EHI Film Library

The EHI aggregates a range of video resources, most of which may be played directly from this website, introducing issues that are of interest from the perspective of the environmental humanities. These may be used as classroom resources or by anyone interested in becoming acquainted with these timely and important concerns.

How might this material be effectively used?

Consider our featured film below, the short talk by Andras Forgacs on “Leather and meat without killing animals.” No longer the stuff of science fiction, it is now possible to create meat in the laboratory. While, at first glance, this may seem to be an issue of concern only to the scientists doing this work, in the coming decades in vitro, biofabricated meat may well be appearing on our local grocer’s shelfs – thanks to 3-D printers that will print pork chops out of colonies of cells grown in industrial vats.

Assuming this technology actually becomes commercially viable, what are we to make of it? Should we turn away from it on ethical grounds or because it does not seem “natural” – which may indeed be our knee-jerk response? These are questions not only for the sciences, but also, perhaps especially, for the humanities.

Peter Singer, the Princeton University philosophy professor who helped initiate the modern discussion of animal rights with his 1975 book Animal Liberation, revealed that “[m]y own view is that being a vegetarian or vegan is not an end in itself, but a means towards reducing both human and animal suffering, and leaving a habitable planet to future generations. I haven’t eaten meat for 40 years, but if in vitro meat becomes commercially available, I will be pleased to try it.” PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) went even further by offering a $1 million prize to anyone who could develop marketable biofabricated meat.

Clearly, this is a complex issue. One of the goals of the EHI is to draw attention to issues of this sort and to foster discussion of them. It is our hope that the material contained on this website will help in that effort. For example, showing this 10-minute talk by Forgacs would be useful way to initiate a classroom discussion of this issue.

Leather and meat without killing animals

By 2050, it will take 100 billion land animals to provide the world’s population with meat, dairy, eggs and leather goods. Maintaining this herd will take a huge, potentially unsustainable toll on the planet.

What if there were a different way? In this eye-opening talk, tissue engineering advocate Andras Forgacs argues that biofabricating meat and leather is a civilized way to move past killing animals for hamburgers and handbags (source).

BIG Vortex

Denmark’s new Amagerforbrænding Waste-to-Energy facility is a power plant – and an art installation designed to visibly signal climate change, even as it contributes to it, by puffing out massive smoke rings.

This remarkable plant seeks to change the way waste management and energy production is understood. Rather than hiding drab industrial processes, the plant hopes to re-connect the Danes to the issues behind waste management (source).