Raise your hand if you love animals. Raise your hand if you care about your health and the health of your family. Raise your hand if you care about the future of our environment and the livability of our planet.
If you didn’t raise your hand (even in your mind) then go ahead and skip the rest of this essay, because if you don’t care – you don’t care – and no one can force you to care. As an empathetic person who cares, sometimes too deeply, it is hard to understand how others do not, but nevertheless, the inner workings of each of us is so unique and formed from our individual paths.
For those planning to read on, it’s important to note that all three of the issues listed above necessitate becoming vegan, and 2017 is the perfect year for everyone who cares, to begin.
“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.” — Buddha
Starting with our environment and the livability of our planet, we need only begin with the obvious changes that can be seen and felt by us all. Climate change is starting to show up in many forms — just turn on the news and hear people exclaim they’ve “never seen temperatures, rain, snow, storms, pollution and changes to ecosystems” like they are seeing now. Animal agriculture cannot keep up with a growing population – it has become completely unsustainable. If we don’t make the changes necessary, it will continue to poison our air and our oceans – the very air we will need to breath and the clean water we will need to drink. It is gobbling up the little land the earth has left in order to raise more animals for food and clothing. It is clearing out rainforests and destroying the habitat. Animal agriculture, as a mega-profit industry for food and clothing, is taking an irreversible toll on the only planet we have. Do we care?
Plant-based diets have proven to be an answer to diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease and many chronic ailments. Humans do not need to suffer in pain and to die, but they continue to do so, because we’ve all been indoctrinated to believe that eating animals and their secretions (milk, dairy, eggs) is a necessary part of our diet. So, we continue to eat massive amounts of meat, eggs and dairy, and the hospitals keep building additional towers to accommodate. Do we care?
“When you fully awaken to the cruelty that is being done to animals, your soul demands that you live vegan.”
— “Compassion Over Cruelty”
We like to think that the food we see on our plates could never have come from a gentle animal who suffered. We turn away from the thought of that animal’s fear and pain, and we never think of the moment of slaughter, when that young animal fought with all his might to stay alive. This suffering is also massively inherent in the lives of the animals exploited for dairy and eggs. If we decide not to think about it, we don’t have to do anything to change and that, I presume, is the basis for the phrase, “ignorance is bliss.” Please know that they all have suffered fear, pain and slaughter. Do we care?
Below is a list of one documentary to watch and one book to read for each of the three issues, so you can choose whether to watch or read, and ultimately choose to know. Some may think that ignorance is bliss, but I believe that knowledge is power.
Environment — film: “Cowspiracy”; book: “The Sustainability Secret,” by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn
Health — film: “Eating You Alive”; book: “How Not to Die,” by Dr. Michael Greger
Animals — film: “Earthlings”; book: “Eating Animals,” by Jonathan Safran Foer
“By the time our great-grandchildren reach middle age they will have inherited much more violent weather, fewer varieties of animals, less choices of healthy food, worsening air quality, and more antibiotic resistant diseases. They will question why, when we saw this coming, we did not do more to prevent it. They will see us as fools who cared more about our lifestyles, pleasures and possessions than this valuable world we call home. They will be the victims of our air-polluting habits of overpopulating particular animals for human consumption and emitting huge amounts of methane and carbon dioxide. We are rapidly approaching the point of no return. The result will be global increase of morbidity and mortality statistics. The good Earth will rejuvenate itself as it purges human life. Many people do not understand, others do not believe, and still more do not care.”
— Chuck LaMark
Raise your hand if you care — and then go vegan.
Sande Nosonowitz is a certified vegan lifestyle coach and educator as well as a certified yoga and meditation teacher. Contact her at her Sundara website: www.sundarajewel.com; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. She is also co-producing the upcoming Hudson Valley Vegfest 2017 www.hvvegfest.org