What a day yesterday was- here in Montreal, in New York City and in many other cities and towns worldwide. If your were there or if you have read the newspaper this morning you know that I am talking about The People’s Climate March-Marche Mondiale Pour Le Climat.
Monique Muise of The Gazette reports:
The march was keyed to a gathering this week in New York City where the world leaders will discuss how to tackle climate change…. The event drew Montrealers of all ages and professions, who waved sign calling for an end to the world’ reliance on fossil fuels and major reduction in carbon emissions around the globe.
People who keep track of these figures, estimate that there were around 3000 peaceful demonstrators in Montreal and more than 300,000 in New York city. Impressive? – no doubt. But were they protesting for the right kind of change?
According to Kip Anderson and Keegan Kuhn, and their seminal documentary, Cowspiracy, The Sustainability Secret, these demonstrators have been intentionally misguided. The sad and frightening facts presented in this movie reveal that nonhuman animal agriculture is the number #1 driver of greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, rainforest destruction, species extinction, ocean dead zones, and freshwater usage. I would say that pretty much covers every human created environmental issue on this earth.
So, while we in North America are busy doing as we are told by washing out and recycling our jars, tins, and tetra packs, driving smaller cars perhaps, using cloth shopping bags, composting, collecting water in our rain barrels and so on, the planet is on the fast track to destruction with the delivery to our plates of nonhumans as food.
I wasn’t going to attend the march, because, even though I recycle, I was suspicious of whether or not it was real and whether or not it could possibly make a difference in our anything goes, profit driven society. Would my sorting and separating make any tangible difference when I am forced to buy appliances that are designed for planned obsolescence? When I would go out of my way to have my appliances fixed, I would be gouged for a part that cost almost as much the item itself. There seemed to be no accountability on the part of free enterprise and the government.
But then veganism and documentaries like Forks over Knives, Veducated, Sharkwater, The Ghosts in Our Machine and now Cowspiracy entered my life and my consciousness. I now know that we are being duped at the cost of great suffering to nonhuman beings, wild and domesticated, in order to protect the bottom line of power and money of big business, environmental groups and government.
So, I have a different, valid reason for attending the march. I will march for those who have no voice, for the nonhumans and for the earth. To this end, I met my new found vegan friends Jimmy, M. and L. at La Panthere Verte (plant based, of course) for a little pre-march chat about what veganism means to us. There were several variations on a theme with a heartfelt consensus that the ongoing unconscionable enslavement of nonhumans needs to stop now. If addressing the issue of the real cause of the destruction of this planet and educating people about the facts, while maintaining a positive presence in the face of misinformation can contribute to this, I am on board one hundred percent.
My friend L. who is a passionate, enthusiastic and devoted vegan, asked me why I thought so many more people attended yesterday’s demonstration as opposed to a demonstration we attended in June calling for the closing of all slaughterhouses in Quebec. It is puzzling, but I think there is an answer.
People who attended the climate march yesterday have followed all the rules set out concerning combating the pollution of this earth. They are recycling, biking, using LED light bulbs, turning down the heat, cutting water consumption, using less plastic and so on. Nothing more than this is being asked of them and yet the problem continues to escalate. So now, it is up to the government and environmental agencies to fix things, to reduce our carbon footprint, to enact environmental laws that protect our waters from industry and chemical runoff, to save the planet. How can we make the powers to be listen and do their part? We will demonstrate, we will demand change.
But here is the sticky wicket. If we march to support the closing of slaughterhouses, then we would all have to question our own values about eating nonhumans as food, We would have to be ready to make what people think of as a big change. By adopting a whole food, plant based diet we, not the government and big industry, have the power to positively alter the course of history for all animals, nonhuman and human alike, and for the planet we share. But, the first thing we have to do is admit that using nonhumans for our own purposes is, in the words of my granddaughter, “…not nice!”. We would have to acknowledge that our traditions based on a meat eating culture need to be discarded and that kindness and compassion are the driving forces of this change. And sadly, that is exactly what we are not prepared to do.
Annie’s Vegan View
The fix is found in the food choices we make and the money we spend on those choices.
If we lead with our hearts, we will recognize, in an instant, that we have no right, inherent or otherwise, to use nonhumans for our own purposes, whether it be as food, clothing, furniture, entertainment, tradition or experimentation.
When we reconnect with our kindness and compassion, we free those who were never meant to be enslaved, we save our planet and we give a gift to ourselves-the gift of understanding, the gift of internal peace.
May all beings be happy and free.