My resolutions are usually practical, and should be achievable. Things like
– drink more water
– procrastinate less
– do more yoga
Since the same resolutions show up on my list year after year, clearly I have a lot of work to do on learning how to achieve goals. Yet I’ve gone to college twice, to get two different BS degrees, and have the diplomas to prove it. I guess I can achieve some goals without too much trouble.
Going vegan was easy for me, even though I was expecting it to be a real challenge; like every vegan and non-vegan I’ve ever met, I didn’t think I could give up cheese. Silly. It was one of the easiest things I’ve done. I never saw veganism as a goal, it was bigger than that. It was simply something I had to do. More specifically it was something I had to do once I learned that eggs and dairy were not, as I had assumed, products that didn’t kill animals. Animal products has such a commercial sound to it, doesn’t it?
There is such harm in the production of dairy and eggs that people like Howard Lyman, the former cattle rancher, the mad cowboy, has actually recommended that people wanting to eliminate the most cruelty first should cut out dairy and eggs first, and steaks last. I was already vegan when I heard that, but it was quite a shock, an absolute reversal of how I felt, emotionally, about these various animal “products”. I spent 8 years as a vegetarian, without bothering to educate myself on a single issue, and I thought that was good enough.
Clearly it was not, as I finally realized. Eggs kill. Dairy kills. The cruelty in these industries is almost beyond comprehension.
Going vegan was easy for me. It was just a mind shift. Milk and eggs are no longer food to me; no animal product is. They are not mine to use, to consume. I see that now, but my initial step away from their consumption was the knowledge of the cruelty, that milk was the same as veal, that eggs…well, head to cok’s website to see the realities of eggs. And factory farm or family farm, it is all the same.
It was harder for me to stop focusing on the cruelties to see what was behind it – the commodification of sentient beings. Turning them into factories, existing to produce something that humans decided they wanted. The usurpation of the most basic right – the right to live, and to live free of exploitation, free of the whim and will of others. I had to listen to a lot of people and read a book or two on these subjects to be able to see that the subject of rights was the issue, that property was the structure propping up the cruelty. It isn’t a matter of caring – everyone claims to care about animals. It is a matter of seeing all animals as part of our moral community, not just humans. If everyone agreed that every sentient being had the right to life, and could not be considered property, there would be no animal farming. Period.
So this year I still am resolving to drink more water; I have already started making a habit of this, and will try to increase my intake as time goes on. Hopefully I’ll get better about doing yoga and I’ll get a handle on my procrastination as well.
I am also resolving to educate myself. I will focus primarily on animal rights. I have started already, but there is so much more to be done. Included in the education will be a look at the other -isms that are so connected. Sexism, systemic racism, classism…you name it, there is an -ism out there, and they all feed on each other. They all need to be tackled. They all should be dismantled. I want to take part in that, but first I need to understand the issues on a deeper level. 2007 will be The Year of Books. I should probably add “learn to speed read” to my list of resolutions.