Vegan photographer and director of “The Game Changers,” Louie Psihoyos, just appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. The pair discussed climate change, factory farming, and how we might be able to feed the growing population.
The 62-year-old Oscar-winning filmmaker spoke to Rogan about our oceans and marine life. Psihoyos was asked about his 2009 film “The Cove,” which exposed the “gruesome secret” of fishermen in Taiji, Japan, who capture and kill dolphins.
“That movie changed a lot of people’s minds and opened up a lot of people’s eyes to the horrors of the way dolphins are slaughtered,” Rogan, who is a hunter, said.
“I think they are as intelligent as human beings,” he added. “We don’t appreciate what they are but when we look at the complexity of their brains, the fact that their cerebral cortex is 40 percent larger than a human being’s, they have this incredibly complex language that we don’t even really totally understand.”
Rogan commented that films like “The Cove” and “Blackfish” — as well as organizations like Sea Shepherd — were changing people’s outlooks on marine life. “I think when all’s said and done, we’re gonna look at this as some insane slaughter of what’s basically like water people, they’re like some form of super-intelligent life,” Rogan said in the podcast. He later referred to marine animals as “the most fantastic creatures that the world has ever known.”
Seafood and Health
Psihoyos spoke about the health risks tied to the consumption of seafood. “The reason they shouldn’t be eaten besides the fact that they’re sentient and intelligent is also that they’re toxic,” the filmmaker said. “Their flesh is now some of the most toxic waste in the world.”
Psihoyos noted that there are around 6,000 times more PCBs in the flesh of dolphins than in the ocean. Polychlorinated biphenyls are organic chlorine compounds that are thought to cause cancer in humans.
“All the flesh that’s been tested in Japan in the last 20 years has between five and 5,000 times more mercury than allowed by Japanese law if it was a fish, but it’s a mammal of course,” he added.
Rogan replied: “It’s insane. Just hearing that is insane.”
Feeding the World
“It’s weird to reconcile the idea that tuna is endangered,” Rogan later said. “You think of tuna as being something that you get at the store … it’s such a common food.”
Psihoyos notes that the population of bluefin tuna is down to around 4 percent of the species’ historical levels.
Rogan acknowledged that not enough is being done about the issue. “Everyone’s waiting for someone else to do something and in the meantime, everyone’s just trying to make money,” the comedian said.
Psihoyos nodded to the number of people inhabiting the planet — currently 7.5 billion and “soon to be” 10 billion — and stated that there aren’t enough wild animals to feed us all.
But farmed animals aren’t necessarily the solution. Psihoyos highlighted research that found that fish that are raised have eight times more pollutants than wild fish.
A Planet in ‘Chaos’
The pair also discussed the environmental aspect of killing and consuming animals. Rogan stated that our ecosystems are in “chaos.” He acknowledged that fishing has a “huge” impact on climate change. “Most people are concerned with so many different things that they don’t have time to think about the massive overfishing and pollution of the ocean,” Rogan said.
Rogan asked Psihoyos if it would be possible to “repopulate” the oceans. “Stopping or slowing down fishing would be wonderful,” Rogan said.
Psihoyos responded that he thinks it’s “impossible” to replenish the oceans due to “the scale of what’s going on right now.”