May 7, 2007

Your House Is On Fire and Your Children Are Gone

Posted in animal advocacy, environment, save the earth, vegan, violence at 3:44 pm by nevavegan

So go vegan!!
(warning graphic material—might be extremely upsetting/triggering)

In my second to last entry I said that while I really know from experience that there are very bad people in the world, I also know that there are wonderful, kind, generous people in the world. There are people that when the chips are down, they really go the extra mile. They put themselves in danger; they make sacrifices.

History shows us that sometimes the people who come through in a crisis weren’t really extraordinary prior to the crisis. Some weren’t even particularly nice, or civic minded, or caring. Sometimes people who had been criminals saved others during a disaster. Somehow the urgency of the situation can bring out the good in people. Sadly there are also stories of such situations bringing out the worst in some people, but I suppose that’s always how it goes.

I find myself a little unsure of what I should say and not say here, but maybe this story is helpful or appropriate to what I’m about to say. Once upon a time, a long time ago, I was attacked. And the person who attacked me knocked me out cold with a single strong blow to the head. When I came to I didn’t know where I was or what was going on. Everything seemed pitch black and all I was aware of was that I hurt and then I was overwhelmed with nausea and all I wanted to do was turn over and get up onto my knees so I could throw up. Only I couldn’t seem to move, and then the blackness faded, though I was still dizzy, weak, and nauseated, and I realized that the reason I couldn’t get up was that someone was on top of me, continuing to attack me, holding me down. That’s when I started screaming and screaming. Someone heard my screams and came running and literally picked my attacker up off of me and threw him and when he started coming back, my rescuer fought him off. Who knows what might have happened if he hadn’t come, if he hadn’t come running, if he’d ignored my scream, or if he’d been more worried about his own safety than mine (not that I could blame him for that)? But when the chips were down someone decided to be a hero, and I’m forever grateful.

So this is how I know the immense goodness that is out there in the world. People who watch TV, eat junk food, laze around playing video games all day on their day off, in other words, normal people that you’d never look at twice, have this ability to be so much more when it’s really down to it. When it’s do or die, or even do or let someone else die.

I know that if the world goes to hell in a hand basket and the ice caps melt and people are starving to death, I know that so many people out there will put themselves on the line to help. I know that even if they’re hungry themselves they’ll share what they have. I know that if the worst of what we expect comes through, some people will be capable of things they never thought they were.

The thing is: we’re actually in the crisis right now. We need people to be heroes right now. But a lot of people are ignoring the screams, because they’re distant. They think maybe others should act. They think maybe it’s not really that bad. They are able to ignore the effects of global warming that are causing polar bears to die and inflicting famine on the human and animal residents of Africa, the droughts in Australia.

Our house is on fire right now, and ignoring it isn’t solving anything. We can all do better.

Studies show that the energy saving benefits of adopting a vegan diet outweigh the benefits of a hybrid car. I mean, by all means, get the hybrid car if you can. But going vegan means conserving all the energy that went into raising the animals to eat, and all the energy that went into raising the grain and soybeans to feed them, it means cutting all those green house gasses created by animal agriculture. It means fewer drugs and antibiotics and just waste released by run off into our water supplies. It saves all that water used in animal agriculture. I really think this is the first and primary thing. The effects of making this one change are huge.

If you’re the kind of person who thinks you’d rush in when someone is being attacked, can’t you change your diet when the planet is being attacked? Can’t you change your diet if animals, who are trusting and gentle or terrified and traumatized are being attacked?

There are of course other things to do as well. Drive less (I live very close to my work right now, happily). Drive smarter (see if your work will let you work flex time so you can commute when traffic isn’t as heavy). Drive together (carpool and ride share whenever possible). Use environmentally friendly cleaning products. When the cashier asks “Paper or plastic?” say “neither!” and bring out your re-usable shopping bags. Switch out your light bulbs for the energy conserving kind. Make sure your home is properly insulated and the windows properly sealed (to reduce the need for heat and/or AC). Use your heat and AC less (bundle up in the winter, wear less in the summer). You know the drill.

Here are some links if you want to learn more:

UN Report: Cattle worse than cars
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=20772&Cr=global&Cr1=environment

How a vegetarian diet reduces global warming
http://www.goveg.com/environment-globalwarming.asp

Cool Article: Vegetarian Is the New Prius
http://www.commondreams.org/views07/0120-20.htm

Think leather is good for the environment, think again?
http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/04/30/863/

Other quick steps to conserve energy and limit waste
http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/thesustainables/ten.htm

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2 Comments »

  1. bazu said,

    Your story sounds so harrowing. I have often wondered what I would do in those fight/flight situations. With every passing day, I hope that my courage grows so that one day, I can be capable of helping someone who needs it.
    I can’t even imagine how humanity collectively will respond to the environmental damages coming our way… =(

  2. Neva Vegan said,

    Thanks. Sadly, I’ve come to realize that my respons in emergency situations is often dependent on other factors… I do hope that people will be able to step up and do the right thing when needed, and I still believe many people want to do the right thing. I guess they do those psychological studies where people are far more likely to help someone in trouble if they’re the only one around, because they realize right away that it’s up to them. But when there’s a crowd people hesitate or don’t help because they look to others for their cues, or they think someone else will be the one to intervene. I think maybe it’s like that with the environment too–a lot of people realize there are huge problems but they think someone else will do something.


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