Filed under: Uncategorized
[insert comment about my somehow unique experience in the same hurricane experienced by the rest of the region here]
Filed under: Uncategorized
… and i’m asking her to change her ways” (yes, that’s right, bringing the MJ today — repetitive electronic drum beats, over the top, girly back-up chorals and all)
the machine that destroys requires many well oiled cogs. greed is the oil and we can each have a look in the mirror to see a real-life cog. depressing but true.
i’ve been looking in the mirror a lot, and not liking the cog that i see looking back. i can make excuses — so many excuses — and to a certain extent they would be valid. working full-time and parenting the rest of the time, i can say that ‘convenience’ products and services become key to sanity. or at least it sure feels that way.
but excuses are lame, hey? they do not make the consequences of actions any less real. they do not disappear landfills, un-acidify oceans, bring back mountain tops or stop suffering. nope, i wish excuses did all those things, because then i could feel fine about carrying on with disposable diapers, driving, canned beans, driving, mall shopping and driving, driving, driving. but with every pop of the garbage can lid, slam of the car door and trip to the grocery store, i know i am part of the problem. yup, excuses are lame.
so, with each glance in the mirror, i want to curtail the vanity that brought me there and instead take a close look at who is looking back. there is so much to be done to quash the destroying beast that is our rampant consumerism and i want to ask how else i can stop being part of the problem and start being part of solutions. and eventually, instead of seeing a cog, i hope to see a person there who is fully living, fully alive and fully aware.
Filed under: Uncategorized
it’s been a long time since i posted here. but yesterday i looked around myself, on a family road trip with my amazing husband(!!) and our gorgeous, sweet sleeping baby in the backseat. and i marvelled at how my visions can become reality. only a few years ago, i envisioned this exactly this scene, and here it was all around me. this road trip follows on the heels of our wedding (11 days ago), where we were married in our dream ceremony, that we carefully built over the past 8 months:
- the weather cooperated for our backyard nuptials (which is amazing enough in itself for Newfoundland)
- we walked down the aisle to a rendition of Attaboy by Yo Yo Ma and co., played by our musician friends
- our brilliant and charismatic friend married us in a touching and personalized ceremony
- stunning pictures taken by our very talented photographer friends captured the moments
- and we enjoyed delicious cupcakes afterward that were made by our friends and family who went out on a limb to try their hands at vegan baking. Wow, we are still reeling from the whole day.
today i am trying to hold onto this feeling and concentrate on the power of vision — making dreams into plans and then building from those plans. and I decided that doing some writing around visions, plans and progress might be helpful in getting/keeping me on track. so here i am, ready or not.
Filed under: Animals
And he seems receptive to the idea… It’ll take some very slow change and creativity, but I think with some patience on both our parts, my Mister will soon be loving vegan cat food. I was looking for info on how to create a satisfying and nourishing vegan cat diet, when I ran into this article by Franny Syufy at About.com: Cats (http://cats.about.com/b/2006/03/22/vegan-cats-dialogue.htm). I was inspired by the passionate and respectful discussion taking place on the comments board to put virtual pen to virtual paper and try to explain my thoughts. Below is what I came up with (you can see all the comments in the discussion at the link above).
Everyone (including me) accepts wholeheartedly that cats deserve not only to survive, but to THRIVE. But we too often ignore that the animals we are feeding to our cats also deserve thrive — to have healthy, social, meaningful lives.
I (vegan and companion human) adore my cat — he’s my best friend! But when I’m in the grocery store and I look at those rows and rows and rows of canned ‘meat’ (though as many have already pointed out, this meat is actually ground-up male chicks, by-products and the like), I find myself wondering, “Who loved these pitiful animals?” The answer, of course, is no one. The animals in these cans lived grotesque lives of suffering and torture, inflicted by the humans that claimed ownership of them at birth. Some were only out of the egg a few minutes before the conveyor belt reached the giant crushing machine (these are the males, who lack valuable reproductive capacity).
Some were alive a few years, during which time they were repeatedly mechanically raped, impregnated, and had their children and their children’s milk stolen (by the time the bodies of these poor wretched females gave out, their flesh was not ‘high enough quality’ as meat to be sold for human consumption… so who gets it?… our cats!).
These animals also deserve to thrive; therefore, I have a moral obligation to not deprive them of that right. I cannot decide that this cheap and fast way of feeding my cat (let’s face it, these store foods require NO effort on our part in feeding our cat friends!) is worth the suffering, deprivation and violence that was inflicted on the animals in the can.
I want to see my cat survive and thrive. I have made a life time commitment to love, protect and nourish him. I fully believe he can survive and thrive on a well-balanced vegan diet. After all, the animals taurine in grocery store cat food is an artificial supplement anyway. I know this means I will have to watch him closely for certain signs of deficiency, but we should always do this for our companion animals anyway. People continue to feed their cats grocery store food – yet, I think the rising cases of obesity and diabetes in cats shows that the current status quo diet is not exactly keeping cats fit and extending lives!
On another note, comments above have assumed that vegans are opposed to, and would like to prevent, their cat catching it’s own food. I know my cat hunts. He’s pretty awesome at it. That IS the natural order of things. Cats do have instincts to catch, kill and eat. Though I’m never pleased to find evidence of his killing (who is?), as a vegan, I’m more upset when he doesn’t eat the animal (then it seems like it was pure sport for him). And the bird, mole, worm that he catches outside was living a free and natural life up until the time he got it. And it was not unnaturally forced by me.
Filed under: Uncategorized
i have 3 goals for this christmas.
1 – working 3 jobs, i don’t have a lot of spare time on my hands so i don’t want to spend hours standing in line ups for gifts. nor do i want to spend my free time hanging lights and decoarating.
2 – i am trying to avoid buying things made in china. a news story broke about 2 montha ago about the discovery of a ‘kiln’ where people (including many children) were being kept as slave labourers — kidnapped, beaten, starved and severely malnourished. since then i have been trying to reduce my consumption of products made in china (and india, as conditions there are not much better, if any).
3 – despite holding 3 jobs, i do not hold many assests available for liquidation, i.e. i’m po. (merry christmas, royal bank. i’m sure you and yours are eating well this holiday season.) so the gifts i buy have to be affordable.
as i proceed with my last minute preparations i keep these goals, and i have some time-tested techniques for meeting them. i encourage anyone who is still preparing to try these ideas out — i find they make for a more relaxed, enjoyable and heartfelt christmas:
home-made gifts — you don’t have to be super-crafty to make gifts. if you are not a painter of knitter, you can still purchase kits that provide you with materials and give you step-by-step directions. my favourite gifts are those that incorporate photos… they can be scrapbooked, put on mugs or t-shirts, or just printed and set in a nice frame… and voila, personal, affordable and easy presents.
hand-made gifts — many people ‘prepare’ for christmas by pacing through the mall or zipping from store to store in an industrial park, standing in long lines, arguing over who-picked-it-up-first and risking life and limb in congested parking lots. (and the products purchased at these stores are almost entirely made in china or india.) i prefer to head downtown and browse the shops of local artisans, giftshops and services. in st. john’s there are many shops like these. there is environmentally-friendly clothing with prints by local artists (living planet), paintings galore, and lots of crafts.
entertainment gifts — tickets for theatre productions, concerts, massages, spa days, sports events, meals. all great gifts.
happy holidays. i hope everyone enjoys time with friends and family, with nice meals and music. and some wine.
in high school, when we covered Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’, i recognized the following passage:
Shylock: I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die?
equality advocates have often quoted portions of this sentiment to highlight the sameness of all humans. despite our differences in religion, colour, wealth and education, we are all the same in our need to live with security and dignity. since all humans require freedom from pain, instability, oppression to live productive and positive lives as members of society, equality advocates say society should ensure these needs are met by enshrining them in law and culture as rights.
today on the BBC, i was watching an edition of the series ‘Why Democracy?’. this edition was looking at india’s democracy, and examining the gross inequalities that exist between higher and lower castes (i.e. economic/social classes). Ghandi and his grass-roots movement was of course a key part of the discussion, as his efforts remain dear in the hearts of the lower caste members. some of the elders could even remember Ghandi coming through their villages on his Salt March.
one elder in a very poor village (which was continuously under threat of demolition for new shopping centres for the upper castes) said ‘if you cut me, do i not bleed?’. i’m not sure if this woman would ever have had contact with ‘The Merchant of Venice’ — i wonder if she even had an opportunity to go to school. but her statement certainly demonstrated the universality of the sentiment.
i wondered about the limits of that statement? jews and christians alike bleed, cry, laugh, love, learn, err, kill, birth. same for hindus, muslims, spainards, blacks, buddhists, russians, asians, aboriginals, whites, latinos. same for women and men.
same for animals. uh-oh. animals bleed. they cry. even if they don’t laugh they sure do express pleasure. they learn. they make mistakes. they kill. they birth and raise their children. and yet, we do not say that they deserve equality. some people say they deserve rights, but not to the same extent as humans. in canada, we take some steps to protect household pets from cruelty. but these steps are limited.
the security and dignity of animals ‘owned’ by farms or laboratories is completely unprotected. they are denied freedom of movement, health. they are denied family and community. and for the females on farms, the denial of security and dignity is even greater, as they are methodically raped, milked, and have their babies taken away from them.
i dream of the day when all animals, human and non-human alike, will be provided with the basic rights of personhood.
Filed under: Miscellaneous Hippydom
‘true democracy isn’t achieved by twenty men at the centre. it requires every member of the village.’ — Ghandi bapu