3.4 Editor's Pick
May 29, 2010

Why elephant isn’t Vegan (but is all about Veganism).

I’m liberal. You may or may not be. I respect your views, as long as they don’t undermine someone’s right to exist (to paraphrase James Baldwin).

I don’t like cars. I bike. You might drive. That’s okay.

I’m vegan. You’re not, mostly likely. That’s up to you, not me. I’d love to talk, and listen.

If you are vegan, let’s go get lunch!

Elephant isn’t me. Elephant is community, dialogue, respectful disagreement, and learning. We don’t want to sit in a cozy bubble of 100% agreement—that’s a cult. We want to engage with those outside of our choir—that’s how change happens, not preaching to the choir.

 

The point of the legend of the blind men and the elephant is that we all think our way is best—when, really, if we could open our eyes, we’d all see that what we’re holding is just one aspect of the elephant—truth.

Republicans, Democrats, rich, poor, black, latino, white, Asian…we all fundamentally want just about the same thing. To live a good life that’s also good for others, and our planet.

And that is our mission—not any one aspect of the elephant in particular. ~ WL.

~

Why Elephant isn’t any one thing.

“I’m confused with EJ. Stick to your mission statement please. You seem to losing focus…”

We are about veganism. We are about ahimsa.

We are about mindfulness. We’re also about mountain biking, Buddhist meditation, yoga, working with anger, active citizenship, the arts, enlightened education, feminism, natural products, greenwashing, social media…we’re about a lot of things. If you’d like to contribute an article, you’re welcome to—on any subject that inspires (or irritates) you.

Fundamentally, as I said below to a few of our passionate, committed vegan readers who had a problem (understandably) with a recent post re “classic” camping recipes that we posted for Memorial Day, we’re about taking responsibility for our actions, and having a good time doing so!

PS: The one thing I should have added is a personal invitation to Patrick, a concerned, active, passionate reader—to contribute an article about said passion or concern. We don’t have to agree. We do have to stay open, and contribute to one another.

That’s generosity, which as they say in the Buddhist tradition, is the quality that “produces peace.” You know, ahimsa.

~

elephantjournal.com

We just did an article on our mission recently, and it being about inclusion, not exclusion. A community based on dialogue, disagreement, not one voice. In today’s fractured media environment, I understand that we are consumers of media are quickly getting used to media as a club—MSNBC vs. Fox, etc.

As President Obama said in his recent Commencement speech, that’s sad and even unhealthy. I personally can’t stand to watch Fox. But if I did, more, I might hear some new things, whether true or not, and have to expand my horizons and deepen my study of why I believe something different.

Pamela, Patrick, while I personally (Waylon speaking) am vegetarian, and with Gary Smith‘s encouragement may be heading toward veganism (have more or less given up milk), there is nothing in our mission statement about veganism. We are all about mindfulness–responsibility—so, naturally, we focus on organics and vegetarian diet and sustainably and more humanely-raised fish and meat.

I understand and agree that killing animals for pleasure amounts to a daily holocaust in the US, particularly in factory farms.

A robust conversation, via our Facebook Page.

Clint, Nathan and eight others like this.

Patrick
I’m not sure why I’m following this page anymore. It clams to be about conscious living, sustainability, promoting well being etc etc…yet I see posts like this promoting cow’s flesh, dead fish, chicken’s eggs, pig’s flesh, cow’s milk etc. Can you explain WHY any of these things are sustainable, conscientious and enlightened? And please don’t talk to me about humanely raised/treated animals. Humane would be not killing/using/exploiting period.

I also see things like promoting corporations like NIKE on this page as well. Are you kidding me? NIKE? Sweatshops? People making those products can’t even afford to BUY THEM THEMSELVES. Have you ever heard about the working conditions? NIKE is far from a corporation promoting human rights issues. Plus, shoes made out of animal skin….again, not ethical or sustainable or a great situation for the animals they are ripped from.

I’m not trying to be rude, I just don’t understand this website.

Clint
Because not every one of this page’s 16,000 readers fall into every single category of green, conscious, spiritual, sustainable, enlightened, mindful, AND vegan. Some are only interested in one or two aspects of the website. No need to stop reading many great articles when one or two oppose your personal views.

Pamela
I agree with Patrick. I’m confused with EJ. Stick to your mission statement please.You seem to losing focus, camping recipes made from dead animals is hardly enlightening.

Rick
Disagreeing with EJ from time to time is exactly why it’s a good site. What is enlightening is realizing that people have a broad spectrum of beliefs and backgrounds–even among its core audience of eco/yoga/meditation types. EJ’s slogan (mission?) is “living the mindful life.” you may totally disagree that eating meat, no matter how it’s raised is mindful. not everyone shares that opinion.

I disagree with some of the “green” articles on the site, because they don’t seem to stand up to science (the Robert Kennedy Jr. post about vaccines causing autism, in particular, raised my hackles). Obviously it’s a controversial subject, and I know that people feel very strongly in the other direction. So–the issue seems to be: how can you be mindful of your own beliefs, and be mindful of your own prejudices, and be respectful of others when they don’t agree with you? and are you mindful of how fixed/attached you are to your point of view, and is that always a good thing? when seen from that perspective, Elephant Journal does a decent job.

Jennifer
Clap clap clap to Rick. I am just a recent follower of Elephant Journal but so far, all the articles has been inspirational to me about ‘living the mindful life’ in such a way that it celebrates life by promoting diversity with acceptance and love! I too would like to say thanks to Elephant Journal for sharing its positive vibe!!!

Bryan
Camping is an activity that will increase the connection to our planet, living things, oneness, etc…So IMHO Elephant is wise to see it as a “gateway activity” toward sustainability for “common” and or non-Buddhist folk. Teach them to feed themselves and they will come. Right on Waylon.

elephantjournal.com

We just an article on our mission recently, and it being about inclusion, not exclusion. A community based on dialogue, disagreement, not one voice. In today’s fractured media environment, I understand that we are consumers of media are quickly getting used to media as a club—MSNBC vs. Fox, etc.

As President Obama said in his recent Commencement speech, that’s sad and even unhealthy. I personally can’t stand to watch Fox. But if I did, more, I might hear some new things, whether true or not, and have to expand my horizons and deepen my study of why I believe something different.


Pamela, Patrick, while I personally (Waylon speaking) am vegetarian, and with Gary Smith’s encouragement may be heading toward veganism (have more or less given up milk), there is nothing in our mission statement about veganism. We are all about mindfulness–responsibility–so, naturally, we focus on organics and vegetarian diet and sustainably and more humanely-raised fish and meat.

I understand and agree that killing animals for pleasure amounts to a daily holocaust in the US, particularly in factory farms.

Update: re a recent organic bone broth ad on Elephant, this question came up again: 

Here’s what I wrote a reader friend:

Number one, the ad isn’t my favorite, and I appreciate your message and care, and would love for you to write something criticizing it or discussing it and I’ll personally feature it, you, on Elephant. Dialogue and learning are vital here.

Here’s what I wrote another reader friend:

I agree, personally, that slaughter is never humane. The animals experience fear, fear, fear, separation, heartbreak. Most animals killed for our pleasure or tortured for dairy, with pus and sores and lifelong rape, are tortured in factory farming (this bone broth is not that).

So I don’t agree with killing for pleasure. We can eat healthfully and responsibly. But most vegan food (in groceries, at least) is from monoculture, and in plastic. That’s not responsible, either. Vegans tout vinyl clothes, which is an awful material.

So you and I agree. That said, not all Elephant readers are vegan, or are interested in being vegan yet, or ever. So it’s our job to offer “more” “mindful” steps forward.

I’m liberal—but I allow articles that disagree with me. Elephant is not about my voice, or opinion, or your voice, or opinion. If you want to change minds, listen, talk, converse—boycotting the last large mindful independent media community on earth ain’t gonna help, the way I see it. Conversation helps—and community, and disagreeing but listening and learning—and that, not one point of view, is what Elephant is about.

If you buy plastic, or soy, or palm oil (which you do), or drive in a car, or buy from Amazon (container ships = 50 million cars) you’re killing thousands of animals. Same for me.

Elephant isn’t about being perfect. It’s not the perfect life that we want. We want an ethical life, a mindful life. This bone broth is organic, pasture-raised—better than factory farming, which should be the enemy of all vegans and meat-eaters alike.

And, fo my part, I’ve put blogs and recipes and articles up about animal welfare and veganism on Elephant totally many millions of readers, and invite you to do the same.

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