Thursday, March 17, 2011


“I can’t believe it!”  “I don’t understand this.”  “It makes no sense.” 
These are the types of comments I heard all week while in the Midwest for my father's surgery.  While there, one of my folk’s best friends (relatively young woman) died of heart failure, my mother’s sister was diagnosed with colon cancer and Tokyo was slammed with a historical earthquake.  The day after my father’s surgery, I offered to make a (vegan) meal for him and some other relatives and the relatives chose to bring three types of meat rather than take a chance on what I was making.

Believe it or not, all of the scenarios above are connected.
They are linked by our choices as humans and the consequences of these choices. 
Tokyo’s earthquake does make sense when you see it through the lens of cause and effect. The regularity of unusual and extreme weather is the kind of climate change we have been warned about for many years.  Climate change is not just happening to us, we are creating it. 
The diseases that are plaguing humans are, in most cases, not just happening to them.  Our culture and individual choices have created many of them. 

The choices we made and are making are showing up as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer and other “epidemics”.  Our choices have brought us to the point where pharmaceuticals companies are happily marketing  to people of all ages.  Most people are choosing to take pills rather than make lifestyle changes.
The majority of people dealing with health issues, from diabetes to heart disease, cancer and strokes are, in most cases, dealing with preventable diseases.   While it is true that some people are predisposed to certain diseases, they can choose a healthy lifestyle that will increase their chances of beating the odds.  We are not trained from a young age to take responsibility for our own health. 

Animal agriculture is the number one contributor to human induced global warming.   When we make choices that contribute to our declining health or the destruction of our once healthy environment, most people hope that some expert will come along and save the day…clean up the mess that we have created.  Most people do not decide that they will look at their part in the situation and take responsibility.

In response to major environmental or health crisis , when I hear the comment “I can’t believe it!”  I think, “I totally believe it.” When I hear “It makes no sense”, I think, “It makes total sense.” 
What does not make sense to me are the times when we have the information to choose differently and do not do it. 

We humans have a hard time taking responsibility for what we have created.  One of the most mature responses to a conflict between you and another person is to admit your part in the situation and do things differently at the next opportunity.  The same is true when it comes to our response to the current environmental crisis or a personal health crisis.  The most mature response would be to admit our part and do things differently...whenever possible....beginning NOW. 

Here at our solar rv park, there are people who are starting to take responsibility for their own health by learning about healthy plant-based nutrition.  We taught a well-attended Vegan 101 class here yesterday. 

I want to be sympathetic and caring with those around me who are dealing with health issues.  And I have to admit that it is not always easy when I am standing face to face with a neighbor who recently had a stroke and he is grilling cheeseburgers or another neighbor who has heart disease but says to me: "I could never give up meat."

And, JC and I continue, as we have done for decades now. We share the information with those who are open minded and open hearted enough to hear it……we plant the seeds and hope that they find fertile ground to grow in. 

May we all find the strength to care for ourselves and the compassion to care for the earth and all life.

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