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Vegan actors Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix have spoken out about the environmental destruction linked to animal agriculture.
The couple made the comments during the recent Countdown Global Livestream, a free online event focused on protecting the planet from the accelerating climate emergency.
Media giant TED teamed up with 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) to launch the livestream.
It took place on October 30 – the eve of the official opening of COP26. At the time of writing, the video had already garnered more than 220,000 views on YouTube.
‘A true planetary emergency’
The livestream featured high-profile figures including Al Gore, Mark Ruffalo, Regina Hall, Charlie Puth, and Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, among others.
During the event, Mara and Phoenix jointly presented a segment, entitled Transforming.
“We’re in a true planetary emergency. And most people don’t know that the number one contributing factor to increasing global temperatures is the way that we fuel our homes, our businesses, our modes of transportation, and our bodies,” Phoenix said.
He said we must transform each of these systems ‘in a massive way’.
“All of that can feel very overwhelming,” Mara added. “But for us, being vegan is a privileged choice that we get to make every day, multiple times a day, that we know will make a huge impact.
“There are so many decisions that are made that are outside of our control, that affect our lives and the planet. But this is one thing that we do have control over that we know will make a difference.”
“This challenge actually presents an immense opportunity for innovation,” she added.
Meat and the environment
Phoenix called for recognition of the issue. “If any of us are going to claim to truly care about the planet, then we can no longer ignore the role animal agriculture is playing in destroying it,” he said.
He’s not alone in his view. In the leadup to COP26, world leaders have come under fire for failing to address the damage caused by animal-based food industries.
Late last month, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) kicked off a campaign aimed at COP26 attendees.
The initiative involved half a dozen buses that run through Glasgow, where this year’s conference is taking place, including past the COP26 venue.
Each bus sports the words: “You can’t be a meat-eating environmentalist. Take personal responsibility: go vegan.”