Letters: 6/6/2019

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Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Choose plants

Have you seen the activists on Pearl Street wearing Guy Fawkes masks and holding television screens? Do you know what they’re doing there? Have you had a chance to talk to them? The television screens are showing the numerous ways we exploit animals in our everyday lives for food, clothing, medical testing and entertainment. The footage comes mostly from organic, free-range farms to dispel the myths that there is such a thing as good farms doing it right.  

Even if you think there are good farms, the reality is 95 percent of animals in the U.S. are raised in factory farms, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Did you check the last time you bought food out or at the grocery store if it came from a factory farm?

Does it matter to you? It matters to those activists, definitely to the animals you are eating and to the planet your children want to inherit.

Have you seen the IPCC report that says we have 12 years to reduce carbon emissions by half to limit the planet from warming greater than 1.5 degrees Celsius and failure to do so will result in food scarcity and mass climate devastation? Have you seen the new IPBES report on biodiversity showing 1 million species are facing extinction? Did you know the biggest way to reduce one’s carbon footprint is to switch to a plant-based diet? Why didn’t you know these things? Don’t they seem important? Think about it. Now stop thinking and please do something about it. You can make an impactful choice three times a day when you choose what’s on your plate. Do it for the animals, the planet, for your health and your kids. Choose plants three times a day, it’s easier than you think and we all make a difference.

Joshua Smith/Boulder

Really, really choose plants

The movement to engage one’s theosophical engagement in sustainable social behaviors is themed around the plausible power in the meshing of neo-sustainability efforts with the gnosis of wisdom traditions (religions) in an effort to invigorate collective and holistic non-toxic ecological praxis.

Well-meaning people sometimes assume that environmental sustainability efforts are innate to the concerns of most wisdom traditions. Therefore, it is often implied that any unsustainable or ecocidal-terroristic acts, of any given wisdom tradition, are the fault of the societal influences the wisdom practice is encompassed by rather than the laissez-faire, spiritual narcissistic, esoteric, non-dualistic or isolationist approaches of some wisdom conventions. The reality may be that a middle-way may exist in which both perspectives hold certain validity.

In our time of collective ecological decay we must hold space for, and thresh out, the discussions and actions regarding the place of wisdom traditions in collaborating and supporting of the eco-sustainability global movements already upon us.

We ought to begin by establishing the relevancy that the teachings explicit to various text-based doctrines of wisdom traditions may hold for environmental critique efforts, initiating wisdom-tradition sponsored sustainability efforts, encouraging eco-friendliness and sustaining sustainability efforts which already have begun. Next we could suggest how one could actualize theistic, panentheistic, philosophical and wisdom ideologies into behaviors which serve to diminish and ultimately abolish ecocide. To conclude we can offer opportunities for people to utilize various wisdom traditions in an effort to actualize a virtuous and sustainable ecology.

For example, one could re-present basic tenants of Tibetan Buddhism in a lens which promotes virtuous sustainability. In foundational Tibetan Buddhist tradition there are certain moral standards which are established for all practitioners of the dharma path. The sacred Buddhist doctrine which expresses the moral standards which are relevant to our ecology (relationship with the biosphere) is the “pañcasila” or the five precepts. The first and second precepts are specifically poignant to the discussion around the Buddhist obligation to certain behaviors which may help to sustain health and life on the planet.

1) Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami: I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.

2) Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami: I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.

The behavioral suggestions of the pañcasila could be put to action on a global scale through individual ethical efforts inspired by one’s wisdom tradition. In the context of Buddhism, one way to respect the first precept would be to minimize one’s intake of meat and try to eat sustainable-sourced, ethically slaughtered and organic livestock, poultry or seafood. One way to abide by the second precept could be to join the anti-fracking efforts and activate against the theft of non-sustainable resources from the environment by supporting the traditional hydro-fracker in finding and securing alternative forms of income to sustain a family. In short, the implications to the sustainability movement which wisdom traditions can serve are great and virtuous. Please intend to continue the necessary work of engaging our community, our faith/spirituality and our culture in the movement to withdraw and allow the earth to save itself (and us!).

Anthony Gallucci/Boulder