A New Circle of Life

Holocaust on a Conveyor Belt – Assembly Line of Death From the film SAMSARA

This sequence is so much more than something about the treatment of animals or the agriculture industry, and I want to point out that you should watch until the end.

Our Current Circle of Life

Our society is entrapped in many systems hidden and forbidden from view.  As consumers within these hidden and forbidden systems, we typically fail to realize how our actions, livelihoods, and morality are inextricably bound to them. To become more responsible as consumers within our global society, we need to become conscious and morally culpable within the full spectrum of these systems — the creation, distribution, consumption, and destruction of everything within our lives.

Individual Awareness

We need to investigate the systems that are already open and demand openness in the systems that are hidden and/or forbidden. For food systems, observational questions into these systems can look like:

  • Creation: Is our food organic or free-range? Are animals treated fairly and properly fed?
  • Distribution: What are the energy requirements of our food transportation and can we produce this locally? Is there equality in healthy food distribution and how can we prevent food deserts?
  • Consumption: What are the impacts on our health from consuming this?
  • Destruction: How do we manage excess food and waste?

But on top of these questions, we need to ask who controls or regulates these systems.

  • Creation: Who is policing animal treatment? What restrictions prevent effective policing? (Think of things like “Ag-Gag Bills“)
  • Distribution: Who can change regulations and zoning restrictions to encourage a more egalitarian distribution of food? Who influences our understanding of where are food comes from?
  • Consumption: Who is making sure this is healthy for our consumption? How do we prevent vested lobby interets from effecting their own regulation?
  • Destruction: Who is capable of changing food excess/waste into a solution for feeding the hungry, biofuel creation, or the production of compost?

Individual Participation

As individuals we need to become more active in the systems we are able to access. I am not just a media consumer, but also a media producer and distributor. I do not just use (consume) technology, but strive to become active in building/re-building, re-distributing, and responsible destruction of my technologies.

Similarly with my food, I have grown some of my own food to be able to reduce my dependency on systems largely out of my direct control. I have been active in re-distributing food both by food donations/collections and by trying to include “dumpster food” in my diet when available. As for food waste, my friends know I am likely to eat almost anything rather than toss it, and typically collect compost waste of organic materials/food.

As we become active participants within the systems, we undermine unjust controls on the system. And as we become more active in the controls of our systems, we can make the direct changes needed for a better global society.

And Collective Action

This is not an just immense individual burden to become aware and active in the all of the uncountable systems within our society, but rather a challenge to use collective actions and new technologies to demand systematic transparency/access and accountability. Only through collective organizing we can completely recreate the systems and controls.

For Total System Change

An attempt change any one part of a system will fail without effective change in all other aspects of the system. For example, we cannot demand effective change for massive chicken factory-farming until we decentralize chicken farming, modify transportation systems, change our consumption and demand of chicken products, and investigate waste products/byproducts of the entire system.

You can burn down a factory in protest of factory workers’ working conditions, but until we recreate our societal system that demands factories and factory labor, yet another factory will be built in the ashes and rubble.

And a New Circle of Life

As every individual existence is forever connected and dependent on our collective existence, and our collective existence is connected to the entirety of the systems we create, when we consciously change our systems around us we become the ones to recreate our lives.