If mother earth manifested into a human, it would be Kate Winslet,” says Otto Brockway, director of new documentary Eating Our Way to Extinction. The Academy Award-winning actor, beloved for her roles in blockbusters like 1997’s Titanic and 2006’s The Holiday, narrates Brockway’s feature-length film, which focuses on the link between the climate crisis and the way we eat.
Winslet is joined by billionaire and vegan investor Sir Richard Branson, marine biologist Sylvia Earle, philanthropist Tony Robbins, and some of the world’s most respected scientists, doctors, and academics. Together, they lead viewers through a deeply poignant journey of cinematography (shot by Brockway’s brother Ludo), solid science, and shocking facts to face a hard truth: animal agriculture is destroying the planet, and with it, humanity’s future.
Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation around the globe. It also contributes to water pollution, soil degradation, ocean dead zones, and emits 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gases, according to the United Nations. The picture looks bleak. But we can turn things around. Eating Our Way to Extinction intends to be a wake-up call to the public that there is true power in changing what’s on our plates.
It’s a message backed up by multiple scientific studies. A 2020 environmental report found that replacing just 10 percent of animal agriculture could save the equivalent of 2.7 billion trees in CO2 emissions. Two years prior, the biggest-ever food production analysis found that eating plant-based was the single-most effective way of tackling climate change. (The lead author of that report, Oxford University’s Dr. Joseph Poore, appears in Eating Our Way to Extinction.)
We spoke with Brockway about his inspiration for the film, the power of incremental change, and why he believes documentaries have a unique power to change the way people think and act.