds of years. This patriarchal society that we have been living in is turning into a matriarchal one that focuses on protecting and nurturing and we are finally here. To embrace that while you are young and then look back later on in life, you will be so glad you were a part of it because it is an incredibly special time.