Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Vegan World

A Vegan World

The vegan concept involves more than just eating.  It is all encompassing.  It involves not only people, the planet, and our fellow travelers on Spaceship Earth, but also the broader concepts of Peace, Prosperity, and Social Justice.

We know about the health benefits of a vegan diet as opposed to the meat and dairy based diet in overcoming cancer, heart disease, and diabetes: the main causes of mortality and morbidity of both men and women in the United States.  We of us also know that meat production does more to cause global warming than all of transportation combined.  See for further details.  Many, but not all, people are aware of the horrors of factory farms, and the immense suffering at slaughterhouses by our innocent fellow sentient beings.

I think that the issue goes further than that.  Recently I had the opportunity to moderate a panel at the United Nations Annual Non-Governmental Organization Conference in Mexico City.  Kevin Martin, the founder of Peace Action - the largest grass roots Peace organization in the United States - was one of the panel members.  He referred to ‘peace on all levels’, and I repeated this concept in my closing remarks.

It is my belief that Peace, Prosperity, and Social Justice will be impossible to attain while the results of extreme violence are in the bodies of the world’s population.  Let me explain.

I am a member of Pax Christi, a national and international Christian Peace organization.  At a recent meeting, a book entitled Personal Nonviolence was recommended for the ‘study’ part of our Prayer - Study - Action mandate.  The author is not a vegan, nor does he mention food in his table of contents, which I perused.  Going against the crowd, I refused to read the book on the basis that I personally would prefer to read a book on Personal Nonviolence by someone who was personally nonviolent. 

My decision was met with ridicule, which I should have, but did not, expect.  In response to this, I explained the Digestive System, and how whatever is ingested is broken down by digestive enzymes into smaller and smaller pieces, and finally becomes single molecules which are absorbed directly through the villi of the small intestine into the blood stream.  There it is eventually taken to every cell in the body to provide nourishment.  The end products of violence nourish every cell of the body. How is it possible, under those circumstances, to accomplish something which is totally opposite of what permeates the entire body? 

I sometimes wonder what side God is on.  I often wonder if I am fighting with God Almighty in trying to end the violence and abuse of our fellow creates.  Even if I have to take on Heaven and Earth, I will still do it.  It is too much a part of me to do anything else.

However, I decided to consult the Bible to see What God’s position was on this issue.  This is what I found:

“God said ‘Let us make man in our own image after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds, and all animals, domestic and wild, large and small.”  Genesis 1: 26.  The word ‘dominion’ means ‘to take care of’.  It does not mean to exploit.

“God also said, ‘Look for you, I have provided all kinds of grain and all kinds of fruit for you to eat, but for all the animals and birds, I have provided grass and leafy plants for food.’  Genesis 1: 29-30.  The first humans were also the first vegans.

“What are your endless sacrifices to me?” says Yahweh.  “I am sick of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of calves.  I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, and lambs, and goats.”  Isaiah 1: 11.  In addition, God has told us “To do what is just, to show constant love, and to live in humble fellowship with our God.”  Micah 6: 8.

“God of our ancestors, Lord of Mercy, who by your word have made the universe, and in you wisdom have fitted human beings to rule the creatures that you have made, to govern the world in holiness, and saving justice, and in honesty of soul to dispense fair judgment.”  Wisdom 9: 1-3.  This was the original plan.

God gave Adam one wife, Eve.  David had many wives, a transition from God’s original plan.  As likewise the human race started out as vegans, and transitioned elsewhere.  The compassion and virtues called for in the treatment of God’s creatures has likewise been disregarded.

The vegan lifestyle not only has health benefits, environmental benefits, but also bring us closer to living out God’s original plan for Peace, Justice and Prosperity, which I do not think can happen any other way.

Friday, July 6, 2012

United Nations Convention on Animal Welfare

United Nations Convention on Animal Welfare

It has long been my belief that the important global issues we face, specifically the unsustainability of the meat and dairy based diet, its impact on human health (cancer, diabetes, heart disease), the health of this planet (climate change, pollution), and the welfare of our fellow travelers on spaceship Earth (the animals), needs to be addressed by the United nations in a convention.  A global patchwork quilt approach is not sufficient.

I applaud World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) for helping to put animal welfare on the agenda for the UN Earth Summit (Rio + 20), and for calling on global leaders to recognize the importance and benefits of humane animal farming practices.
Left unchecked, the global demand for meat, eggs, and milk is due to double from 2000 to 2050, and will have a major impact on land and energy use globally.  The seriousness of this situation calls for a major step in addressing this issue.  A UN Convention should be created to insure that all aspects of sustainability are taken into consideration, and that humane treatment is extended to all members of the Earth’s population, including our friends, the animals

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

More Innocent Victims - You Can Help

More Innocent Victims, You Can Help
The United Nations Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons, July 2012 New York

All of us who care about animals and their welfare do so out of personal compassion as well as a sense of justice regarding their abuse and exploitation.  Simply stated, ‘we care’ for the marginalized on this planet.  No one who has compassion for the lowly animals who are unable to speak for, or defend, themselves can fail to be moved by a phenomenon called “child soldiers”.  Just as we feel the need to protect innocent animals, so also are we moved to compassion by innocent children forced against their will to be soldiers.

According to UN statistics, there are several hundred thousand child soldiers in the world today – both boys and girls – on every continent of the globe.  Some are as young as 5 years old.  They are forced to witness murders and rapes, often of their own relatives.    Child soldiers are possible because of the easy availability of small arms and light weapons. 

Small arms and light weapons kill more people than any other weapon for war and were the only weapons used in 47 of 49 conflicts in the 1990’s.  At least 300,000 lives are lost every year to SALW violence, more than 1,000 deaths a day.  Yearly another one million people are injured, often permanently, and countless more are traumatized.

Small arms are designed for one person, and light weapons are designed to be used by a crew of several people.  Small arms include revolvers, self-loading pistols, submachine guns, and light machine guns.  Light weapons include heavy machine guns, portable anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns, and mortars of less than 100 mm calibers, shells, missiles, grenades, and landmines.  

There are currently 640 million guns in the world; eight million more are produce annually.  This is enough to equip one in every ten people on the planet.  Ten to 14 billion rounds of ammunition are produced annually, enough to shoot every person in the world twice.  The majority of guns are in the hands of civilians (60%), outnumbering those held by armed forces and governments.

The widespread availability and misuse of SALW, particularly in regions of internal conflict and civil war, poses a serious threat to regional security and stability, causes human suffering particularly to women and children – the most vulnerable in society, and creates human rights violations such as rape.  SALWs are the main cause of food emergencies, forced displacement, and denial of access to health care, they cause negative economic consequences, as well as making it possible for children to be forced to become child soldiers.  

The United Nations is involved in many different ways in the effort to reduce the proliferation of small arms and their deadly effects. Its  Program of Action includes the International Tracing Instrument and recommendations on arms brokering. According to Amnesty International, there are more regulations on bananas than guns.

The United States is one of the main supply sources for small arms and light weapons.  Although it is unlikely that manufacturers will stop producing them, it is important that safeguards be in place foster accountability.   Tracking is not legally required, but morally imperative, especially when the most vulnerable members of society are at risk as child soldiers. 
Please contact your elected officials to discuss the problem of gun proliferation and suggest that the elected officials sponsor and support weapon tracking programs.  Help keep children from being used as child soldiers.  

The United Nations will hold a Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons from July 2 to July 27, 2012 at the UN Headquarters in New York.   

Friday, April 22, 2011


Happy Passover and Easter!!! Keep those sweets and chocolate bunnies vegan!

Friday, April 1, 2011

What's For Dinner?

What's for dinner? Vegan chili. This is a quick, easy, and delicious recipe. Start cooking rice, if you like rice with your chili. Then cut up and saute an onion in a large pot with a cover. Add Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP) and brown it in the oil and onions. Open, drain and rinse two cans of different beans. Black beans and pinto beans are a good choice, but any two different kinds of beans will do. Add these to the pot. Open a can of tomato sauce (not spaghetti sauce - just plain tomato sauce). Add this to the other ingredients and stir. Now you can get creative. Take any leftover vegetables that you cut up but did not use out of your freezer. They could be peppers, mushrooms, corn, whatever, and add them to the mix. Now you really get creative. Add seasonings - salt and pepper, I prefer freshly ground peppercorns, and unprocessed sea salt, soy sauce (I prefer low sodium), hot sauce, organic blackstrap molasses, and, or course chili. Serve with rice and a salad. Vegan chili is even better the next day after all the flavors have mingled overnight. Enjoy!!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Come For A Visit!

The Raoul Wallenberg Vegan Retreat is an inclusive, affordable retreat and veganic farm offering life style change support for individuals and small groups in the majestic North Carolina mountains. It seeks to make the world a better place by improving human health through education and diet change, as well as improving the changing climate conditions on the planet by discouraging meat and dairy consumption. This has social justice and prospertiy for all implications since the world's resources are squandered on the rich while the world's poor suffer shortages and the devistationg global impact of the meat and dairy based diet. The Retreat seeks to further world peace by promoting peace on all levels starting with showing kindness and compassion to all sentient beings. All are welcome.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What's For Brunch?

Ever wonder what is a quick, easy and vegan favorite food? One of my favorites is Tofu Scramble. It is perfect for a Sunday Brunch, and also makes a good lunch or even dinner. Here it is: Cut up and saute an onion. Cut up and add a green, red and orange or yellow pepper. (You do not have to use all the peppers - freeze some for another time.) Open a package of firm or extra firm tofu, drain and rinse. With your nice, clean hands, squeeze the tofu making it 'crumble'. Add this to the sauteed vegetables just to warm up. Season with salt and pepper. I like freshly ground whole peppercorns and unprocessed sea salt. Then add soy sauce, (I use the low sodium kind), and Louisiana hot sauce. Serve with whole grain toast and vegan butter substitute (Earth balance or Willow Run), and garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro. Delicious!!! Even my non-vegan friends and relatives love this one. Enjoy!!!