Sunday, December 30, 2012
The media, newspapers, Facebook, twitter, and even conversations have been taken over by the atrocities of the shooting in Connecticut- as they should. We should reel in disbelief, in pain, in grief, in so many emotions, as human kind. The loss of life in such a violent way is and should never be made to be acceptable. As all of these text or personal conversations swirl around my head I can't help but listen to the theme of the outcry to God; 'Why did God let this happen?' 'Why didn't God stop this? Isn't God all-powerful?' I recently read a stream from a friend's Facebook account who publicly (and bravely) stated these questions. In many ways, they should be commended as they basically voiced what much of the world is thinking; how could God allow such an atrocity to happen? I suppose that it is arguably human nature for the believing soul in a higher power to automatically question that higher being and ask these almost rhetorical questions. What I question though, in these instantaneous responses, is whether or not our culture and society has predisposed us to this reaction. I do think that emotional responses are worthy of respect. Everyone is entitled to the way they feel but I do raise the question because I have found that in certain singular catastrophic events in other places around the world, the response is quite different. In some circumstances no blame is laid at all; others the questions are far more introspective. Can this be a useful tool to investigate alternative reactions? One of my own personal reactions to the shootings in Newtown was to question myself and what part I had to do with it. I was most certainly not directly involved, nor indirectly, but perhaps on a larger scale I was somehow interconnected into this web of humans hurting other humans. I had to question myself, how often had I been mean or unkind to another person, how often do I judge or criticize another person, or did I even hold the door open for a stranger at the store the other day. I do not know the state of people I interact with on daily basis. Who could tell me before that the person I cut off in traffic was just coming home from a loved-ones funeral? It is questions like these ones which bring myself into this picture of our interconnectedness as humans. Instead of laying blame, how can we call ourselves into accountability? What can we focus our conversations on now?
Monday, December 3, 2012
The Christian calendar starts just a little bit earlier than the rest of the world. With the coming of the New Year I have been mulling over some thoughts lately. This is nothing new for me but it is one that does require a substantive amount of brain power, which is ironic because I should be using said brain power for my papers and exams. Figures! I have been contemplating my ecological footprint on this earth and trying to think of ways that I might be able to help diminish it a little. I recently became friends with a lady who is an avid vegan. She is very active and certainly broke many of the stereotypes I held of the vegan culture. I spent quite some time interrogating her as to her daily diet, the pros and cons, and her ethical reasons for choosing this lifestyle. I recently read an article that discussed the links between hormone supplements given to animals for slaughtering and the increased risks of cancer. I have also been doing some research into clothing stores that sell ethical clothing. I was both surprised and disheartened. Many of my beloved stores either sold ethically made clothing that costed an arm and a leg, or simply did not. With all these thoughts in my mind, I have been thinking about committing to a year of eating and living as ethically as possible. I know that there are very mixed options on this and I am quite aware that there are certain things that I am simply not able to do. This is not a cop-out but a recognition that I can only do my best; up until this point, I don't think I can say that. Here is what I am proposing to commit: 1) Eat a primarily vegetarian/vegan diet which would include local foods when available. 2) Only purchase fair trade products where available 3) Only purchase ethically made/second-hand 4) Make an intentional effort to travel as ethically as possible So, I am writing this for two reasons. One, to encourage myself to really commit to this and two, to hear your feedback on this. What have been your experiences? I would really like to hear what you have to say.