05 April 2010

A New Kind of Judgement Day?

There's a button out there that says Less Judgement, More Tolerance. This is a great slogan when you're encouraging intercultural understanding and things like that. But is there not a place and time for judgement in our fight to safeguard the future for our children?

As I listened to a panel of inspirational vegan speakers the other day, I noticed that they all either spoke directly about or alluded to the notion of not judging others.

They spoke of leading by example, serving as inspiration, not making others defensive — by not judging.

As I sat and listened, I thought to myself, "If we judge people who murder other people, and murdering animals is now directly related to murdering fellow humans through the impacts of global warming and climate disruption, then is it not time to judge those who murder animals for meat?"

(The chemical-intensive agri-business livestock industry causes an inordinate yet unnecessary percentage of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, particularly the very powerful heat forcers, methane and nitrous oxide — not to mention the water wastage, water pollution, land degradation, and world hunger caused by our meat habit.)

I got up the nerve to pose my question aloud, but I think it was considered a bit, hmm, over the top. Most of us still don't really think of other animals as our kin, and most of us still can't conceive of faceless future generations and what we're doing to them (progenycide). Over and above that, most of us don't think in terms of systems, so we view solutions as changes that individuals make, rather than as full system overhauls.

So, let's look at it this way. We have (at least here in North America) managed to demonize smoking (if not the smokers themselves), and smoking is no longer allowed in any public buildings in most places. If we can go that far because of the personal health impacts of secondhand smoke, can we not go even further when meat eating is contributing so much to the climate change emergency (40% of human-caused methane emissions, for example), which could see life on this precious planet disappear? A global switch to a vegan diet would buy us some time for implementing all the other solutions that already exist (like renewable energy technologies).

I guess what I'm saying is this: When someone asks, "Why are you a vegetarian?" the response should be "Why aren't you one?"

If you need some inspiration for hanging up your meat habit, becoming a healthy vegetarian or vegan, and being kinder to the planet, the future and the children of all species, check out the resources at BeautifulEarth. org.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?