REALLY, PETA? Even Amanda Palmer knows better (http://amandapalmer.tumblr.com/post/35652469447/dear-peta-this-ad-is-really-upsetting). I won’t even go into the obvious body image/feminist issues here that Ms. Palmer points out. I will say that I make a good amount of money being the only unshaven working girl in my area—so stop telling me it isn’t sexy. More importantly, my partners know damn well it’s sexy.
No wonder veganism and the animal rights movement have come to encapsulate everything that’s wrong with the American left in my mind. It’s going to start being surprising when PETA puts out an ad that manages to NOT be offensive.
Bolivian president ratified the Law of Mother Earth on Oct. 16th 2012.
The law, amongst other things, bans the use, cultivation, sale or creation of Genetically Modified Organisms
Institutes the right of use of land by protecting the Earth from mining and other activities
Bans owning large swaths of land by corporations or individuals who are not using it and institutes the redistribution of such idle lands with a priority towards women and indigenous people.
Gives full human rights to Mother Earth.
An open letter to James McWilliams and anyone who has signed or is considering signing the petition asking Whole Foods to “close all its meat counters”:
You say you care about the humane treatment of animals. Then why not spend your time going after the factory farms, or Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), that churn out cheap meat from diseased psuedo-animals by the ton-full to mainstream grocery stores and fast-food restaurants across the country?
Whole Foods is one of the few—if not only—large-scale places that offer alternatives to this. In many parts of the country, it is more affordable and/or accessible than going to local farms or farmers markets.
This may be harder for you to swallow than a tough piece of beef shank, but people will not stop eating meat (and not only because you are not actually asking them to). Please consider the potential ramifications of your proposal. If Whole Foods closes its meat counters, only one thing is for sure: Without the option of their alternatives, people will simply buy more questionably-sourced meat. Factory-farm production will actually increase. In German, there is an apt word for this: verschlimmbesserung (an intended improvement that makes things worse).
And if you think that there is no difference between factory-farm meat and the kinds that Whole Foods offers (inferred by your statement, “there is no such thing as ‘humane’ meat”), I have an assignment for you: Go to a factory farm (if you can; they are notoriously secretive about their operations, and it is discouraged if not downright illegal to visit or take photos or video in them). Then go to a sustainably-run livestock farm that is known for being transparent about its methods. Then tell me there is no difference.
Also, where’s the petition to ask Whole Foods to stop selling produce that may come from farms where migrant workers are essentially enslaved? Or to stop selling heavily processed and packaged foods made from profit-crazed monoculture (i.e. wheat/corn/soy) which wreak havoc on both our bodies and the earth?
Different bodies have different needs, and a more diverse approach to health is absolutely necessary. Not only should Whole Foods not close its meat counters, it should do more to promote the myriad ways of healthful eating and living. They are in a position to educate and help us to be kind to our bodies and the earth (they are not mutually exclusive), no matter what our dietary choices or needs.
Therefore, I propose an alternative to your reckless petition: The Healthy Paleo Coalition is asking Whole Foods to increase their Health Starts Here program’s currently vegan-based definition of “health” to include paleo and traditional diet choices (click here to sign their petition). It is not about limiting choices and promoting dogmatic practices, but rather about expanding awareness and promoting diversity and wellness.
Now let’s enjoy ourselves, sisters. No men around, we can do what we like. Is that meat?!
Like the earth, sushi consists of layers and was apparently invented by someone who really liked the ocean.
It’s no wonder we don’t defend the land where we live. We don’t live here. We live in television programs and movies and books and with celebrities and in heaven and by rules and laws and abstractions created by people far away and we live anywhere and everywhere except in our particular bodies on this particular land at this particular moment in these particular circumstances.
‘So you make a deal with the gods. You do these dances and they’ll send rain and good crops and the whole works? And nothing bad will ever happen. Right.’…
“’No, it’s not like that. It’s not making a deal, bad things can still happen, but you want to try not to CAUSE them to happen. It has to do with keeping things in balance…. Really, it’s like the spirits have made a deal with US…. We’re on our own. The spirits have been good enough to let us live here and use the utilities, and we’re saying: We know how nice you’re being. We appreciate the rain, we appreciate the sun, we appreciate the deer we took. Sorry if we messed up anything. You’ve gone to a lot of trouble, and we’ll try to be good guests.’…
”’Like a note you’d send somebody after you stayed in their house?’
“’Exactly like that. "Thanks for letting me sleep on your couch. I took some beer out of the refrigerator, and I broke a coffee cup. Sorry, I hope it wasn’t your favorite one.”’…
“It’s a good idea,’ I said. ‘Especially since we’re still here sleeping on God’s couch. We’re permanent houseguests.’
”’Yep, we are. Better remember how to put everything back how we found it.’
It was a new angle on religion, for me. I felt a little embarrassed for my blunt interrogation. And the more I thought about it, even more embarrassed for my bluntly utilitarian culture. ‘The way they tell it to us Anglos, God put the earth here for us to use, westward-ho. Like a special little playground.’
“Loyd said, ‘Well, that explains a lot.’…
”’But where do you go when you’ve pissed in every corner of your playground?’…
“To people who think of themselves as God’s houseguests, American enterprise must seem arrogant beyond belief. Or stupid. A nation of amnesiacs, proceeding as if there were no other day but today. Assuming the land could also forget what had been done to it.
This morning we ate at a standard-American family restaurant. It was pretty bad, and left me feeling gross and vaguely gut-sick. My kid barely ate his food, and I couldn’t blame him; it tasted like chemicals. I know I am especially sensitive, but I am reminded just how processed and removed-from-the-source the typical American diet has become. The priority–and the standard–is what’s the cheapest and easiest to produce, and what has the longest shelf-life. But regardless of what the propaganda says, modern food science does not consider the effects on our health–long- or short-term (or the environment, which is another rant entirely).
And I’m annoyed that even talking about good food is considered so bourgeois; that wanting–god forbid expecting–fresh, healthy, REAL food is somehow yuppity. It doesn’t seem to matter, initiatives going on that are trying to make good food more accessible, because crap-food just gets cheaper, and that’s all people care about. It doesn’t seem to matter, that a high consumption of crap-food is bad for you, because it’s good for the economy–it keeps people working for peanuts (NPI), it keeps money running to the top, and it keeps people sick, which keeps pharmaceutical and health-insurance companies hugely profitable and powerful. No wonder we get scoffed at when when question food science–it’s a threat to the status quo, as defined by capitalism.
If you watch advertisements, or cruise the supermarket shelves, you can’t fail to notice that everything is anti-bacterial now, as if common household bacteria have suddenly become as exotic and deadly and Ebola.
It’s a great marketing coup, but potentially a dangerous one. In our enthusiasm for all things anti-bacterial we are, thanks to the law of natural selection, breeding even more deadly forms of bacteria that laugh at our anti-bacterial handsoap. Just as with the overuse of pesticides and antibiotics, the overuse of anti-bacterial products assures that only the fittest bacteria survive, thereby selecting out ever more virulent strains with each new generation.
For this reason, in 2000, the American Medical Association recommended that the practice of common antimicrobials to household products be discontinued. Of course, no one listened to them.
And in our quest for antiseptic environments we lose the low-key exposures to both friendly and not-so-friendly bacteria that keep our immune systems in good working order. This is not to say we should wallow in filth, but it may well be healthier to wallow in a mud hole than in a vat of antiseptic gel.
Our resistance to the planet’s destruction—this resistance is often called environmentalism—is of course servile to the core. Our activism consists almost exclusively of begging those in power to go against the requirements and rewards of this omnicidal economic and political and cultural system and do the right thing, something we know they will never do with any consistency, something we know they cannot do with any consistency, because to do so would cause the entire economic system (based as it is functionally upon unsustainable and exploitative activities) to implode. We never demand they do the right thing. And we certainly never force them to do the right thing.
(And we never take “them” out of “our activism.”)
So the myth in our society is that people are competitive by nature and that they are individualistic and that they’re selfish. The real reality is quite the opposite. We have certain human needs. The only way that you can talk about human nature concretely is by recognizing that there are certain human needs. We have a human need for companionship and for close contact, to be loved, to be attached to, to be accepted, to be seen, to be received for who we are. If those needs are met, we develop into people who are compassionate and cooperative and who have empathy for other people. So… the opposite, that we often see in our society, is in fact, a distortion of human nature precisely because so few people have their needs met.
Modern schools and universities push students into habits of depersonalized learning, alienation from nature and sexuality, obedience to hierarchy, fear of authority, self-objectification, and chilling competitiveness. These character traits are the essence of the twisted personality-type of modern industrialism. They are precisely the character traits needed to maintain a social system that is utterly out of touch with nature, sexuality, and real human needs.
Those in power have made it so we have to pay simply to exist on the planet. We have to pay for a place to sleep, and we have to pay for food. If we don’t, people with guns come and force us to pay.
It’s Thanksgiving/Day of Mourning! Depressing and happy, all at once, like only America can do.
“So, today, I asked my neighbour if he had some sugar I could borrow for my turkey brine. He said ‘No.’
"So I said, in my most stoic NDN voice, ‘I am a Native American. You should never forget the debt that your people owe to my people. You should always remember that we offered you kindness while you offered us broken hearts.’
"To this he replied, ‘No, I literally don’t have any sugar left. I just used the last of it. But if you’re that desperate, I can get some for you.’
"Embarrassed, I said, ‘No, I’ll get it myself.’ Then I turned to leave.
"Then, he asked, while we were at it, as neighbours, if he could borrow a cup of salt.
"At this, I replied, ‘IT NEVER FUCKING ENDS! GAAW!’ Then I ran away screaming and war whooping.
Before our white brothers arrived to make us civilized men, we didn’t have any kind of prison. Because of this, we had no delinquents. Without a prison, there can be no delinquents. We had no locks nor keys and therefore among us there were no thieves. When someone was so poor that he couldn’t afford a horse, a tent or a blanket, he would, in that case, receive it all as a gift. We were too uncivilized to give great importance to private property. We didn’t know any kind of money and consequently, the value of a human being was not determined by his wealth. We had no written laws laid down, no lawyers, no politicians, therefore we were not able to cheat and swindle one another. We were really in bad shape before the white men arrived and I don’t know how to explain how we were able to manage without these fundamental things that (so they tell us) are so necessary for a civilized society.
People often ask me what sort of a culture I would like to see replace civilization, and I always say that I do not want any culture to replace this one. I want 100,000 cultures to replace it, each one emerging from its own landbase, each one doing what sustainable cultures of all times and all places have done for their landbases: helping the landbase to become stronger, more itself, through their presence.
(Got this in an email, not sure of its source. Anyone know?)
In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.
The woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day."
The clerk responded, "That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment."
He was right – our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.
Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.
But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.
But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.
Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts – wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house – not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana.
In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us.
When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.
Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.
We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water.
We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
But we didn’t have the green thing back then.
Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service.
We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.
But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?
98% of the old-growth forests are gone; 99% of the prairies are gone; 80% of the rivers on this planet do not support life anymore. We are out of species; we are out of soil; and we are out of time. And what we are being told by most of the environmental movement is that the way to stop all of this is through personal consumer choices.
While I agree with the general sentiment of this statement–that bright green environmentalism, particularly in a strictly capitalism framework, is a pretty pathetic non-solution to sustainability issues–I wonder if she is mitigating the importance/necessity of politically-motivated personal choices (consumer or otherwise). How can we expect the whole wide world to change if we, as individuals and/in communities, can’t? How we can expect to stop war if we can’t get past, for example, petty workplace conflict? How can we expect to stop climate change if we can’t decrease our personal energy usage way more significantly than all the fluorescent lightbulbs in the world will allow? Does anyone even believe that revolution or any grand-scale political action is capable of doing anything more than just sliding around power, with or without a complete ideological makeover?
Also, let’s consider the source: Kieth wrote a book–The Vegetarian Myth–with absolutely wonderful ideas, but it was full of such shoddy science and research that it has potentially done more harm than good to her cause, particularly for anyone other than the proverbial choir. Is this attempt at change, at education, more or less valid than the less self-righteous radical who attempts to live and learn their ideals in every-day life?
Once a people have committed (or enslaved) themselves to a growth economy, they’ve pretty much committed themselves to a perpetual war economy, because in order to maintain this growth, they will have to continue to colonize an ever-wider swath of the planet and exploit its inhabitants. I’m sure you can see the problem this presents on a finite planet. But in the short run, there is good news for those committed to a growth economy (and bad news for everyone else), which is that by converting your landbase into weapons (for example, cutting down trees to build warships), you gain a short-term competitive advantage over those peoples who live sustainably, and you can steal their land and overuse it to fuel your perpetual-growth economy. As for those whose land you’ve stolen, well, you can either massacre these newly conquered peoples, enslave them, or (most often forcibly) assimilate them into your growth economy. Usually it’s some combination of all three. The massacre of the bison, to present just one example, was necessary to destroy the Plains Indians’ traditional way of life and force them to at least somewhat assimilate (and become dependent upon the growth economy instead of the land for their very lives). The bad news for those committed to a growth economy is that it’s essentially a dead-end street: once you’ve overshot your home’s carrying capacity, you have only two choices: keep living beyond the means of the planet until your culture collapses; or proactively elect to give up the benefits you gained from the conquest in order to save your culture.
Michael Gene Sullivan and Velina Brown ended their November 2010 e-newsletter with these interesting facts:
“Out of every 100 Americans of voting age in this past election about 42 voted. That’s 4 out of 10. Out of that 42 percent a little over half voted Republican. That averages to a bit over 2 Republicans, to about 2 Democrats out of 10 people. The great difference between the 2008 and 2010 elections is that this time out of every 10 voters about 2 people didn’t vote at all, and on average less than 1 voted differently than they did in 2010. That’s it. There was no tidal wave of discontent. The great secret of our Democracy is that our national destiny is decided by 2 out of every 10 possible voters, and that ‘mandates’ are – despite what we hear from the winner and the media – normally less than a quarter of the potential voters. Remember that every time some pundit tells you what ‘The Nation’ wants based on this last election, or some Reactionary starts talking about a mandate from ‘The American People.’ The Republican ‘groundswell’ of 2010 consists of 2 voters out of 10: 1 consistent vote and 1 person who may have changed their mind. Based on this election we have no idea what the majority of Americans want, and neither do the pundits, politicians, or pollsters.”
I think what this could possibly say is that what many Americans want–I hesitate to say “majority”–has nothing to do with the options given by our political system. Perhaps we are disillusioned to the point of absolute indifference. Perhaps we are tired of this sham of a system, which contains an even bigger sham of a party system. Shams within shams, lies within lies, old money or new money as long as it’s money, false hopes and no viable alternatives…
When will we just say enough already, give us a break, shut the fuck up, can we please get on with our lives and stop listening to this propaganda coming from all sides, all curmudgeonly reactionary on one side and all milquetoasty on the other, any so-called “alternatives” being merely additions on a spectrum of the binary rather than any actual new thinking, because god forbid we think outside of a system which as far as I’m concerned is not only just broken but wasn’t even built properly, so how on earth will reform do a damn thing, it’s like putting a band-aid on a zombie?
Not that I’m bitter. Not that it’s all hopeless. Honestly. Where I am, what I’m seeing, among younger socially-conscious people in particular, is a shift toward a more local consciousness, a community-oriented way of living–dare I say something akin or on its way to New Tribalism (a la Daniel Quinn)?–where “choice” means more than the lesser of two evils or 10,000 kinds of packaged bread at the supermarket, where “grassroots” actually means from the people and not from an anything-but-local megacorporation, where an economy can at least begin to think about supporting people-first not product(ion)-first.
And any way this may manifest itself is, as far as I’m concerned, just as valid an approach to a good life than putting stock in a hugely-national dehumanizing system that we get to kind of participate in once every couple of years.
(For the record, I did vote, however slightly begrudgingly.)
Of course I understand why people WANT to have a description of the sustainable life of the future. They think this would enable them to adopt that sustainable life NOW, TODAY. But social change doesn’t come about that way, any more than technological change does. It would have been useless to show Charles Babbage a printed circuit or to show Thomas Edison a transistor. They could have done nothing with those things in their day–and we could do nothing today with a picture life a hundred years from now. The future is not something that can be planned hundreds of years in advance–or even ten years in advance. Adolf Hitler’s Thousand Year Reich didn’t even last a thousand WEEKS. There has never been a plan for the future–and there never will be.