This past weekend, at a large family gathering, one of the important conversations I had was with a 14-year-old grand-nephew who lives in Germany and whose mother is American and whose father is German. This fellow is seriously committed to a vegan diet and to living a life based on veganism including not wearing wool or leather and avoiding sitting on leather chairs, etc.
He cooks a modest number of vegan meals, but his father cooks a greater variety to support his commitment. Though he has not made many conversions to render his family members 100% vegan as he is, they are supporting him. Being young, he may well evolve over the years–but maybe not.
I was on a panel two years ago arranged by Sierra Club with a scientist from India who lives in the Silicon Valley and is now devoting his life to saving Mother Earth from the harm climate change is making.
His name is Sailesh Rao, and he is author or Carbon Dharma: The Occupation of Butterflies and Carbon Yoga: The Vegan Metamorphosis.
He tells us he is writing for the youth of the world and in the first book he proposes that humans look at butterflies to understand better how our species is currently dwelling in a caterpillar stage of existence. A stage he understands as a misinterpretation of the fundamental principles that underlie our democracy and our industrial civilization.
The Hindu concept of Dharma or “Right Action” leads to a global call to action. We begin the change with changing ourselves and moving into effective social change.
In Carbon Yoga he sees human civilization imitating the caterpillar who gorges itself before forcibly undergoing a metamorphosing like the Chrysalis. Over-consuming humans are reaching a point of being forcibly transformed within the cocoon of our finite planet into compassionate, life-affirming butterflies. Vegan life-affirming butterflies. Indeed, we have no choice but to treat all life as sacred in order to preserve the Earth that sustains us.
At the Sierra Club gathering Rao and I spoke about climate change (I was asked to speak on Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, “Laudato Si”). He showed a slide presentation about how, if we would turn all our grazing lands into spaces where trees grow again, we would not only end climate change in ten years but in fact turn it back.
He emphasized that, as a trained engineer, he had crunched his numbers and they do not lie.
Can all of us become vegan? Are there degrees of becoming vegan including vegetarianism and also just cutting back seriously on our meat consumption? Worth considering as part of the response to climate change and the peril Mother Earth is in. And listening to the young and assisting in their futures.
See Matthew Fox, “Your Mother is Dying,” in Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ,” pp. 1-34, pp. 3-5
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: An agroforestry (food forest) project at Honitetu village, West Seram regency, Maluku province, Indonesia. Photo by The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) on Flickr.
Queries for Contemplation
Has your diet evolved because of climate change and the suffering of Mother Earth? Do you know others for whom it has?
The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance
In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.