Just a quick story about my recent experience of introducing veganism into a discussion about human social justice issues.
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You can watch this Vegan Trove Podcast Ep 69 in the video below. It is from my vlog YT channel Faint Signals from Vega I discuss the issue of “wildlife” in relation to veganism and I meander my way (as I tend to do) through various issues from smoking, to Russia to Vermont and make connections with them all 😉 Enjoy
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Here is the video from which the podcast episode is taken.
I touch on many issues in this hour long video. Some of the issues are a discussion on what veganism is, and what it is not; What are the problems with the notion of “humane” animal farming; and the environmental impacts of animal farming. My theme overall is looking at the problems associated with promoting “environmental veganism”, and if this humancentric focus just reinforces our speciesism.
Feel free to leave comments in the comments section and on my Facebook page @VeganTroveExtra.
For more info:
My podcast: How To Go Vegan Podcast: A Comprehensive Vegan Resource in Podcast form
“Humane” What’s in a Word
Apocalyptic Capitalism | Chris Hedges
“Organic” milk from “What’s Wrong with Vegetarianism?”
The Myth of Eco-Friendly Animal Products | Gentle World
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“We’re faced with a very serious situation in this generation. There are insane people who wish to rule the world. They wish to continue to rule the world on violence and repression, and we are all the victims of that violence and repression. We, as the indigenous people of the western hemisphere have been resisting this oppression for 500 years. We know that the Black people have been resisting it for at least that long. And we know that the white people have had to endure it thousands of years. And now it’s come full swing to this generation that we live in: the nuclearization of the world.
You see, this cannot be. We cannot allow this to continue to go on. We cannot do it. We cannot expect that the pro-nuclear oppressor, that other side, we cannot expect that they’re going to change for us. They are going to become more brutal. They are going to become more repressive because it’s a matter of dollars and their illusionary concepts of power.
We have to re-establish our identity. We have to understand who we are and where we fit in the natural order of the world, because our oppressor deals in illusions. They tell us that it is power, but it is not power. They may have all the guns, and they may have all the racist laws and judges, and they may control all the money, but that is not power. These are only imitations of power, and they are only power because in our minds we allow it to be power. But it’s all an imitation. Racism and violence, racism and guns, economics – the brutality of the American Corporate State way of life is nothing more than violence and repression and it doesn’t have anything to do with power. It is brutality. It’s a lack of a sane balance. The people who have created this system, and who perpetuate this system, they are out of balance. They have made us out of balance. They have come into our minds and they have come into our hearts and they’ve programmed us. Because we live in this society, and it has put us out of balance. And because we are out of balance we no longer have the power to deal with them. They have conquered us as a natural power.
See, we are power. They deal in violence and repression, we are power. We are a part of the natural world. All of the things in the natural world are a natural part of the creation and feed off the energy of our sacred mother, Earth. We are power. But they have separated us from our spiritual connection to the Earth, so people feel powerless. We look at the oppressor and we look at the enemy because they have the most guns and the most lies and the most money. People start to feel powerless.
We are power, we are a natural part of the creation, we were put here on the sacred mother Earth to serve a purpose. And somewhere in the history of people we’re forgetting what the purpose is. The purpose is to honor the Earth, the purpose is to protect the Earth, the purpose is to live in balance with the Earth, the Earth is our mother. And we will never free ourselves as human people, we will never free ourselves as sexual people, we will never free ourselves until we address the issue of how we live in balance with the Earth. Because all our resistance and all of our struggle is hollow, it’s false, it’s another one of the oppressor’s hypocrisies. If we do not look out for the welfare of the Earth first, because I don’t care who it is, any child who turns on their mother is living in a terrible, terrible confusion. The Earth is our mother, we must take care of the Earth.
They pollute – this oppressor, this machine that has gone mad and run amok, it is beserk. They keep telling us, “progress.” They keep telling us “face reality.” Well, let’s deal with reality. Reality is the Earth can no longer take this attack. We can no longer allow this Thing to continue when it’s polluting the air, it’s polluting the water, polluting our food. They pollute the air, they pollute the water, they pollute our food, they pollute our minds. They put us out of balance.
They have made us be insecure with ourselves. They have put us into a situation where we have to play many roles. You know, we gotta be chauvinist, or we’ve got to be on some kind of a class trip, or some kind of illusionary power trip. We’ve gotta play a role, see? We’ve gotta play a role to communicate with other people. We’ve got to go through this charade because they have attacked our self confidence. They have attacked our self confidence and they have made us to listen to *them.* They have made us to believe that they are power. But they are not – they are violent and they are brutal, but they are not power.
We are a natural part of the Earth. As a natural part of the Earth, we have the energy and the power that IS the Earth. The Earth will take care of us if we will remember the Earth- in more than just our words. If we will remember the Earth in our way of life; we are all here to play a role. And all of the animals, and all of the life on the Earth is playing it’s proper role except the human people. Somehow we are betraying, we are betraying our purpose here and that is why we live in the confusion that we live in. They tell us, they want us to believe, that we are powerless.
A blizzard is power.
An earthquake is power.
A tornado is power.
These are all things of power that no oppressor, no machine age, can put these things of power in a prison. No machine age can make these things of power submit to the machine age. That is natural power. And just as it takes millions and billions of elements to make a blizzard to happen, or to make the earthquake, to make the earth to move, then it’s going to take millions and billions of us.
We are power.
We have that power.
We have the potential for that power.
I remember in the 60s and 70s I heard all these things about “power to the people” and I never really understood because everyone was saying “power to the people” when they were talking about demonstrating, they were talking about votes, they were talking about dealing on the terms of the oppressor. Our power will come back to us, our sense of balance will come back to us, when we go back to the natural way of protecting and honoring the Earth. If we have forgotten how to do it, or we think that it looks overwhelming, or think that we can never accomplish it, then all we have to do, each one of us, as an individual, we can go and find one spot on the Earth that we can relate to.
Feel that energy, feel that power.
That’s where our safety will come.
The Earth will take care of us. We have to understand that the American Corporate State will not take care of us. They do not care about us. Maximize their profit, that is where their whole life’s value is placed upon- maximizing the profit. They will turn us against each other to maximize the profit, because they have done it in the past.
Nuclear energy. It’s the final assault. Nuclear energy should tell each and every one of us that they have gone beyond the reasons of sanity. That they are no longer sane. That they no longer deal with the real, natural world. Because they want to create a radioactivity that is going to make it impossible for the mother earth to take care of our life. We will not destroy the world. We are arrogant and we are stupid and we are foolish if we believe that we will destroy the world. Man has the ability to destroy all of the people’s ability to live on the Earth, but we do not have the power to destroy the Earth. The Earth will heal itself. The Earth will purify itself of us. If it takes a billion years to get rid of the radiation the Earth will do it, because the Earth has that kind of time. We do not.
Our obligations and our loyalty have to be to the earth, and they have to be to our sense of community and to our people and to our relations. Our obligations and loyalty should not be to a government that will not take care of our needs. Our obligations and loyalty should not be to a government that has proven time and time again that it is the enemy of the people unless the people are rich in dollars. That has been the consistent history of Western civilization and the American Corporate State Government – that’s reality. They are not our friends, they do not care about us. We have to face the reality that we have an enemy.
We all want to talk about nuclear war, everyone’s afraid of nuclear war, and it’s going to come between the Americans and the Russians or the Chinese or whoever. But are they not waging nuclear war on us now when the miners die from cancer from mining that Uranium? Are they not waging nuclear war with Three Mile Island? When they release that stuff into the air? Are they not waging nuclear war when they build these nuclear reactors and it’s not safe? Are they not waging nuclear war when they attack the Indian people on their land, militarily attack the Indian people, racistly attack the Indian people, so they can get at the natural resources to feed their radioactive machines? That is war, and they are waging it against us. They bribe congress, they bribe your elected officials, they terrorize and intimidate your elected officials by getting the FBI to blackmail them. Those are acts of war. We have to come to a time in our lifetime, and it will come in our lifetime, where we are going to have to deal with the fact that the enemy has taken over your government. The government is not your ally. The government will use you, chew you up and spit you out.
You think that we are wrong? You think that we are talking unrealistically? Then go look at your elders and see what has happened to your elders in your machine age society. See what kind of respect that they get. See what kind of a voice they are allowed into your society, what kind of input they have. See what their final reward of happiness is after working for this slave state for 30 or 40 years and allowing someone to exploit their labors.
What is racism? Racism is an act of war. What is sexism? Sexism is an act of war. It’s a war against our human dignity and our rights to self respect. This is the war that they wage there. War! They are war-like. And we have to understand that the American Corporate State got to where it’s at through the act of war. The next war… you wanna worry, you wanna think about a war? The next war that you better be concerned about is the one that they’re gonna fight here. Here in the continental United States. They have fought many wars here. They fought us all along, see, because we said ‘it’s ours and you haven’t got a right to it.’ They fought us. Now you all are claiming that it’s yours under this illusionary concept of private ownership of property and they’re gonna fight you. But they’re going to call it “national security” and “national energy crisis.” They’re going to call it “constitutional rights” and they’re gonna call it “judicial proceedings.” They’re going to nationalize… you know, your military coupe is going to come there. They’re going to nationalize the police departments, there’s your military coupe. In the name of “violence.” “Rising crime.” But all we must do is look in the corporate office and see the rising crime that is taking place there and nobody’s going to jail for it. So we’ve got to understand that they are arming themselves to wage a war against us and it’s going to be called the war of “law and order.” Because they’re twisting it around.
For 500 years my people have resisted. For 500 years we will resist again if it becomes necessary. We want to be able to relate and communicate with all of the people who are living on this land, but we want to be able to relate and communicate from a position of truth. You all gotta face the truth. We have had to face it through 500 years of genocide, we have had to face the truth, we have had to live the truth. We have had to die the truth, before we’re gonna ever see our evolutionary liberation, the people that call themselves Americans are gonna have to face the truth also.
They tell us to “be realistic,” that “progress” means that all these things have to happen. They tell us that we can’t go back to the old way. They tell us “be realistic.” But there is no old way, no new way, there is a way of life. We must live in balance with the earth. We MUST do it. We have no choice. If we allow ourselves to be apathetic, or we allow ourselves to be lied to, or tolerate their lies about what they’re doing to the Earth, then we are betraying our intention. We are betraying our purpose here. We cannot protect that 7th generation if we do not protect the Earth. We cannot protect ourselves if we do not protect the Earth. The Earth gives us life, not the American government. The Earth gives us life, not the multi-national corporate government. The Earth gives us life, we need to have the Earth. We must have it, otherwise our life will be no more. So we must resist what they do.
They want to break our spirit. They will do everything and anything to break our spirit, our will to live. We must learn to resist, we much learn to see, we must learn to look. We must learn to step out of this reactionary-ism. All of our lives they’ve had control of us through their schools, their TV, their electronic media. They’ve had control of us all of our lives. They have programmed us, they have made us become reactionary. We don’t think, we react to what they do. We don’t think, we react. To everything that they do- we react to it. They’re setting us up in the 80’s because they know consistently throughout the past the people have always reacted to their manipulations of circumstance. They know that the people always react. They’re counting on it in the 80’s.
See, and they outnumber us with guns. They outnumber us with money. They outnumber us with votes. They control all the machines that count the votes. They’ve got it all stacked in their favor. Except there’s a key. The key is we must start thinking, and stop reacting. The oppressor has no thinkers, they have no philosophers, it’s all scientific, it’s all economic, it’s all manipulative. They have no thinkers. You go look and you deal with the enemy and what the enemy does is: the enemy will send somebody out on the street to hit you in the head and the guy says “I’m only taking my orders.” And if you can come from a position of strength to this guy whose hitting you in the head and say “Hey, you’ve got to stop hitting me in the head, we want to talk.” then he says “Well I have to go to my superior to see.” They have no thinkers, either.
If we will start to think we will learn to see, to see what reality really is, and we will outnumber them through the thinking process. We will take our minds away from them. Because through their manipulation of our minds they control our spirit, and they know this is true. They tell us, see, they want us to believe that we are powerless. They want us to believe that we are becoming overwhelmed, that they can overwhelm us. You see, but they are paranoid. They are more paranoid than any of us are, no matter what happens to us. You see, because they have to put people in here to come and listen to what we’re saying, so they can go back and tell.
See, so they’re afraid! They’re afraid because they know we’re talking about reality! Now why are they afraid? They are afraid because they know they are dealing with the illusions of power which are based on the realities of violence and brutality. They’re afraid! See, they don’t want people to think, they don’t want people to be talking, and they don’t want people to think about what they talk about.
Because they know. They’ve known it all along, that they built their whole Thing on illusions. And because they have drawn us in to giving this illusionary world all this power, they have taken our power away from us. Because we believe in the illusions.”
Thanksgiving address (1980), Activist and author, 1946 – 2015)
Please go vegan, start here HowToGoVegan.org
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Sept 6, 2016 UPDATE: The archived version of Angel Flinn’s interview is now available here.
I don’t know if you had the opportunity to listen to Bob Linden’s Go Vegan Radio segment live on air on August 21, where he interviews Angel Flinn (media coordinator of the BeFairBeVegan campaign. Angel Flinn by the way also happens to do outreach work for Gentle World. If you didn’t catch the interview live, then you’re in luck because although Bob Linden states on his page that it will be not be available in archive form on his Go Vegan Radio page, we managed to record it as it went to air. My last episode contained excerpts from Angel’s interview and I invite you to listen to it.
In this episode I’m going to share the unfortunate and rather seething attack that occurred live on the same Go Vegan Radio program by the guest appearing after Angel Flinn’s interview – Gary L Francione. We thought it might be informative to share the rather vicious attack on Angel Flinn made by Professor Gary L. Francione and I clear up some misinformation in his live segment (7 minutes or so). Tune into Part 2 “And Then Sailed On To New York” where I discuss where many of the core ideas of veganism really came from.
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Just a little update on the historic #BeFairBeVegan moving billboard campaign in Times Square and Javits Center New York City.
Just a few of the many contributions by the public. See below. For more, visit BeFairBeVegan.com or our Facebook page or Twitter.
Submit videos or photos here
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I was visiting some of my favourite pages on Facebook recently as I do regularly and one of them is Dr Cornel West. Dr West shared a status update recently by CEO & Founder at Movement Be Nate Howard. And it’s a few paragraphs which I think are quite powerful and speak to us all.
“I’m on the verge of losing very close friends over the constant debate of “Black Lives Matter” vs. “All Lives Matter.” It’s a divide that’s breaking many of us apart.
If we are both saying that lives matter. Let’s lose ourselves. And think about the lives that matter. This is not about you. It’s about live’s not being valued. Again and again with no justice at all. So when you say “All Lives Matter”, I assume your movement is ready to communicate with dialogue of faith, love, hope, and critical thinking for all lives. Let’s begin.
It’s very simple:
“Black Lives Matter because All Lives Matter!”
If you’re saying “All Lives Matter,” then you should be sensitive to the plight and suffering experienced by communities of color. You should be considerate of a community that is working to validate their own humanity. Simple.
This is not out of disrespect for any other lives, but because our communities are the ones in peril. If you cannot acknowledge that then you are not considerate of “All Lives.” In fact– you are stopping people from advocating for a life which you say you value but don’t show up for.
What happens is that your simple statement of “All Lives Matter” may make you numb and oblivious to black life because there is no action for a certain issue. This becomes the problem because “All Lives Matter” becomes the anti to “Black Lives Matter because “All Lives Matter” is not a movement. But if you feel that you are a movement, you have then associated yourself with the oppressor. So in your expression– you are doing their work which is the cruel justification of the killings of innocent black bodies.
This is what makes this rhetoric scary. You truly may think you’re doing good– but you are an opposition of what can be the solidarity of individuals of all colors coming together to focus on the value of “black lives mattering because all lives matter.” If you’re saying “All Lives Matter,” but are not doing any work to help save lives– then you inevitably become the enemy to those hoping to restore peace by simply advocating for those who cannot breathe! Who are constantly becoming hashtags. You have to see the tears of mothers and their families and think if that was you. If so– let me say in your mourning that “All Lives Matter” and then offer you no support. Take a look in the mirror and analyze your conditioning. Then start over with your understanding.
Understand this simple analogy:
If my foot is broken and I go to the hospital to get it checked, that doesn’t mean that I don’t value my hand or any other body parts. I’m focused on my foot because it’s the part that is hurting the most. If I don’t get it treated, it threatens my entire health and well-being.
So think about it? What part of the American body is hurting the most right now? If we cannot heal our feet, we’re destined to fall.
It’s time to wake up. We’re in this together. Don’t let rhetoric divide. Don’t let yourself become numb to your foots suffering. We broke the shackles but we still need healing. We still need love. These cries are silenced by your misunderstood love for humanity.
It’s very simple:
“Black Lives Matter because All Lives Matter!”
Of course we all matter. To understand that you have to see you are inferior to none. And that you are superior to none. Our egos are destroyed and we can all become one. Listen. Understand. Love.
I want you to still be my friend. But I’m more interested in saving innocent lives then misunderstood friendships because my life literally depends on it. Yours does too. 😉
Nate Howard’s post is powerful, one we should all take to heart. In particular, at the end when Nate says:
“Of course we all matter. To understand that you have to see you are inferior to none. And that you are superior to none. Our egos are destroyed and we can all become one. Listen. Understand. Love.”
It is a clear statement that the position of the Black Lives Matter movement is the recognition that all lives do matter. The reason we support or should support Black Lives Matter is that not all lives are equally treated or valued. When some lives, Black lives, are treated as if they do not matter, it diminishes all lives, and it is this that must be remedied. It won’t be remedied by those in power who benefit most from this injustice, it can only be remedied by society as a whole by first acknowledging it and then speaking out against it.
And without diminishing the focus on Black lives, the lives of other oppressed groups matter too. That is why Black Lives Matter delegates have gone to Palestine, and they recognise the oppression there, and in Gaza.
When Black Lives Matter delegates went to Palestine they stated on their official Facebook page.
“Today, delegates from the Movement for Black Lives join organizers and activists in Bil’in, a territory in occupied Palestine where resistors are engaged in nonviolent protest,”
“In the fight for dignity, justice and freedom, the Movement for Black Lives is committed to the global shared struggle of oppressed people, namely the people of occupied Palestine and other Indigenous communities who for decades have resisted the occupation of their land, the ethnic cleansing of their people, and the erasure of their history and experiences.”
In fact I read today that the BLM movement is now supporting the global Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. This type of campaign helped to quickly end apartheid in South Africa a few decades ago.
I’m going to digress for a moment and expand a little on why the Black Lives Matter movement embraces the Palestinian struggle. I’ve mentioned the Palestinians a few times now over the course of my podcast. I feel compelled to mention them whenever I have the opportunity because Palestinians are living under a brutal occupation. It is beyond appalling. I mention them regularly on Vegans For Nonviolence, one of my social media pages on Facebook which I have had for a few years now.
So bear with me for a few minutes while I give you just one or two examples as to why it’s important for all of us to support the Palestinians. Between the 8 July and 27 August 2014, more than 2,100 innocent Palestinian men, women and children were killed in the Gaza Strip by the Israeli government through relentless bombing campaigns and 556 of those killed were children and babies.
And here is another example of the usual way Palestinians are treated:
On Oct 29, 2015, Israeli border police issued a shocking threat to Palestinians in Aida refugee camp, saying,
“We will gas you until you die,” in a response to stone-throwing.
According to an Al Jazeera report
In a one-minute video of the incident recorded on this day by a resident of the West Bank camp, an Israeli border officer speaking in Arabic reads a chilling message over a loudspeaker as an Israeli jeep rolls slowly down the street.
“People of Aida refugee camp, we are the occupation forces. You throw stones, and we will hit you with gas until you all die. The children, the youth, the old people – you will all die. We won’t leave any of you alive,”
the unidentified officer says.
This is just a little glimpse into the appalling treatment of the Palestinians by Israeli forces. It’s not unusual treatment. It’s not some rogue soldier. This is the attitude of the government has toward Palestinian people.
The ongoing ethnic cleansing and the particular horrific genocidal massacre in 2014 barely made a blip on the radar for most of us and certainly it was all but ignored by the corporate-owned mainstream media. THAT’S why it’s important we highlight the issue. THAT’S why it’s so important to get news from reliable independent news sources. It’s always vitally important to bring invisible and ignored social justice issues to the public’s consciousness.
As I said I feel compelled to talk about Palestinians when I can. Palestinians are victims of an apartheid regime and victims of almost a century of systemic colonial occupation and institutionalised racism. It is a slow and ongoing genocide. Palestinians are not safe in their homes or outside of their homes. Innocent Palestinians including children are regularly executed in the street, framed, demeaned, humiliated, and harassed. It is not uncommon for children to be baited, and then when they throw stones they are shot. Palestinian homes are regularly demolished to make way for occupiers. Their crops and olive trees are destroyed. They are burnt alive in their homes. They and their homes are regularly bombed and they are not allowed to rebuild due to a blockade of building supplies. It is an open air prison. They are corralled into areas separate from people who are not Palestinian. They are deprived of water, medical treatment and heating on a regular basis. Social systems like power stations, water facilities, and hospitals are destroyed. It is unbearable and many Palestinian children exhibit signs of post traumatic stress. Despite the overwhelming situation, they keep up the struggle against this horrific occupation. And yet this appalling injustice is willfully ignored by many governments, the corporate media and by many in the Western world. All one needs to do is just follow the money to find out why.
I could go on and on about this horrific situation but I invite you to please go to reliable independent news sources to learn about the beyond horrific situation the Palestinians are enduring and please support them. One way to support them is to join the BDS campaign (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), the one I mentioned the Black Lives Matter movement is now supporting. Another way is to keep ourselves informed. One can find out about this issue through independent news (and I stress independent) news sources like Democracy Now! TruthDig.org, The Real News Network, Mint Press News, The Empire Files, TeleSur, George Galloway, Chris Hedges and the like. Pulitzer prize recipient journalist and vegan Chris Hedges writes about the ongoing genocide of the Palestinians regularly. So does black activist champion for racial justice the wonderful Dr Cornel West. So there’s no lack of information about the Palestinian struggle on social media and elsewhere. One just has to look for it and we SHOULD look for it because the Palestinian struggle is probably the most invisible and ignored issue today but it is becoming less so thanks to social media and the internet.
But the Black Lives Matter movement does not limit their concern to the wonderful Palestinian people. They also focus on the killing of transgender people. Last year there were 21 trans-women killed in the US alone (and that’s likely to be an underestimate) and this year so far there have been approximately 16 killed (which is probably also likely to be an underestimate). Although the Black Lives Matter movement focus on their struggle, it is not at the expense of other struggles. All those who are marginalised matter, and all of us must work together, to support one another. It is not an either/or situation. And abolitionist vegans recognise this.
As the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass said
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
We must always remember this.
Black Lives Matter as a movement came about in the US, because it is black lives in the US who are being ended at a rate of 1 person approximately every 28 hours. Many Black lives have been destroyed through mass incarceration due to a justice system which is racist. A system which is intentionally designed to work against Black people and is intended to create a kind of neo-slavery within the prison system.
And for those of you who vote in the US, remember that both major parties have continued on this unjust and racist system so don’t believe major party politicians when they say they “feel your pain” and want justice and equality. It’s important we vote for your values. There are more than two parties in the US.
Without diminishing the Black Lives Matter, of course Palestinian lives matter, Indigenous people’s lives matter, Transgender lives matter. All lives that are marked as victims of institutional oppression or in the case of Muslims, imperialist oppression, need to be asserted as mattering. And it strikes me that the largest group by far, that of sentient beings on this planet who are exploited, tortured and murdered are non-human animals.
Sentient nonhuman animals are an almost invisible group because our group – the human species – otherise them. But the fact is they are 99.99% of the planet’s population. 1 trillion plus land and aquatic animals are tortured and murdered each year for mostly trivial reasons of palate pleasure. I say trivial reasons because we do not need to eat animals,wear them or exploit them at all. We do so for our pleasure, convenience habit or tradition. But concern for these sentient nonhuman lives follows the same logic that Nate Howard speaks of, that we are all inferior to none, and superior to none, and none of us have the right to abuse or oppress or use other sentient beings. And the rights of no group should be pursued at the expense of any other group. And no one should have a problem with the assertion that Black Lives Matter. Wouldn’t it be an amazing world if that was our species’ motto to live by? We could have such a peaceful and nonviolent vegan world if we take a first step and if we become vegan, we recognise the rights of all sentient beings.
Whether we are abolitionist vegan or not (and abolitionist vegans are inclusive as we reject all forms of discrimination), we should care beyond our own selves, beyond our families, our towns. We should care beyond artificial national borders we have constructed which reinforce a hierarchy of moral value. We should reject any construct or scenario which sets up a hierarchy of moral value, of US and THEM. As abolitionists vegans or whoever we are, we should not restrict our caring, or moral concern to just our friends and family, or to only our own groups or identities. And equally as importantly, we should NOT restrict our moral concern to just our own species. And when I say concern, I don’t mean a fleeting concern after we read something, wringing our hands or nodding our heads and then just continuing on with our daily lives. I mean an engaged moral concern. One which involves itself in social justice and in education.
One mistake we make in our species is the idea that injustice against vulnerable groups is out there some where, that it is not relevant to us and that injustice will not one day come knocking at our door. But if we pay attention to independent media, the injustice we inflict on others in other countries for our own gain, is coming back home. And many of us who have benefited from our government’s racism, and plundering and destruction in other’s lands, should have paid attention and cared about this when it began. Because it was wrong. It is wrong. Just as racism can’t be ignored by those who benefit, just because we might say “I’m not racist”, we cannot ignore any oppression that benefits us. Many of us benefit from racism, and most of us benefit from animal exploitation, even those of us who claim we are against violence, discrimination and oppression and even some of us who create careers promoting “happy” animal exploitation.
Nothing happens in a vacuum. I know we like to think it does.
Whenever we benefit from racism, whether that is the assumption that we are not criminals, that we are treated with less suspicion by police, and we are not being shot and killed for no reason, just because of the colour of our skin. We benefit from racism if we ignore the injustice that others are assumed to be criminals, or are seen as suspicious, or are devalued, shot and killed, simply because of the way they look. We become part of the oppression if we ignore this.
Whenever we ignore the suffering and murder of non-humans, when we eat their bodies, drink their secretions, or wear their skins etc, or when we generally exploit sentient animals for entertainment or other reasons, we participate in oppression and also the oppression of humans. It is no less immoral than the other forms of oppression I’ve address earlier. And whether we realise it or not, and this is an ongoing theme in my podcast episodes, what we do to nonhuman animals has, and is happening to humans, and that’s not a coincidence. The various forms of discrimination are inextricably bound. Obviously what is happening to humans is different and it is not to the degree, but it is happening.
Whatever we do to the most vulnerable among us, and in this case it is nonhumans, effects us all whether we realise it or not. And as vegans, particularly abolitionist vegans (and we all should be abolitionist vegans), to devalue one group – humans, and for us to ignore some human social justice issues, or ignore social justice issues altogether is a illogical, discriminatory, wrong-headed and it is complicit with that oppression.
For a long time now, thousands of years in fact, there have been some well known individuals who have been saying that we are all interconnected, and they included nonhuman sentient beings in that statement. Unfortunately they may not have enacted this belief by ending their use of nonhumans, but their moral inconsistency doesn’t devalue the truth in that wisdom. Nate Howard expressed it well when speaking about ignoring an illness in a part of our body. I liken ignoring the suffering and abuse of one group is like us having our hand caught in a door and pretending that our hand does not matter to us, till eventually our hand turns blue and gangrenous and our whole body then begins to suffer and eventually die. That is how illogical and problematic it is to pretend that the plight of any sentient being on this planet, no matter what species, is irrelevant to us, or that we can exploit them, torture them and kill them simply because we are in the position to do so and because we benefit from their suffering and death in some way. It simply makes no sense, and in the end, it will be us who suffer as well. We should take responsibility for our complicity.
Please remember if you are not vegan, then please consider going vegan. If you are not abolitionist, then please make that logical step to becoming abolitionist vegan. It’s about the whole, not the parts. It’s about acknowledging a truth of interconnectedness that has been talked about for at least 2 thousand years now. Please check out my comprehensive vegan resource in podcast form – HowToGoVegan.org
I hope you found episode somewhat interesting. I look forward to your company again. Thanks for listening.
Till next time.
Bye for now.
For more information:
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Here’s a link I mentioned “Days of Revolt: All Life is Sacred”
Thanks for listening. Please subscribe to this podcast and “like” my Vegan Trove page on Facebook. Till next time, bye for now.
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Of course everyone should embrace veganism. In Episode 20, I ask the question and share some personal experiences with Buddhist organisations. As well I explore the reasons why Buddhists should naturally embrace veganism.
If you’re not vegan, please consider going vegan. It will be one of the best decisions you make in your life and it’s much easier than you think. Here’s a good link to many good vegan resources.
Here are some other resources you might like to check out:
Thanks for listening. Please subscribe to my podcast for future updates and / or join my Facebook page here. I look forward to your company next time. 🙂
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This Earth will grow cold,
A star among stars
and one of the smallest,
A gilded mote on blue velvet-
I mean this, one great Earth.
This Earth will grow cold one day,
not like a block of ice
or a dead cloud even
but like an empty walnut
It will roll along
In pitch-black space.
You must grieve for this right now –
You have to feel this sorrow now –
For the world must be loved this much
If you’re going to say “I lived”
Nazim Hikmet (Excerpt poem “On Living” Feb, 1948
I’m not one for making dramatic statements at all but for the last few years I’ve been reading various (non-sugar coated) scientific reports on climate change, and in view of the dire reports on methane emissions escaping the East Siberian Arctic shelf (I’ll get to that shortly), as well as the sixth mass extinction which is currently underway — I think it’s pretty clear that our brief time as a species on this planet is coming to an end and soon. I think some of my friends probably think I’m far too pessimistic when it comes to what I -and some others- see as near-term human extinction but that’s OK. I don’t really mention it much any more because I don’t think most people want to hear it or think about it. Most of us know on some level something terrible is going to befall us as a species but most think it’s going happen toward the end of the century. On the rare occasion I have raised the issue of near-term human extinction to anyone, they either go quiet, glaze over and it goes into a black hole, or they say to me: “No I think it’s going to be very bad for our children and their children.” Have you had that experience? Some people just don’t want to think about it and that’s understandable. But at the same time if we had a terminal disease, wouldn’t we want to know? I would. I think it’s important that we are at least given the information. Of course we are all terminal because we are organic organisms and we are all impermanent 😉 but what’s been happening in the Arctic in recent years puts a different light on everything. What it means is that most likely none of us will get to live out our natural lives – however long that might have been for each of us individually. What it means is that everything, the “history”, music, books and so forth, every trace of humans will vanish. Even the huge pile of swirling plastic in the ocean will vanish eventually. Eventually the pyramids will vanish, Stonehenge will vanish, there will be very little trace of us. There will be no one left to remember, or to tell.
If one looks at the most recent (non-sugar-coated) scientific information coming out in recent years about METHANE emissions, particularly research on methane emissions from the EAST SIBERIAN ARCTIC SHELF, one really has to be in some kind of major denial to think this is not going to be apocalyptic for all species on the planet including ours. One has to be in some kind of major denial to believe scientists will be able to “fix it”, or that corporate-dominated government has any intention of addressing it let alone being able to “fix it”. I think we’ve just seen too many Hollywood films, too many Hollywood heroes saving the day. Sadly there will no miracle fix. There will be no miracle geo-engineering that will save us. There will be no Rapture. There will be no time or the capability of colonising another planet. There will be no bunker big enough or resourced enough to last over a few 1000 years or more. There will be no extra-terrestrial intervention on our behalf. Jesus will not be returning to save us. There will be no hero. There will be no one who will be able to save us from ourselves and what is –in all likelihood — going to happen. And even if all GHG emissions stopped tomorrow, it is literally too late. It was too late in 2000. Sadly it’s true as Pulitzer prize recipient and (ethical) vegan Chris Hedges said in his essay “This time we’re taking the whole planet with us.” We have managed to do what the inhabitants of Easter Island did before their civilisation collapsed except we have done it on a global scale. Of course the planet will still go on without us. New, diverse and different species will evolve once again in a few million years and the planet will thrive once more, but just *without us*. And I suppose that’s where the silver lining is. Let’s be honest, our human species as a whole (I’m sure some would agree) is clearly dysfunctional and inherently violent. Putting aside how appallingly we treat one another (perpetual wars, rape, incest, paedophilia, stealing each other’s resources, imprisoning, oppressing the vulnerable based on race, sexual orientation, gender etc, murdering each other and so forth), look at what we have been doing to 100s of billions of nonhuman individuals each year whom we have bred into existence for totally trivial reasons to be used as food, clothing, entertainment etc. And those we haven’t domesticated, we hunt, torture, imprison or murder. But as I said there’s a silver lining, even when talking about our own species extinction. When we are gone, future nonhumans will not have to experience our violence anymore.
About these vids I’m sharing (please watch here) :
The first is from the Lima Peru climate conference. It talks about the millions of square miles under the East Siberian Arctic shelf which is CURRENTLY releasing large amounts of methane due to the melting of the ice. There’s 500 to 5000 GIGATONS of methane under the shelf. (A gigaton is one billion tons). Even if only 1 to 2% of the #methane under the East Siberian #Arctic shelf was released – which can easily occur as the sea continues to warm – we will see a catastrophic increase in global temperatures e.g 5 degrees to 8 degrees Celsius. That would be an increase from 440ppm (as it is now I believe) to 800 – 1000ppm which is untenable for life. Sadly the vid also contains some unrealistic “hopium” toward the end on how we can possibly prevent this. Of course they say it would require global co-operation and a cessation of fossil fuel use, but since drives to increase fossil fuel exploration and drilling are increasing continually, any cessation is unlikely, not to mention that most of us continue to consume animal products (I’ll address that issue later).
What many of us don’t realise is that what we are experiencing now in relation to global warming was put in place around 40 years ago. That’s the lag time. In 2000, it was – to be frank – all over for us. Some serious action needed to be taken in the mid ’70s, early ’80s. In 2007 the Clathrate gun was fired ( read Malcolm Light’s 2013 report). Now we are in a state of RUNAWAY GLOBAL WARMING. And thanks to government and mainstream media ( both owned by corporations) we won’t be talking about this much or doing much at all. Just token gestures, future promises, meagre efforts, more protests, unending futile conferences held by bloated environmental organisations (also funded by corporations). And this is why we will most likely be extinct in the next 2 or 3 decades because as a species we are unable to work together, or grasp what is occurring. I mean people in my own state can’t even stop using plastic bags when asked, even though they understand the consequences. As a species we are unable to act as a group. On the whole we are inherently selfish animals. And we are clearly ruled by an oligarchy whom – in their hubris – very mistakenly think they will be immune to the collapse.
We think in a blinkered way about global warming. We often hear the prediction that it will be our children and their children who will suffer greatly, but no, it will be much sooner than that if we pay attention to the science and what is happening *right now*. And what is particularly sad for me as a vegan is that we are not even really all that concerned over nonhuman extinction, except in relation to how it effects us and that we won’t have these animals to look at for our own entertainment. That’s how dysfunctional we are. Most of us don’t even care about the 99.99% of the planet’s population who are nonhuman and that their lives and their home is being destroyed.
In any event, human extinction (and most other species extinction) will most likely occur as early as the next 3 decades and the lead up to total industrial civilisation collapse will be apocalyptic: more resource wars, widespread food and water shortages (already happening now), widespread severe and unending drought (already happening now), plagues, more catastrophic climate events, prolonged extreme temperatures (already happening now), till eventually toward the end temperatures will be so severe that plant life will not be able to survive it and we (humans and non-humans) will starve.
Did you ever think when you were young, that you would be here to witness the end of our species?
I have to mention the failing which accompanies any climate change presentation — the elephant in the room — and that is the omission of the issue of animal agriculture and human overpopulation. Animal agriculture contributes at least 51% of greenhouse gases. Let’s consider that “a person who is vegan will save 1,100 gallons of water, 20 pounds CO2 equivalent, 30 square feet of forested land, 45 pounds of grain and at least one sentient animal’s life every day” (from Hedges’ essay “Saving the Planet One Meal at a Time”). So if we stopped consuming animal products we would not only be reducing our tremendous contribution to climate change, but we would end our participation in the tremendous violence against non-human animals, that latter being more important. So although we won’t see any real action any time soon (if ever) from corporate-dominated government, there is something we can all personally do right now. Our actions will not prevent the inevitable, but becoming vegan (not only adopting a plant-based diet, but eschewing all forms of animal use) certainly is the morally right thing to do for other sentient beings. ( Please read this Hedges essay “Saving the Planet One Meal at a Time” and “Apocalyptic Capitalism)
The other elephant in the room is human overpopulation. We are in overshoot and collapse. No matter what is done to mitigate climate change, if human populations keep increasing as they do (362,000 babies born per day according the UN), then it will make no difference what is done. And it doesn’t look like anything at all is being done to even discuss the issue of human overpopulation, let alone address it. In fact we just continue breeding and it’s business as usual.
Finally it’s our choice if we want to ingest the “hopium” put out by media, governments, conservative and corporate funded scientists and even those who present this video. I guess if we need to have hope that it won’t go as badly as is described here, then that’s what we need to do. We all deal with these issues differently. We can either decide to cruise along and ignore it or downplay it, or we can face it, think about what it means, and adjust our life accordingly. If we haven’t already we can find what’s meaningful in our lives, enjoy each and every moment, do our best to be kind to others and continue to push for justice.
I’ll share three other videos on this topic which are quite good. The first presentation
explains the science for the everyday person. It’s a year or so old now. You can skip the first 5 minutes.
And here’s one more from a couple of years ago which is very thorough
Please watch to the end including Q&A. Here’s the report by scientist Malcolm Light “The Non-Disclosed Extreme Arctic Methane Threat” Dec 2013
Anyway, I don’t know how many of you have been made aware of this information over time, but I felt like sharing this little spiel.
For more information:
Watch here “The myth of human progress” by Chris Hedges
Here’s another : Mass Extinction: It’s the End of the World as We Know It
If you’re not vegan, please consider becoming vegan. It’s much easier than you think. It’s better for us and for the planet and if we truly claim that we want to lead a nonviolent life, then it’s the least we can be. Please start here.
Disclaimer: Please note I do not necessarily endorse opinions, links or ads on external sites or by persons presented in this blog
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