After watching the documentary Under Contract: Farmers and the Fine Print directed by Marcello Cappellazzi and Sally Lee I was shocked at how little I really knew about our modern agricultural system. This documentary dives into the shocking relationship contract farmers have with large poultry companies across the United States. Under Contract tells the story of these farmers and the lives they face because of the deceiving misguiding contracts they have signed on with companies such as Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms, and Pilgrim’s Pride. In the U.S. alone, 97% of the chicken produced is raised by family farmers under contract with large companies. These farmers often face unfair challenges such as lifetime debt and bankruptcy because of the confusing and often deceitful fine print of the contracts with these companies.
I recently started a Goodreads Eco book club with my friends that I graduated with from a master’s in Environmental Management. We decided our first book to read and discuss would be, Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. Climate. After finishing her book, Naomi is my new favorite feminine eco-warrior. Her words have inspired me to keep my head in this uphill battle for the survival of humanity and this Earth we are here temporarily visiting. Naomi Klein is a member on the board of directors for 350.org, a columnist for The Nation and The Guardian, and a reporter for Rolling Stone.
After finishing her book, I made sure to watch the accompanying documentary directed by her husband Avi Lewis. Both her book and her husband’s documentary, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. Climate have been a HUGE enlightenment for me in every sense of my life. These resources have not only exposed me to some very brutal realities that I didn't know about, but also have taught me how to look at everything that is happening around us in a light of opportunity.
Few people can say they really know where Virunga National Park lies on a map and even fewer can tell you the tragedy that happened there in 2012. Virunga National Park is Africa’s oldest national park and is found in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Not only is it one of the most bio-diverse places in the world, it is also home to the last surviving mountain gorillas on our planet.
For the past few months, I’ve been working remotely with the DC-based International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Global Gender Office (GGO), supporting several different projects related to climate change and gender issues. The IUCN is an intergovernmental organization compromised of 1,200 members, more than 200 government and more than 900 non-government organizations. The GGO provides technical support, policy development, and innovative approaches to ensure gender equality is a central focus to these global environmental solutions.
Michael dives into exploring which foods are healthy for us and which ones lead to disease, which diets are the healthiest and most sustainable for future generations, our environment, and ourselves.