Monday, June 01, 2015

Cowspiracy - Questions about Education from a Movie about Food Production

I watched the movie Cowspiracy this weekend. I will admit to having been so upset that I yelled out loud a couple of times. Shocking and scary.

The movie is ostensibly about sustainability and the environment, but the "elephant in the room" story is about the unbelievable costs of meat-producing agribusiness.

There are many interesting lessons in this movie for those of us talking about education, not the least of which is how the so-called progressive organizations appear either willfully blind to the true issues, or sometimes even complicit. It's not just how organizations work that is revealed, but at individual levels the larger cognitive dissonance, the scary double-speak, and (thankfully) the bravery of a few.

I highly recommend watching this movie, and propose some questions below to have a post-movie conversation on education.

1. If you watched Cowspiracy and you weren't previously vegan, did you change your diet? If not, why not?
2. Are there things we could learn about ideas, acceptance, change, and movements from comparing food issues and education?
3. Is there an "elephant in the room" (a large or the largest issue but which doesn't get addressed) for education? Are there things we aren't "allowed" to talk about? (Examples might include the critical role of healthy families to learning, links between pharmaceutical profits and medicating youth, and a culture of compliance which feeds larger problems in our society.)
4. If there are "sinister" forces at work in food, does that change our reluctance to see or confront them in education?
5. What kind of solutions to the food issues does the film seem to or directly imply?
6. Why do the progressive organizations that say they are working to solve the problem deny the real issues? 

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