Beyond Vegetarian: One Man’s Journey in Search of the Moral Meal

daniel-768x509Photo by Kristine Leuze

Dear Friends,
so many of us, who are on their personal path of awakening to inner truth, have a moment in time when we are struggling with our nutrition. So many concepts, dogmas and illusions are spread around the topic of feeding our body – in an at the same time mind and soul feeding way. Over the last few weeks I had many conversations about what authentic self-nurturing might be our choices of the future. So I found it very interesting to run into this article about the activist Daniel Zetah, and read what path he went.
If you have not heard about him before, after he quit a US government job, Daniel Zetah spent years living in Tasmania as freegan, he was a full-time environmental activist, then a permaculture student, then a natural builder, sailed the seas on an anti-whaling ship that uses direct-action tactics to confront illegal whaling ships (called The Sea Shephed), and played a very active role in Occupy Wallstreet. On his personal journey of awakening including ten years of living vegetarianism, he now is a farmer, a full time … and a big-time carnivore. How it came that
he found his authentic truth in farming and eating his own animals, he shared in an amazing article! I hope you enjoy this extract of the very long piece just as much as I do!
Love, Oneness and Bon Appetit!!
Edith

Would you describe yourself as a long-time farmer and environmental activist?
Not at all. I used to be a redneck. I used to race cars and motorcycles and snowmobiles… I was a motorhead. I don’t want people to think I was always like this, because then they’re like “oh, they were just brought up that way by parents that…” it’s like no, no: I was raised by wolves. Until I was in my early 20s I ate nothing but crap. Like, garbage, American supermarket food. When I would go shopping, I was literally after the cheapest calories I could possibly find at the supermarket.hobart-300x225When did that start to change?
Well, I met a girl that I ended up getting married to and she was vegetarian, and so I started eating a vegetarian diet. Which is still completely disconnected and completely clueless as to what your eating and where it’s from, it’s just you’re not eating meat. I ate tons of grain, lots of dairy and cheese, even eggs, but just no meat… And that’s where I was at for probably a good eight years, until my early 30s.
But then I met a guy in Tasmania that basically just said “Dude, what are you doing?” and kind of told me in a very blunt manner that my actions did not match my rhetoric in a lot of areas of my life, including my dietary choices. His words were as sensitive as a sledge hammer but I couldn’t refute what he was saying. It was tough… but, like…
A lot of people, when you tell them a truth that goes against their reality, they get pissed off, because their egos can’t handle it, and so they want to dismiss what the person said… but I couldn’t do that in this situation. I was just clueless and when this guy gave me a clue, I couldn’t return to being clueless. So at that point, I started looking at labels of everything that I was eating. It’s like, ‘whoa okay, so now I’ve got to worry about this and this and this… ‘ and it was a rabbit hole. The more I learned about what was actually destructive to the environment or my body, the more I had to look for on labels, and after a time I couldn’t actually shop at the supermarket anymore because there was nothing I could eat there in good conscience, and then I started shopping at the food co-ops, and then I ended up as a two-year freegan – freeganism.

What were you doing at the time?
I had quit my job working for the state government as an auditor/prosecutor for chemical spraying operations in Tasmania and had become a full-time environmental activist, because when I started going down this rabbit hole and learning more about peak oil and climate change I was like, ‘oh God!’ Here I was, just a couple of years ago being completely clueless, and then this guy told me this stuff, and now I have the responsibility of the world on my shoulders, to tell everybody what I know, and I just thought at the time that it was literally a lack of awareness by people, and that if people like me would just get out and talk enough that it would all be okay, but I had no idea that it wasn’t a lack of information, it was just a lack of willingness to change.
The original article continues here with the next tree steps of Daniel Zetah’s journey: read here the full article!imageslAnd that set you down the path towards raising livestock?
Well I guess that path led to learning more and more and more, and realizing, that while there is no hard rule for what a human being should eat, or what the perfect diet is, in terms of minimizing suffering of other beings, there is an ideal diet for each region and each situation, and where I chose to farm, which is south-central Minnesota, well that bioregion was a tall-grass prairie/ oak savanna biome, and that oak savanna biome evolved over hundreds of thousands of years with grazing animals as an integral part in it. And so I realized that I wanted to gain as many of my calories from that perennial ecosystem as possible, and in this biome, I can do that with some vegetables that we grow in a diverse garden; wild edibles like wild greens, berries, nuts, fruit; and with meat!
Again the original article is much longer here!And what I want to see is systems that are going to mimic natural systems and be good for everything, not just the humans or the domesticated animals, but the wild species as well. I want to see food that is grown in those systems in harmony with an intact ecosystem. I’ve traveled enough and seen enough things grown around the world to know that even organic food, most of it, 99% of it, is grown in monocultures. Go out to California and see the organic almond orchards that go for miles and miles with not one other species in the mix. It’s just those trees, there’s no biodiversity at all, all of the native animals are gone, because all of their habitat is gone. That’s not sustainable, that is not ethical, it’s just bad. But because technically they’re not spraying toxins…

Original by @Dustin_Michels. This interview was conducted August 1, 2015. Daniel and Stephanie are now kicking off their new life in Lorinna, Tasmania. You can learn more and connect with them online at newstoryfarm.com. And you can check out their new project at facebook.com/ResiliencySchool/.

If you enjoy my posts and desire to sign up for the daily newsletter, you find a button on the right bar of my page. Please also like New Beginnings Guatemala on Facebook, and keep up the good work spreading the word ;-)! Feel INVITED to share this post also on your website or social media, just keep the links and credit active PLEASE! THANKS!

The Spiritual Side of Environmentalism

abDear Friends,
I absolutely love this beautiful article. Indeed I think it is a masterpiece to understand, that an authentic expression of spirituality – naturally leads to the need for a renewed, deeper and more tuned-in relationship with nature and mother earth. And to me this lines confirm, that Indigo Children, Crystal Children and Empath are our natural leader in the movement towards positive spiritual activism, as they suffer with the environment and earth abuses – just as much as they suffer with the human beings and animals, who get harmed  in this world. My personal experience is just as the divine / hermetic Law of Correspondence states – ABOVE AS BELOW – the more my higher-self is guiding me, the deeper I desire to dig into the blessings Mother Earth is providing and spend time in profound connection with her funny spirits!
Hope your activism is inflamed already! And that you are burning from within, for the preservation and sustainability of the mutual ground we stand on!!!
Love and Blessings to you!!
Edith
When we think of spirituality, it is often in terms of a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves or a search for meaning in life. Some people may associate spirituality with going to church or temple, praying, meditating, fasting, attending spiritual retreats, making a spiritual pilgrimage, or spending time in nature. Most would agree that essentially all widely-accepted forms of spirituality are centered around love, compassion and caring for others, developing a connection to the source of life, and living in an ethical and moral manner.

Spirituality and Environmentalism

If we accept that spirituality compels us toward love, compassion, and ethical ways of living, then spirituality necessarily leads us toward a moral imperative to take better care of the Earth than we are now doing as a global society. All living beings are inextricably connected to the Earth. We are made of her elements and minerals. We emerge from her at birth; we eat the food and drink the water that she provides; and at the end of life, we become a part of her once again. As humans, we also intrinsically rely on far deeper aspects of our relationship with nature, such as our need for creative inspiration, peace and tranquility, and a deep inter-connectedness to the energy and vibration of all life on the planet.
The Earth is a complex and intricate web. When we negatively impact our planet, we harm all beings who depend on her for life. Likewise, when we hurt people, plants, or animals, we damage the Earth as well. If we look within, we are sure to find a longing in our hearts to protect the Earth herself from suffering and sadness, to create a world in which we can each pursue our dreams and aspirations without harming the one planet that supports the type of life that we love and treasure.

ahWhat Are We Doing to Ourselves?

When we reflect on the need for meetings such as the COP 21 conference or initiatives such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we automatically enter into a moral and spiritual discussion, due to the gravity of our current situation. Even the UN officials and many world leaders seem to be speaking in spiritual terms at times, as they express their concern over the environmental crisis. This is because global warming is not simply causing unusual weather patterns and hotter summers. The impacts from climate change are much more severe and life-threatening, and much more immediate, than we can tell by looking out of our own windows.
Global warming is cutting off large populations of people from their traditional modes of subsistence, rendering them unable to feed themselves or their children. It is causing the unchecked spread of diseases such as malaria. It is decimating species at the fastest rates the Earth has experienced since before humans emerged on the planet. It is causing untold suffering for people and animals in polar regions, rain-forests, and other delicate ecosystems, where the rapid environmental changes are decimating their way of life. Our modern society based on endless consumption, which is the primary cause of global warming, has other harmful side effects which also bring ethics into the picture:

Our world leaders, particularly those participating in the ongoing United Nations climate discussions leading up to COP 21, are faced with a question that seems nearly impossible to answer:
Now that we are so deeply entrenched in this way of living, what can we do to turn things around?

abaPolitical Initiatives With a Spiritual Basis

World leaders are spurring political action on many fronts that is increasingly aligned with spiritual and ethical goals as a path to environmental sustainability: The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals include objectives inspired by spiritual and ethical tenets such as ending poverty, promoting gender equality, protecting the oceans, ensuring sustainable food production, and protecting forests and biodiversity. To protect indigenous groups that have been harmed by oil drilling and climate change, indigenous pavilions and Rights of Nature tribunals will occur at the COP 21 meetings in Paris in December 2015. The Earth and its vital ecosystems are beginning to receive the respect and legal protection that was previously reserved for humans. For example, in New Zealand earlier this year, a river was legally granted the rights of personhood.

Taking Individual Action Based on Spirituality

An over-dependence on logic, technology, and economics got us into this mess. So it makes heart sense—soul sense—that spirituality, intuition, and reconnecting with nature may be the only way out. Let us consider a new definition of spirituality. Spirituality as our system of deeply-held beliefs that allow us to go beyond politics, beyond economics, beyond societal norms in order to make decisions for the common good of all beings. Beliefs that connect us to the very heart of who we are and what we know is most important. Although it may be difficult, we can rise above materialism and societal norms when we know it is the right thing to do. When we recognize that we are harming each other, that our everyday actions are depleting the resources of Mother Earth who gave us life, that by accepting the modern dream of materialism and consumption we are reducing the possibilities for future generations to thrive and pursue their own dreams …HumanTreeWhen we accept these truths into our hearts and allow our true nature to respond with full emotion and allow ourselves to feel the longing for a better way of living … Then, at that very moment, our spirituality opens up a new space of clarity within us, where we fully internalize the conviction that each one of us has the universal responsibility to make the world a better place. Then, suddenly, we know what it is that we need to do in the world. How our small, precious set of skills and our unique viewpoint can lend a vital force and power to the vast movement that is occurring in the world at this time.
Every one of us has talents that can make a powerful and positive difference in the world. It may be your beautiful singing voice. It may be your talent for public speaking or your ability to bring together diverse groups of people for a shared goal. Or it may be your knowledge of farming, finance, software development, or manufacturing that can lead to a breakthrough in sustainability. We all have a part to play; it is just a matter of finding your inspiration, and that can only come from the deepest reaches of your heart and soul.

Source: http://www.pachamama.org/blog/the-spiritual-side-of-environmentalism, by

 

Brazil announces massive reforestation and renewable energy plan with US

3500Smoke billows from part of the Amazon rainforest in 2013. The Amazon is being eaten away by deforestation, as areas are burnt by large fires to clear land for agriculture.
Photograph: Nacho Doce/Reuters

President Dilma Rousseff pledged to restore 12m hectares of deforested land and increase renewable energy use by 2030 as part of climate partnership with US.
Barack Obama and Dilma Rousseff put climate change at the top of their agenda at their bilateral meeting on Tuesday, with the US and Brazil agreeing to obtain up to 20% of their electricity from renewable power by 2030.
Brazil also committed to restoring up to 12m hectares of forest – an area about the size of England or Pennsylvania – in another attempt to reduce the carbon pollution that causes climate change.
The White House said the initiatives were part of a new US-Brazil climate partnership, loosely modeled on the historic US-China agreement reached during Obama’s visit to Beijing last November, intended to build momentum for a global deal to fight climate change in Paris at the end of the year.
“Following progress during my trips to China and India, this shows that the world’s major economies can begin to transcend some of the old divides and work together to confront the common challenge that we face,” said Obama at a joint press conference with his Brazilian counterpart.

Rousseff also heralded the agreement as a highlight of her trip, claiming it would help progress towards a global emissions reductions agreement at upcoming talks in Paris.
“Climate change is one of the central challenges of the 21st century,” she said. “And we have one important objective, which is, number one, to ensure that the energy mix in our two countries will have a substantial share of renewable sources of energy.
“As countries that are as vast as continents, we have this very important greenhouse gas emissions target,” added Rousseff. “We attach a great deal of importance to reducing [deforestation].. and we also wish to turn the page and engage in a clear-cut reforestation-oriented policy.”
The pledge will require the US to triple its production of wind and solar power and other renewable energies. Brazil will need to double its production of clean energy. The figures do not include hydro power.“This is a big deal,” Brian Deese, the White House climate adviser, told a call with reporters.

images (1)He said putting climate change at the center of the US-Brazil relationship would help drive action on the issue. “We are shining a spotlight on the issues and elevating the conversation around them,” he said.
Rich and poor countries alike have been putting forth their commitments, known as nationally determined contributions, to reduce emissions as part of the treaty, which world leaders hope to finalise later this year in Paris.
Brazil also plans to expand renewable energy sources other than hydropower to between 28% and 33% of its total energy mix by 2030.
And in the electricity sector, the US and Brazil jointly announced intentions to increase their share of renewable, non-hydropower sources to 20% by 2030. Deese said boosting renewables that high in the US would be dependent on controversial power plant emission limits that the Obama administration has proposed.
“We believe that this is an ambitious target, but one that is actually achievable and will create new low-cost opportunities for the American economy,” Deese said. “To achieve it, we’re going to have to continue to hit our marks in implementing the regulations we’ve identified to date.”

Brazil’s gamble on deep water oil
The US has already announced its full commitment to the climate treaty: a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of up to 28% by 2025, compared with 2005 levels. But a key sticking point in the climate treaty has been whether developing countries like Brazil will be willing to make substantial contributions. Poorer nations have balked, arguing that industrialized nations that have polluted more historically bear more of the responsibility for curbing climate change.
The announcement comes on the second day of Rousseff’s visit to Washington, where she met with Obama in the Oval Office on Tuesday morning.
In their visit, Obama and Rousseff have been working to show they have moved beyond tensions sparked by the revelation nearly two years ago that the US was spying on Rousseff. She cancelled a planned state visit in response. Officials in both countries say neither leader is interested in rehashing the spying issues this week and instead want to focus on ways to deepen cooperation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report
Source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/30/brazil-us-reforestation-forests-renewable-energy?CMP

LAW OF MOTHER EARTH THE RIGHTS OF OUR PLANET A VISION FROM BOLIVIA

Who has a right to life?  Only one species?  Do humans have the right to exterminate any species they want to kill?Today, we are living in the age of the greatest wave of extinctions since the Permian extinction 250 million years ago.
There are those who call this “progress”.  There are others, however, that have a different vision.
Around the world many people are coming to see the present world system as a form of suicidal madness.
In Bolivia there is a government that has a creative vision of life, a vision that goes back to original views of life from ancient times.
Evo Morales, the President of Bolivia, is a controversial person.  We don’t agree with all he says.
However we believe that his vision of the value of life, all life, has merit. 
We believe that we cannot survive on this planet if we fail to see that human life cannot exist outside of nature.
This Bolivian law is a creative vision to put into law a system that preserves the biological foundations of life. 
We don’t endorse all aspects of this law but we do see it as a revolutionary step forward in terms of global thinking

downloadLAW OF THE RIGHTS OF MOTHER EARTH

CHAPTER I
OBJECT AND PRINCIPLES
Article 1. (SCOPE). This Act is intended to recognize the rights of Mother Earth, and the obligations and duties of the Multinational State and society to ensure respect for these rights.
Article 2. (PRINCIPLES). The binding principles that govern this law are:
1. Harmony. Human activities, within the framework of plurality and diversity, should achieve a dynamic balance with the cycles and processes inherent in Mother Earth.
2. Collective good. The interests of society, within the framework of the rights of Mother Earth, prevail in all human activities and any acquired right.
3. Guarantee of the regeneration of Mother Earth. The state, at its various levels, and society, in harmony with the common interest, must ensure the necessary conditions in order that the diverse living systems of Mother Earth may absorb damage, adapt to shocks, and regenerate without significantly altering their structural and functional characteristics, recognizing that living systems are limited in their ability to regenerate, and that humans are limited in their ability to undo their actions.
4. Respect and defend the rights of Mother Earth. The State and any individual or collective person must respect, protect and guarantee the rights of Mother Earth for the well-being of current and future generations.
5. No commercialism. Neither living systems nor processes that sustain them may be commercialized, nor serve anyone’s private property.
6. Multiculturalism. The exercise of the rights of Mother Earth requires the recognition, recovery, respect, protection, and dialogue of the diversity of feelings, values, knowledge, skills, practices, skills, transcendence, transformation, science,
technology and standards, of all the cultures of the world who seek to live in harmony with nature.

imageCHAPTER II
MOTHER EARTH, DEFINITION AND CHARACTER
Article 3. (Mother Earth). Mother Earth is a dynamic living system comprising an indivisible community of all living systems and living organisms, interrelated, interdependent and complementary, which share a common destiny.
Mother Earth is considered sacred, from the worldviews of nations and peasant indigenous peoples.
Article 4. (LIVING SYSTEMS). Living systems are complex and dynamic communities of plants, animals, microorganisms and other beings and their environment, where human communities and the rest of nature interact as a functional unit under the influence of climatic, physiographic, and geological  factors, as well as production practices, Bolivian cultural diversity, and the worldviews of nations,  original indigenous peoples, and intercultural and Afro-Bolivian communities.
Article 5. (LEGAL STATUS OF MOTHER EARTH). For the purpose of protecting and enforcing its rights, Mother Earth takes on the character of collective public interest. Mother Earth and all its components, including human communities, are entitled to all the inherent rights recognized in this Law. The exercise of the rights of Mother Earth will take into account the specificities and particularities of its various components. The rights under this Act shall not limit the existence of other rights of Mother Earth.
Article 6. (EXERCISE OF THE RIGHTS OF THE MOTHER EARTH). All Bolivians, to join the community of beings comprising Mother Earth, exercise rights under this Act, in a way that is consistent with their individual and collective rights. The exercise of individual rights is limited by the exercise of collective rights in the living systems of Mother Earth. Any conflict of rights must be resolved in ways that do not irreversibly affect the functionality of living systems.download (1)CHAPTER III
RIGHTS OF MOTHER EARTH
Article 7. (RIGHTS OF MOTHER EARTH)
I. Mother Earth has the following rights:
1. To life: The right to maintain the integrity of living systems and natural processes that sustain them, and capacities and conditions for regeneration.
2. To the diversity of life: It is the right to preservation of differentiation and variety of beings that make up Mother Earth, without being genetically altered or structurally modified in an artificial way, so that their existence, functioning or future potential would be threatened.
3. To water: The right to preserve the functionality of the water cycle, its existence in the quantity and quality needed to sustain living systems, and its protection from pollution for the reproduction of the life of Mother Earth and all its components.
4. To clean air: The right to preserve the quality and composition of air for sustaining living systems and its protection from pollution, for the reproduction of the life of Mother Earth and all its components.
5. To equilibrium: The right to maintenance or restoration of the interrelationship, interdependence, complementarity and functionality of the components of Mother Earth in a balanced way for the continuation of their cycles and reproduction of their vital processes.
6. To restoration: The right to timely and effective restoration of living systems affected by human activities directly or indirectly.
7. To pollution-free living: The right to the preservation of any of Mother Earth’s components from contamination, as well as toxic and radioactive waste generated by human activities.

CHAPTER IV
STATE OBLIGATIONS AND SOCIETAL DUTIES
Article 8. (OBLIGATIONS OF THE PLURINATIONAL STATE).
The Plurinational State, at all levels and geographical areas and across all authorities and institutions, has the following duties:

1. Develop public policies and systematic actions of prevention, early warning, protection, and precaution in order to prevent  human activities causing the extinction of living populations, the alteration of the cycles and processes that ensure life, or the destruction of livelihoods, including cultural systems that are part of Mother Earth.
2. Develop balanced forms of production and patterns of consumption to satisfy the needs of the Bolivian people to live well, while safeguarding the regenerative capacity and integrity of the cycles, processes and vital balance of Mother Earth.
3. Develop policies to protect Mother Earth from the multinational and international scope of the exploitation of its components, from the commodification of living systems or the processes that support them, and from the structural causes and effects of global climate change.
4. Develop policies to ensure long-term energy sovereignty, increased efficiency and the gradual incorporation of clean and renewable alternative sources into the energy matrix.
5. Demand international recognition of environmental debt through the financing and transfer of clean technologies that are effective and compatible with the rights of Mother Earth, among other mechanisms.
6. Promote peace and the elimination of all nuclear, chemical, and biological arms and weapons of mass destruction.
7. Promote the growth and recognition of rights of Mother Earth in multilateral, regional and bilateral international relations.

Article 9. (DUTIES OF THE PEOPLE)
The duties of natural persons and public or private legal entities:
1. Uphold and respect the rights of Mother Earth.
2. Promote harmony with Mother Earth in all areas of its relationship with other human communities and the rest of nature in living systems.
3. Participate actively, individually or collectively, in generating proposals designed to respect and defend the rights of Mother Earth.
4. Assume production practices and consumer behavior in harmony with the rights of Mother Earth.
5. Ensure the sustainable use of Mother Earth’s components.
6. Report any act that violates the rights of Mother Earth, living systems, and/or their components.
7. Attend the convention of competent authorities or organized civil society to implement measures aimed at preserving and/or protecting Mother Earth.

Article 10. (DEFENSE OF MOTHER EARTH).
Establishing the Office of Mother Earth, whose mission is to ensure the validity, promotion, distribution and compliance of the rights of Mother Earth established in this Act. A special law will establish its structure, function, and attributes.Refer to the Executive Branch for constitutional ends.
It is given in the Assembly Hall of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly, on the seventh day of the month of December two thousand and ten.

Sen. René Oscar Martínez Callahuanca
PRESIDENT
CHAMBER OF SENATORS

Source: http://www.worldfuturefund.org/Projects/Indicators/motherearthbolivia.html