- "All Things Are Connected," the concluding chapter to John Robbins' Pulitzer Prize nominated Diet for a New America (1987), begins with a quote from (reincarnationist) Christian mystic Edgar Cayce:Dave Gardner distributes Endangered Species Condoms, in conjunction with the Center for Biological Diversity.On USENET in either 1987 or 1988, I pointed out via e-mail to a pro-life student John Morrow at Rutgers University in New Jersey that we never see anti-abortionists distributing condoms on campuses, in order to bring down the abortion rate (what to speak of addressing the threat of "overpopulation"!).The pro-life response? In 1990, CNN ran a news story about "entertainers" distributing condoms on campuses!This led me to conclude that pro-lifers, thinking themselves as "sexually liberated" as pro-choicers; enjoying the past five hundred years of secular social progress, all of which goes against the Bible; thinking themselves smugly superior to the Arab world when it comes to women's rights; deriding followers of Eastern religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism), where traditionally marriages are arranged and there isn't supposed to be any dating or boyfriends or girlfriends) find it impossible themselves to be open and honest about contraception and oral sex!Distributing condoms is fine, but the real cause of environmental destruction is not "overpopulation," but overconsumption: our meat-centered diet.It makes sense to eat lower on the food chain! Dudley Giehl writes in his 1979 book, Vegetarianism: A Way of Life:"The pacific sardine lives along the coasts of North America from Alaska to southern California. Sardines, once a major part of the California fishing industry, are now considered to be 'commercially extinct.' Another species classified as 'commercially extinct' is the New England haddock. Ecologists have also been concerned about the significant reduction in finfish, the Atlantic bluefin tuna, Lake Erie cisco, and blackfins that inhabit Lakes Huron and Michigan."Over 200,000 porpoises are killed every year by fishermen seeking tuna in the Pacific. Sea turtles are similarly killed in Caribbean shrimp operations. Some animals are killed because, as carnivores, they compete with the human predator for the right to kill other animals for food, including wild game and domesticated species raised by livestock ranchers. Alaskan hunters are eager to reduce the wolf population in their state because this animal is a predator of moose."Cougars, coyotes and wolves are considered a menace to the cattle and sheep industries, and livestock ranchers have engaged in a large-scale campaign to exterminate them. Two species of wolves are now endangered, and very few wolves can be found in the United States except in Alaska and northeastern Minnesota. The relatively small number of eagles in the U.S. is largely due to the destruction of this species by livestock ranchers, particularly those in the sheep business."Herbivorous animals that inhabit rangeland areas are also killed by the livestock industry because they compete with cattle and sheep for food. Large numbers of kangaroos are being exterminated in Australia, while in the United States livestock ranchers seek to destroy wild horses, wild burros, deer, elk, antelope and prairie dogs.""All Things Are Connected," the concluding chapter to John Robbins' Pulitzer Prize nominated Diet for a New America (1987), begins with a quote from (reincarnationist) Christian mystic Edgar Cayce:
"Destiny, or karma, depends upon what the soul has done about what it has become aware of."
Vegan author John Robbins provides these points and facts in his Pulitzer Prize nominated Diet for a New America (1987):Half the water consumed in the U.S. irrigates land growing feed and fodder for livestock. The water that goes into a 1,000 lb. steer could float a destroyer. It takes 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat, but 2,500 gallons to produce a pound of meat. If these costs weren't subsidized by the American taxpayers, the cheapest hamburger meat would be $35 per pound!
Subsidizing the California livestock industry costs taxpayers $24 billion annually. Livestock producers are California's biggest consumers of water. Every tax dollar the state doles out to livestock producers costs taxpayers over seven dollars in lost wages, higher living costs and reduced business income. Seventeen western states have enough water supplies to support economies and populations twice as large as the present.
Meat producers, the number one industrial polluters in our nation, contribute to half the water pollution in the United States. Huge amounts of water wash away livestock excrement. U.S. livestock produce twenty times as much excrement as the entire human population, creating sewage which is ten to several hundred times as concentrated as raw domestic sewage. Animal wastes cause thrice as much water pollution than does the U.S. human population; the meat industry causes thrice as much harmful organic water pollution than the rest of the nation's industries combined.Conservatives, dismissing any moral duties toward animals because our relationship with other species (domesticated and wild) is partly an environmental ethics issue, fail to consider that by purchasing products from the factory farms, they, too, are responsible for the air and water pollution, energy costs, etc. we taxpayers all face, and they, too, must be held accountable!
Overgrazing of cattle leads to topsoil erosion, turning once-arable land into desert. We lose four million acres of topsoil each year and 85 percent of this loss is directly caused by raising livestock. To replace the soil we've lost, we're destroying our forests. Since 1967, the rate of deforestation in the U.S. has been one acre every five seconds. For each acre cleared in urbanization, seven are cleared for grazing or growing livestock feed.
One-third of all raw materials in the U.S. are consumed by the livestock industry and it takes thrice as much fossil fuel energy to produce meat than it does to produce plant foods. A report on the energy crisis in Scientific American warned: "The trends in meat consumption and energy consumption are on a collision course."
Nor can fish provide any help here, notes Keith Akers in A Vegetarian Sourcebook (1983). There are signs that the fishing industry (which is quite energy-intensive) has already overfished the oceans in several areas. And fish could never play a major role in the worlds diet anyway: the entire global fish catch of the world, if divided among all the world's inhabitants would amount to only a few ounces of fish per person per week.
The American Dietetic Association reports that throughout history, humans have lived on "vegetarian or near vegetarian diets,"; meat has traditionally been a luxury. Nathan Pritikin, author of The Pritikin Plan, recommended not more than three ounces of animal protein per day; three ounces per week for his patients that already suffered a heart attack.
Providing the entire world with a meat-centered diet is absurd. But what about providing only the affluent with a meat-centered diet?According to Keith Akers in A Vegetarian Sourcebook (1983), if the world population triples in the coming one hundred years, and meat consumption continues, then meat production would have to triple as well. Instead of 3.7 billion acres of cropland and 7.5 billion acres of grazing land, we would require 11.1 billion acres of cropland and 22.5 billion acres of grazing land.
But this is slightly larger than the total land area of the six inhabited continents! We are desperately short of forests, water and energy already. Even if we resort to extreme methods of population control: abortion, infanticide, genocide, etc...modest increases in the world population would make it impossible to maintain current levels of meat consumption. On a vegan diet, however, the world could easily support a population several times its present size. The world's cattle alone consume enough to feed 8.7 billion humans.Opponents of global warming, global hunger; the energy, environmental, population and water crises aren't offended when told veganism is the solution to each of their respective crises...according to the law of karma, our killing of animals causes these self-inflicted wounds. Neither should our friends in the peace and pro-life movements take offense when told, "Here's the solution."According to the editors of World Watch, July/August 2004:"The human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future--deforestization, topsoil erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities and the spread of disease."
"Destiny, or karma, depends upon what the soul has done about what it has become aware of."
John Robbins reiterates his secular data with spiritual eloquence:
"At the present time, when most of us sit down to eat, we aren't very aware of how our food choices affect the world. We don't realize that in every Big Mac there is a piece of the tropical rainforests, and with every billion burgers sold another hundred species become extinct."We don't realize that in the sizzle of our steaks there is the suffering of animals, the mining of our topsoil, the slashing of our forests, the harming of our economy, and the eroding of our health. We don't hear in the sizzle the cry of the hungry millions who might otherwise be fed. We don't see the toxic poisons (pesticides) accumulating in the food chains, poisoning our children and our earth for generations to come.
"But once we become aware of the impact of our food choices, we can never really forget. Of course, we can push it all to the back of our minds, and we may need to do this, at times, to endure the enormity of what is involved.
"But the earth itself will remind us, as will our children, and the animals and the forests and the sky and the rivers, that we are part of this earth, and it is part of us. All things are deeply connected, and so the choices we make in our daily lives have enormous influence, not only on our own health and vitality, but also on the lives of other beings, and indeed on the destiny of life on earth.
"Thankfully, we have cause to be grateful--what's best for us personally is also best for other forms of life, and for the life support systems on which we all depend.
"The Indians who dwelt for countless centuries in what we now call the United States lived in harmony with the land and with nature. Their societies were each unique, yet all were founded on a reverence for life that conserved nature rather than destroying it, and which lived in balance with what we today call the ecosystem. To them, it was all the work of God. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every humming insect was holy.
"When the white man forced them to make the ultimate sacrifice and sell their land, the great Chief Seattle spoke for his people and asked one thing in return. He did not ask something for himself, nor for his tribe, nor even for the Indian people. There were, of course, many things of immense importance he must have wanted at such a time. He could have asked for more blankets, horses, or food."He could have asked that the ancestral burial grounds be respected. He could have asked many things for himself or for his people. But what stood above all else in importance had to do with the relationship between humans and other animals. His one request was as prophetic as it was plain:
"I will make one condition.
The white man must treat the beasts of this land
as his brothers.
For whatever happens to the beasts
soon happens to man.
All things are connected."
"Chief Seattle spoke for a people whose bond with the natural world was unimaginably profound. Yet the white man called them savages, and utterly disregarded his plea. The factory farms that produce today's meats, dairy products and eggs are living testimony to how totally we have disdained the one condition he made.
"The white man thought Chief Seattle an ignorant savage. But he was a prophet whose wisdom and eloquence arose from living contact with Creation. And his words are astoundingly similar to those of a book written long, long ago. The Bible, too, tells us the fates of humans and animals are intimately intertwined.
"For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth the beasts.
Even one thing befalleth them:
as the one dieth, so dieth the other;
yea they have all one breath,
so that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast.
"Chief Seattle did not know that centuries before a book called the Bible had spoken in words almost identical to his own. But he spoke on behalf of life itself, and the wisdom of the ages poured through him. Today, when we have strayed so very far from an ethical relationship to other creatures and to the welfare of the world we share, his message remains with us as a light of immeasurable brilliance. Never before has the truth of his words been so apparent:
"One thing we know;
Our God is the same,
This earth is precious to Him...
This we know:
The earth does not belong to man:
Man belongs to the earth.
This we know:
All things are connected
Like the blood which unites one family.
All things are connected.
Whatever befalls the earth
Befalls the sons of the earth.
Man did not weave the web of life.
He is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web,
He does to himself."