If you had told me this morning that today I would watch an interview from Donahue with Lisa Bonet, Raul Julia, and River Phoenix talking about environmentalism, nutrition, and the myriad damaging effects of a meat and dairy obsessed world, I would never have believed you. But here it is:
You can watch the entire thing, and I urge you to do so. John Robbins later joins them, and his name is one I've seen many times when reading about veganism, but I never knew that he was once heir to the Baskin-Robbins corporation and chose to walk away from that once he realized it was a company doing more harm than good. It's so beautiful and inspiring to listen to these humans talk with such passion about taking responsibility for our choices and recognizing the impact each one of us has not only on our own health and our family's health, but on the health of the entire human population and the planet itself.
It's wild to think that this aired over 20 years ago and depressing to think that perhaps our culture has grown even more shallow and superficial since then. It's almost as though, as things started becoming exponentially worse and we became more aware of it, we dug our heads even deeper into the sand to avoid having to confront it. Of course, I'm not completely cynical, and I believe that simultaneously, humans are becoming even more involved and more informed. We seem to be on the line now, between the world of Idiocracy and a world of caring, education, and reform.
I focus on veganism, primarily because the philosophy of nonviolence and compassion is one I feel is in our best interest if we want to continue to evolve, but also because I know that the meat and dairy industries are completely destroying our planet, and people are very unwilling to change their diets, even more so than they seem willing to change how they travel or how much water they use, so I want to be an advocate for that change. I also, of course, believe other species have just as much of a right to live their lives as our species does, but it's worth noting that the issue of animal rights never comes up in the Donahue (who by the way is surprisingly hilarious and perceptive) discussion. You can still be completely anthropocentric and recognize the disaster that is our culture's dependency on animal products.
I'm always so happy and almost relieved to come across things like this, because it reminds me of what's truly important. It's easy to get caught up in all the distractions of modern life and easier still to give in to the desire to escape the responsibility we each have on a daily basis to do whatever we can to heal our world, because it's truly overwhelming and daunting. It's easy to feel like what you do doesn't really matter, but of course it does matter. And there are things all of us can do. We can't let any guilt we might feel for not doing everything right serve as an excuse to not even try. I have days where I just want to watch something funny and forget about anything serious and challenging. It helps me to be reminded that there are other people who care and are willing to put themselves out there to try and influence positive change. I feel inspired to try harder and challenge myself, because I know I'm not alone. In fact, I am in the company of total babes!
Thanks to Justin for finding this and sharing it with me!