I sit now, reflecting on myself. Am I living in integrity? I am being my word?
I have spent the beginning of this week doing vegan outreach at my university. With a fellow animal advocate we have had a Pay Per View booth (see: http://www.mercyforanimals.org/paid-per-view.aspx).
Across from our booth was the SFU Lifeline Club, the pro-life (and quick to mention anti-abortion) club on campus. When speaking with the students at the booth I really began to question myself on this issue. I began to question myself in general.
For many years I have not even admitted that I ever enjoyed the taste of meat. “It is the spices and seasons that made it taste good” I would say. Much like the defenses that carnist ideology brings up…
“to eat the body of another sentient being, we have to block our awareness and shut down our empathy.” – Melanie Joy via http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=7vWbV9FPo_Q#!
I would deny and put up a “vegan wall” against animal products. I think in some ways I have to. I have to put up a wall and “imagine”, forcing myself to remember the torture and pain that animals experience, the ill-health effects of animal products, and the environmental degradation… it is a mental exercise (though admittedly, it has gotten easier and become more of an unconscious thing that I no longer have to work at as actively as when I first went vegan).
Though non-vegans also practice a similar tactic (I believe) to avoid thinking about where their meat comes from, I feel as if i am acting a bit defensively. Perhaps I am in denial about what “tastes good” to me in order to do what I think is right.
These are the places I feel out of integrity:
Fair Trade – When cocoa or cacao is an ingredient in a (vegan) product I am not always inquisitive as to the source. This also applies to coffee and tea. I don’t drink them very often but I am not always conscious about the source. I think this is an easy thing I can “correct” to try and live more in integrity.
Electronics – Though I have done research on the assembly production of electronics I have bought (I wrote a paper and researched the Foxcon suicides), I have only briefly heard about the minerals and potentially horrible conditions and harvesting of these minerals in third-world countries. This is an issue I have had trouble finding information about and do not have any clear solutions for.
Clothing – Though I have been buying only articles Made in Canada/the USA and well researched companies which do not use sweatshops overseas, I have not been buying exclusively organic cotton and materials free from pesticides and the pollution of conventional cotton production. I did another research project on this industry and I am very ashamed of the production process of many textile products. I suppose I could buy more second hand products. Hmm. I shall consider this further.
Driving – I have been getting rides and driving with friends so often lately. I miss my bicycle commuting, my bold action against the fossil fuel industry.
Abortion – As I outlines in my previous post, I have not given this issue adequate consideration.
Organics – Why am I “die-hard” about the consumption of animals when the use of pesticides and other chemicals is also destructive to the environment, bad for health and kills insects and other species.
Thinking about these issue, I also started to reflect on self-destructive behavior. Where did this idea come from? What is the difference between self-care and self-harm? So many questions…