The below words my friend jamshed put together, for a presentation he gave to a Leicester Vegans Group in England, about simple living being a part of veganism. He wishes for us humans to share the earth with all her inhabitants, and I do too!
This guest post is the second post by jamshed i have included on my blog.
The above photo is of jamshed harvesting Pakistani mulberries, yum-e!! The below photo is of jamshed and a very sweet goat friend. —->>
Hi everybody, thanks for having me!
I’d like to share with you a little about my vegan journey before I go into the subject of the talk tonight.
It started when I realised as a six year old that I was eating animals. This happened as I was watching a farming program, on the television before Sunday lunch, during which there was some film of lambs being killed in a slaughter house.
I realised that lamb on the plate was lamb in the field, and that all so called meat including fish were parts of animal’s bodies.
I was shocked, horrified and very disturbed by this and I told my mother that I did not want to eat animals anymore and she and my grandmother supported me in this decision.
At that time I actually thought and said to my mother that if they died of old age I would eat them! I don’t think it took long before that idea changed and i did not want to eat their bodies however they died!
I also stopped eating eggs then, too. As I thought they would hatch into chicks if they weren’t in the fridge; and that I was taking their life by eating them.
I continued drinking cow’s milk and eating cheese thinking I was being very natural and healthy.
As a young teenager I started to wonder about what happened to the cows that I had milk from that got too old to be making milk, I wanted to know if they went into a retirement place or whatever else happened to them.
I thought to write to Kirby and West the local cow’s milk sellers-but I never did.
A few years later when I was seventeen years old a friend at school brought in a leaflet which described what happens to cows, calves and bulls so people can take their milk. I was sad to read the awful things done to them. At that time I had two milk chocolate bars in my pocket and I took them straight out and gave them away–I was done with consuming udders milk.
In my late teens I started to think about the consequences of more of my choices to other life on earth. I continued to make purchases as long as they were vegan but I was also somewhat aware of pollution and habitat destruction and how these were harming animal’s lives.
In my early twenties I parted even more with normal ways of consuming when I chose to live simply knowing that by doing so I would be allowing others to simply live-this is what I wish to talk about tonight.
Veganism is clearly about having compassion for all animals, whether they are domesticated or wild and free. Veganism goes beyond the liberation of animals and the ending of animal exploitation and I would like to share why this is.
You’ve probably heard this before: Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.
Choosing to be vegan often involves us making unconventional choices in various aspects of our lives, and being Vegan specifically implies that our moral and ethical concerns for animals are beyond the effects of our dietary choices.
I want to focus on areas where people, including vegans, commonly have indifference to the suffering of other animals. This is on the effects of our lives on free living animals, or rather the wild animals, through consuming more than we need.
Cruelty is defined as when we have pleasure or indifference in causing physical or mental harm to another.
We know Veganism involves looking deeper into all aspects of the way we live and seeing whether our choices harm or kill other animals.
But so many of us are unaware of what is happening to animals in the world to support our consumer habits.
Vegans, who mostly are living in the economically rich countries, have knowledge of what is happening to the creatures being exploited and used in different ways by people.
However the big gap in our knowledge as vegans is of what is happening to the wild and free creatures as a result of how most of us live, with our largely above world average consumption levels.
For example, if a person has enough money to have a second brand new home in a warm climate where land prices are less than here; do they consider those animals that were already living on the land before the house was built? Before the bulldozers went in?
Do they consider the creatures that fed from that land or passed through it?
Or do they only focus on having that place for themselves, thinking of their own well being? Their own happiness at seeing different flora and fauna in the area, and meeting people of a different culture.
Do we need so much of what we have and to do so much of what we do when the results are harming other creature’s lives?
We can look at so many aspects of our lives in which we consume more than we need, and see the harm we cause to other creatures homes and habitats unnecessarily.
As Vegans we reduce consumption or harm levels regarding food but the vast majority of us are still consuming, harming and polluting in all other aspects of their lives; far more than the average Indian, African or South American that eats a non vegan diet.
When consumption happens beyond needs animals lives are harmed unnecessarily.
I understand that for many focusing on dietary changes in their lives is the first big step they make in living with more conscientious compassionate choices-it was for me.
Since the beginning of the industrial revolution people in the so called rich countries have been supported and encouraged more and more to consume more and more in all areas of their lives.
Vegans have made a big difference in reducing their toll on the planet by choosing to eat a vegan diet; as we take up less of the earth for farming of our food.
Many non vegan people have moved to so called sustainable simple living practices in other aspects of their lives. They are taking their first steps to make more compassionate choices for the rest of the world and her creatures.
But yes, they are missing a very large part, their diet.
However they are addressing so many other aspects of their lives which are causing harm to animals on earth.
All of us here wish to avoid harming and killing animals; we also want pleasure and have preferences and habits. We encourage others to make behavioural changes, and if we don’t look at our own behaviour patterns as well are we being fair?
We are all at different places along the vegan path.
And change is certainly harder for some more than others, depending on the individual and their circumstances.
Caring for the earth and all her inhabitants is not done by satisfying all of our desires, and also truly caring for ourselves is not done by satisfying all of our desires.
I know much killing of wild animals and destruction of their habitats and homes is done to support the farming of animals. So much is also done for things seen as normal and OK for many vegans, such as using cars and planes, larger than needed housing, production of more stuff than we need, recreational drugs and drinks. All of these things need the acquisition of land and have a toll on the lives of wild creatures.
Pollution from manufacturing industries, travel, energy production, farming and mining all cause a terrible loss of life in rivers and oceans and poison those on land too.
When we pollute the air we pollute the air all the other creatures breathe as well. When we pollute the water we pollute the water other creatures drink too and the home of many. When we pollute the earth we pollute the earth that feeds other creatures and that is the home to many.
This is a reason why choosing to live simply is a way to share the earth.
As we consume more than we need in all aspects of our lives, we take land away from other creatures, we are dominating land more than we need to; and I ask you to all think about if that is vegan?
Choosing to live simply is a way to share the earth rather than costing the earth.
I will not say that when we consume more than we need we are not vegan as most of us are born into a culture of consumerism and it’s not one easy step out of this.
I will say that as we consume more and more beyond our needs we are being less vegan.
Making choices for living more simply and consuming less in all areas of our lives is often seen as going without, as depriving ourselves, just as many people see a vegan diet as depriving ourselves-which is not true.
Through living simply we can experience enriched community and sharing. We can have more intimacy in all aspects of our lives, and feel more content and peaceful.
Living simply as an aspect of Veganism is a valuable practice in itself, just as it is to choose a vegan diet.
In choosing to live simply we can connect with the satisfaction of meeting our needs and avoid harming animal lives.
It is both possible and practicable and is part of keeping the earth wonderfully beautiful with her creatures and life.
At this time there are relatively few vegans who practice voluntary simple living; many think they have already reached the finishing line as regards to right action concerning animals, as do many lacto ovo vegetarians.
Now we are in a time when so many long term lacto ovo vegetarians are choosing a vegan diet, and now committed vegans will explore further ways to make compassionate choices.
Many of the reasons people give for not living more simply are based on fear of being different, isolated, alienated, judged, not having faith that we will be happy and well and that it will be too much like hard work.
These sound like the reasons people give for not being vegan too.
Yes, we can suggest people watch the film Earthlings which shows graphic footage of all the ways in which humans exploit animals for food, clothing, entertainment and medical tests.
What it does not show is how our excessive consumption is costing the lives and homes of billions of animals worldwide, through the destruction and pollution of their habitats.
I would like to share some ideas for living more simply which will result in killing and harming less animals, that can reduce the destruction and polluting of their homes on earth.
They are not in order of importance, as some people do much more of one than the other.
I will keep these very simple.
Share more when we can of our homes, possessions, vehicles, food and gardens.
Stop driving cars, or reduce greatly our use of them, by walking, riding a bike or using public transport.
Introduce less plastic in the world by trying to avoid buying it in all the different ways people do.
Introduce less toxic substances into the world by not buying the things that have them in. This is just about everything in terms of stuff, so buy less of it or virtually nothing. Some of more toxic objects are as far as I know are mobile phones and computers and these have short lifespans in our society of consumerism.
Share time with dear ones.
Consider the methods we use for long distance travel and the importance to us of our journeys and the cost to the world.
Practice skills of mending, making and re-purposing to avoid buying new stuff, these skills have died out so much.
If you need to get something check out freecycle groups on the internet and other sites for trading, and giving away unwanted stuff.
And Grow food not lawns.
There’s lots more really important things that I have not mentioned here, and as far as I know we have richer lives when we make choices to live with more care and love of others on the earth.
Here is a link to a Facebook Group, that jamshed is an integral part of, called “We Share the Earth” —->>
Below is a photo of jamshed at the 2017 Climate Walk in Portland, Oregon with a sign that shares a message about living simply, so that we all may simply live!