I very much believe in the value of writing letters to newspapers in response to stories their journalists write about animals. Not only does it increase the chances of readers being exposed to a compassionate viewpoint that may not have been reflected in the original article, it also demonstrates to journalists that readers care about -- and want more stories about -- animals. I was thrilled to have a recent letter of mine published in the New York Times in -- of all places -- the Sports section.
"To the Sports Editor:
Re “Two Horses Die After Preakness Undercard Races,” May 22: The lives of these horses, Homeboykris and Pramedya, were as valuable to them as the winning profits are to the bettors and owners, and victories shouldn’t be celebrated where deaths are not mourned.
The weight of a word doesn’t simply lie in its dictionary definition. Words don’t simply have denotations — they also have connotations: a number of associations and attributes that stretch beyond the literal meaning. The word “butcher” has always been associated with the killing and preparing of animals for human consumption, but a new contingency of vegetarian and vegan butchers — who cleave plant fibers rather than animal bones — have claimed this name for themselves.more
I wonder sometimes if things wouldn't be better for animals if we were less captivated by them. In a strange, contradictory way, our fascination with them -- even our appreciation for them -- is what causes us to harm them the most.
We're so attracted to their beauty that we adorn ourselves with their skin, feathers and fur. We're so moved by their intelligence that we force them to perform for us. We're so covetous of their strength that we seek to assimilate it by consuming and ingesting their bits and parts.
We're so intrigued by their very presence that we confine and display them just so we can gawk, observing with amazement how much like us they actually are.
Exhibiting animals -- particularly large, wild, "exotic" animals -- goes back as far as ancient times. These menageries, precursors of modern zoos, tended to be owned by the wealthy, whose human...more
Whether you're interested in a visit to Africa or not, check out this episode that not only provides details about traveling to Rwanda to see the mountain gorillas and Botswana to go on a safari but also offers thoughts on how we need to think about wild places. I also offer tips for using airline miles (rather than dollars) to fly and how to avoid long security and customs lines.
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Journey with me through the Sonoma Wine Country as I share my experience eating vegan food, drinking wine, and talking to a wine-making hunter, who invited me to join him on one of his hunts. In this episode, I offer my thoughts about "vegan wines."
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I'm at work now and it's super hectic (am on a break!) but I made the smart choice of listening to your latest podcast (I've listened to them all and have actually started going through them again the second time!) and I wanted you to know that I had a moment where everything just clicked and made sense:
For years I have been inspired by various spiritual leaders - it really intensified with A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle and the shows he did on the subject with Oprah and currently I'm reading A Return to Love by Marianne Williams.
I didn't necessarily connect the dots between listening to your podcasts and becoming vegan in the process to the fact that I obviously have a need and really want to connect to my true (and compassionate!) self but it is all connected and being vegan is not separate from wanting to become more spiritual - it's all the same thing!
I am SO excited about the May retreat and even more so after listening to your podcast earlier - I believe it was...more
The problems we have in this world are not because we have so much compassion we don’t know what to do with it. The problems we have are because people aren’t living according to their own values of kindness and compassion. What does it mean to live according to compassion? Today I share with you The 10 Principles of Compassion as I see them. Please add your comments below to share your thoughts.
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The well-intentioned rallying cry to “change the world” becomes louder and more hashtag-worthy, especially as Earth Day approaches. A search on Google garners millions of results for articles to help people make a difference:
*10 Things That Even YOU Can Do to Change the World
*30 Things You Can Do to Change the World in 30 Seconds
*50 Ways YOU Can Change the World without Leaving Your Favorite Chair.
The problem is that we're asking the wrong thing of people. It’s not that we CAN change the world. It’s that we ARE changing the world. What we need to do is STOP changing the world -- and change ourselves instead.
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Listen to the podcast by clicking the play button below or by subscribing to the RSS feed or listening through...more
People tend to experience a certain amount of shock at the idea that vegans don’t eat eggs at Easter. The implication is that we can’t eat in such a way that reflects our values of compassion and honors tradition at the same time – as if these two things are mutually exclusive.
The bottom line is our holiday foods and rituals are often symbols for something much deeper. In being attached to the form (turkeys at Thanksgiving, eggs at Eastertime), we risk losing the true meaning of whatever it is we are celebrating or honoring. If we uncover the meanings of these symbols, we find that a plant-based menu better reflects the values and significance of these holidays.
A more authentic and consistent—and compassionate—symbol for spring would be a flower bulb or vegetable seeds or a tree. In fact, they are MORE than just a symbol in that they really do hold (and deliver!) the promise of a flower or vegetables or leaves and fruit. What better way for our children to understand the processes of nature—that with tenderness, attention, and water—there is a beautiful (and even...more