Animal Liberation is Human Liberation

Welcome to Peace to All Beings. Until we liberate animals from human exploitation and violence, we cannot expect to have true freedom and peace for ourselves. We human beings can awaken to our higher consciousness and embrace a new paradigm of living in harmony, rather than in fear and domination. We can become "Homo Ahimsa," my term for a new nonviolent and kind human, but we must make that choice together. There is hope for our species--hope that we will not continue this war against animals and the earth. Together let us co-create a new culture and heal the wounds humanity has caused to the earth, to each other, and to the animals who share this world with us.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Peace on Earth and Good Sandwiches

This is my article for  the Sierra Club Planet Kansas, December, 2011, January, 2012, Eating as Though the Earth Matters column.  Hope you like it. 

Please share it with all those lovable tree huggers you know.  May we all be tree huggers, animal huggers, and loving huggers of all living beings.  Once there are enough of us we can all get together and hug the earth. 

Here is the Sierra Article

Peace on Earth and Good Sandwiches

Somewhere on the planet today there is a little boy eating a tuna sandwich which was placed in his lunch box this morning by his adoring parent. If he likes that sandwich, his mom or dad may make another one for him tomorrow. They don’t know there is a sick, poisoned fish in that sandwich. According to an October 11 Sierra Club Insider email, two tuna sandwiches a week can contaminate this child with methyl mercury. In the U.S. alone coal plants release over 48 tons of airborne mercury every year. Yet it takes only one-seventieth of a teaspoon to pollute a 20 acre lake.

Coal, agriculture, aquaculture, overfishing, desertification, oil spills, rainforest destruction, extinction of species, human and animal slavery, nuclear power, war, and all the other animal, peace, justice, and environmental issues—they all grow out of the same root cause.

That one root cause at its core is human fear. We all have some amount of fear within us, of course. However, there is real trouble when people with a knack for gaining power attempt to ease their fear by gaining obscene amounts of money and convincing themselves that they have the right to exploit all other life forms and the earth.

The Occupy movement that is sweeping the country is being criticized for seeming to be confused about its issues. No wonder. This movement is revealing that corporate, political, and criminal greed has contaminated nearly every aspect of life on this planet. The breadth of the destruction is truly unfathomable. Tackling such a giant requires tracking every footstep and challenging all the forms of destruction no matter how vast.

It requires the joining together and participation of all the justice movements, for each one is equally affected by the domination of the system. It has been said that animal rights are human rights and that there is no peace without justice. We are coming to understand that we cannot end war against people and continue the killing of billions of animals every year. Tolstoy said it succinctly, “As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.” I would add that as long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be unbridled pollution and criminal devastation of the earth, wildlife, and human health.

Simply ending the practice of confining, killing and eating animals of land and sea would bring vast healing for the earth, the wilderness, and the seas. And it would bring a large part of the pharmaceutical, agribusiness, and oil giants to their knees.

The “Declaration of the Occupation of New York” lists a poisoned food supply, a monopolized farming system, the torture and brutal confinement of animals, endless wars, the blocking of alternative energy initiatives and the covering up of oil spills, to name just a few of the reasons for the occupation.

And yet I see within, under, and around these huge tentacles of domination three major reasons for hope.

More courage: It takes courage to face such widespread injustice. I see this courage among more people than ever before.

More unity: It is becoming ever more clear that these issues are all intricately interconnected. Activists are realizing that their issues overlap, that they need each other, not only because of the overlap, but also because of the attempts by the power elite to silence all the voices of truth, to prevent videotaping of atrocities, and to attempt to prosecute non-violent protesters as “terrorists.”

More love: The driving force behind greed is a deep, usually unconscious, fear. The motivating force for activists and the people who support them is an abiding love for what and whom they are trying to protect and heal. Love, whether in the microcosm of our own lives, or in the big picture, always trumps fear. As Martin Luther King, Jr. stated “True pacifism is not unrealistic submission to evil power. It is rather a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of Love.” It is the most powerful force in the universe. I see more love than ever before at work in the world.

Arthur Conan Doyle once said, “At the moment our human world is based on the suffering and destruction of millions of non-humans. To perceive this and to do something to change it in personal and public ways is to undergo a change of perception akin to a religious conversion. Nothing can ever be seen in quite the same way again because once you have admitted the terror and pain of other species you will, unless you resist conversion, be always aware of the endless permutations of suffering that support our society.” I think this sentiment can be applied equally to all the justice movements. The endless permutations are everywhere evident now, and as people wake up, one by one, the singular cause is no longer hidden.

The Occupy movement and all the other great work that activists have done is all about hope in the face of madness, and it is about faith in the power of people. That power we share does not come from corporate oppression, from money, or from the exploitation of nearly every form of life on the planet. The power that we have comes from our love and respect for this exquisitely beautiful planet that is our home, for our non-human relatives, for plants that feed and heal us and astonish us with their beauty, for the poor of the world who suffer so much, and for each other.

As the holidays draw near, as always we will enter a magical time when most of the music we hear will be about love, peace on earth, family, friends, and all good things. We will be treated to, not just visions of sugar plums (whatever those are), but also to visions of what the world would be like if we really could create peace on earth. We’ll get holiday cards bearing wishes for “Peace on Earth,” as if, at least in December of every year, we have permission to believe that peace is possible.

And in January we will be prompted to make the mandatory New Year’s resolutions to become better people than we are, or shall we say—to behave in better ways. These two months make up a season of the heart more surely than any other time of year. It is a time to dream the impossible dream, to love more than ever before, to find tears in our eyes at the sight of snow and stars and puppies and the children who are trusting us to make non-toxic sandwiches and make the world safe for them.

During the holidays we can draw from and add to this charmed atmosphere of hope and love and peace. Let us, each in our own way, bring peace and healing to the soil, to seas and rivers, to the air we breathe, to forests and prairies, to fish and coral reefs, to whales and dolphins, to all animals longing for freedom, and to all people. May the wars that are ravaging animals, earth, and people come to an end and the truth be told again and again. May your holidays and your new year be bright with promise and may the vision you carry in your heart for a better world hold steady.