Monday, January 18, 2010

Thoughts on Avatar


Yesterday, my Tony took me to see Avatar. That movie deserves every bit of praise it gets! I know what you're thinking, what does Avatar have to with being vegan? As I watched, I found several parallels to our treatment of animals and the planet. Sorry in advance, this post is not as lighthearted as usual.

The alien race of Pandora, the Na'vi, live with an immense reverence for their planet and all the creatures on it--I wish we could say the same. Anytime they kill an animal, they say a sort of prayer for it to release its spirit back into the earth. They believe in an interconnected transfer of energy between all living creatures on Pandora. Hmm, that sounds familiar! That sounds like much of what I've been reading about macrobiotics. On Alicia Silverstone's macrobiotic Kind Diet, supposedly you gain a sense of interconnectedness with the world around you. Same with concentrated and continued yoga practice. Maybe it sounds silly, but I believe in these things. I am not yet on a macrobiotic vegan diet, but by simply cutting out meat and dairy and practicing yoga, I do feel a greater sense of being a part of the world around me. And believe me, that came as a huge and welcome change. Before, I always felt like an outsider, looking in on a foreign world. The idea with the Kind Diet is that you put clean, unprocessed (and preferably local) foods in your body, and feel the sustained and calm energy they give you. How beautiful.

No surprises here, the humans came to Pandora to take a precious metal, and the "savage natives" lived on top of it. So what do they do? Bulldoze and burn down sacred forests that helped the Na'vi connect to their planet. They bomb their home and wage war on the natives as a precaution before they can gather and strike back. It's typical. We do it to our own planet. What is the resource in the real world case? Cattle. So we bulldoze rain forests, the lungs of the earth, to give cattle a place to graze. We kill off a myriad of species as we destroy their homes. Not only that, the cattle are given ridiculously small areas to roam (on which the fertile layer of topsoil is ruined so plants can no longer grow; it takes as much as a century to get the topsoil back), they're fed unnatural foods such as corn and dead animals (they eat grass naturally), they're pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones, then they're ushered off to the slaughterhouse at a young age. They aren't treated like animals; they are simply commodities. And what's the point? As far as I'm concerned no animal NEEDS to die for me to live. I don't want that blood on my hands anymore, and that's the initial reason I made the changes I made. Each dead animal is a dead individual that the world can never get back.

I hope we start taking into account the damage we're doing to our planet before it's too late. We need to stop killing billions of animals each year, stop breeding monstrously genetically mutated animals, stop dumping their toxic waste in rivers, stop keeping them in such poor conditions that they're all sickly or injured, stop wasting massive amounts of water for the small profit of a few pounds of meat, stop wasting the majority of our grains on feeding factory animals (it takes an average of 7 lbs of grain to produce 1 lb of meat). It's time to wake up and act more responsibly!

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