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Vegan Long Island Message Board › "Got the Facts on Milk?" documentary

"Got the Facts on Milk?" documentary

Jennifer G.
user 6937947
Group Organizer
Bellport, NY
Post #: 321
I saw the full film before it was removed from YouTube (someone uploaded it without the filmmaker's permission, I guess).

I'm definitely purchasing the dvd to share with others. (You can also stream it for $5.99 from the site.)

I give it two thumbs up, WAY up. With two caveats—see below.

Here's the trailer:

If this film doesn't prompt a "perceptual shift" in its viewers about milk, I'm not sure what would. (I'm borrowing the term "perceptual shift" from David Kessler's book, The End of Overeating. It's so apt in this case.)

So I hope folks will watch & share—with these two caveats:

1. There is a tiny segment (70 seconds beginning at 47:10) which presents the notion that metabolism of animal protein leaches calcium from our bones.

It's a plausible theory that many of us have heard before. I used to repeat it myself.

But I want folks to be aware of the following: it turns out the best science we have actually fails to support, even contradicts, this theory. If you want to know more, a detailed presentation of the research that has experts convinced now that the animal-protein-causes-bone-loss story isn't true will soon be available over at Dr. Michael Greger's nutrition site. RDs Jack Norris & Ginny Messina also address the issue on pages 39-42 of their recent book, Vegan for Life.

So when this question comes up, here's what I say: "We used to think this was true, but now the science indicates otherwise. Even so, there are plenty of other valid reasons to avoid dairy."

2. The "I Am Cow" song near the end, written by Michael McCormick, includes this lyric: "...the ozone layer is thinner from the outcome of my dinner..."

Actually, no. Cows emit methane, and methane is a greenhouse gas, not an ozone-depleter. The greenhouse effect and the thinning of the ozone layer are two different processes in our atmosphere.

Folks probably remember the concern, a while back, about CFCs? Ozone-destroying chemicals like CFCs are being phased out, though it's estimated that the stratospheric ozone layer won't be fully healed for another 60 years. We need that layer because it protects life on earth from the sun's cancer-causing ultraviolet B rays.

Meanwhile, the greenhouse effect presents even greater peril. And it's caused mainly by carbon dioxide and methane, though CFCs are also heat-trapping.

So CFCs (plus a few other compounds) are doubly bad, because they trap heat, *and* they destroy ozone. They don't come from cows, though. What comes from cows is methane, and it's a powerful greenhouse gas, but it doesn't affect ozone.

The notion that ozone depletion has to do with climate change still pops up from time to time, and it's an understandable mistake. (I'm just hoping that I haven't caused more confusion here, by trying to correct this misconception. smile)
Edward K.
user 56302572
West Babylon, NY
Post #: 10
Jennifer, I actually contributed financially to the making of this movie.
Jennifer G.
user 6937947
Group Organizer
Bellport, NY
Post #: 322
You rock, Ed!! Thank you! I really think it's terrific, and will open many people's eyes.
Wendy R.
Patchogue, NY
Post #: 3
I look forward to when you will do the screening.
Max K.
user 78154632
Melville, NY
Post #: 1
Hi Jennifer,

It turns out that the question of methane and its relation to ozone depletion is actually somewhat complicated (which may not be surprising of anything related to atmospheric science). It is true that methane itself is not directly an ozone-destroying substance. However, there are good reasons to suspect that methane emissions are indeed linked with the amount of ozone in the atmosphere. There are a number of reasons for this. One is that in the stratosphere, where the ozone exists, methane is responsible for increased production of water vapor. Water vapor can be a significant driver of ozone depletion, and so methane emissions (along with other greenhouse gas emissions) are directly responsible for ozone destruction.

On the other hand, one of the consensus predictions of climate models is that as the surface temperature warms, the stratosphere will actually cool down. As one might intuitively expect, the cooler temperatures slow down the reactions that destroy the ozone, which leads to a reverse trend where global warming is indirectly responsible for protecting the ozone. The article linked on the NASA website concludes, however, that the destructive effect of the water vapor significantly outweighs the effects on the ozone of stratospheric cooling due to greenhouse gas emissions. Curiously enough, the opposite effect is seen in the polar regions; there, the cooling effects aggravate the effects of the CFCs, making it take longer for the ozone layer to reach its 1980 levels.

The bottom line: while I agree that it is not the obvious choice to talk about the effects on the ozone layer when discussing methane emissions, there is perhaps some truth to the claim.
Jennifer G.
user 6937947
Group Organizer
Bellport, NY
Post #: 323
Max, thank you for correcting my impression that there was no link at all! Question: in your first paragraph, you wrote "methane itself is not directly an ozone-destroying substance." You proceed to do a good job of explaining the methane-ozone link. Thank you. I'm just wondering if, at the end of the same paragraph, you meant "directly" or "indirectly" in the following:" methane emissions (along with other greenhouse gas emissions) are directly responsible for ozone destruction."
Max K.
user 78154632
Melville, NY
Post #: 2
Fair question. What I meant is that the emitted methane is what directly creates the water vapor, and that (extra) water vapor is responsible for ozone depletion. So I wouldn't say that methane directly destroys ozone, but I would say that "methane emissions" directly cause ozone depletion, even if it isn't the methane molecules themselves that ultimately destroy the ozone molecules. Mainly, I was intending to contrast this to the effect global warming has on ozone levels, in which methane could only be said to play an indirect role.
Ted B.
user 11538335
East Northport, NY
Post #: 2
Thanks for posting about this!
Just downloaded it.
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