Tonight i go to an event at Revolution Books, a presentation by a woman scientist, Hope Jahren, who wrote the acclaimed autobiography “Lab Girl.” Reading her blog, I note that her writing is poetic, profound and direct. Perhaps that’s the result of studying captivating flowers and intriguing plant life. Hope is a bio and geo chemist and sees as the most important distinction between plants and animals the following – that the former stay and the latter move, away from pain and harmful conditions.
Sadly, however, as is known by those who fight for the rights of our sister / brother animals, the majority on this planet can NOT move away, neither from harm, nor pain nor impending death. Human animals, divorced from their/our true compassionate natures, have enslaved most of the rest of the animal kingdom, taken away their natural abilities to move, play, be close to their kin, enjoy sunlight, fresh air, feel the multi-textured earth beneath their feet.
Chief Seattle said – we did not create the web of life. we are merely a strand in it. What we do to the web, we do to ourselves…” Scientists, having themselves been detached from their own wholistic selves, pick at the strands, dissect, put under a microscope, pull apart, put back together and try to understand the exact chemical nature, the weight, density, viscosity, length of that strand. They pull at the threads and in so doing tear the fabric to shreds.
Sadly, most scientists wear the filters given them, by their institutions of learning, teachers, other scientists, the society at large. The scientific research they perform is funded by institutions, most of which make money from negatively exploiting the earth, our animal kin and fellow humans. If we could step back in wonder and awe at the magnificence of nature, now so confused by early spring , only to face freezing icings.
If we could step back, way back out from the guts of our institutions, out into the sunshine. Even with the glare, take off those filtered glasses and see and perceive the web-ness of life. A whole-y whole-ness, a holiness, the God of “Gosh” “Golly””Geepers.” the god of mice and meaning…. meaning – though i am small and reproduce a lot of offspring, i am not a being on which to experiment in some demented search for answers that if you saw with your heart, stare you in the face. The God of Gophers and Gila Monsters, of Grand Canyons, Global Web-ity. One God, the God of One-ness, Web-ness shows us how to prevent and cure diseases, not with needles and pills, prodding, poking, probing with instruments summoned from hell but rather with a well balanced, holistic, healthy plant based diet and lifestyle.
This scientist i go to see tonight, with her gorgeous prose and cerebral pose – will she open to discussion of the centrality of what clammers from our plates, the ghosts of cows and goats, chickens engorging our throats and stubby toes? Will she understand our herbivorous anatomy and physiology? Will she comprehend the importance of a plant based diet and lifestyle for the sustainability of our planet and food supply? Will she agree to see the whole?Will she holy open her heart to our animal kin? Will she begin again – to merge science with integrity, with justice, with peace and … most importantly, with love?
Aftermath – the presentation was delightful. Hope read parts from her book – about seeds and vines and cacti. She gave them life, personalities, “aspirations.” She described these living beings from their point of view. It was not a bird’s eye view, but perhaps more like a caterpillar’s eye view, the slow process, the waiting for a seed to experience the right conditions to emerge and grow and the small chances of that ever happening. She explained the complicated sex life of plants, the necessary flight of pollen to cross pollinate for that species to survive.
Concerning my questions. I had contacted her hours before her presentation, as suggested in her blog, through twitter and asked her several questions, for example about her support for vaccinations without presenting sufficient evidence of their efficacy nor refuting their ill (sometimes drastically ill and occasionally deadly) effects. Concerning catastrophic climate change, I recommended that she check out Nohm Mohr’s article in Earth Save International – “A New Global Warming Strategy – How Environmentalists are Overlooking Vegetarianism (Veganism) as the Most Effective Tool Against Climate Change in Our Lifetimes.” [Wow – It’s 11:11 pm – right now – all ones, signifying WE are … ALL ONE.]So when i came to the event a little early, i was able to greet her with “you look like your photos,” to which she reacted positively and from there I asked if she had read my tweets, which she said she had. I talked about global warming and the connection to the meat, dairy and egg industries. She agreed and thought that very important and encouraged me to bring it up during question and answer period. She was then pulled away to set up.
I would have liked to have purchased the book, because her reading was beautiful – prose, poetry, truly beautiful making plants, science easily accessible, even like for a child – inspiring awe and wonder. I have however promised myself i would not purchase another book until i completed the three or four i had already purchased. And i’m still on page 720 of a 900 page book (more about that another time).
During the question and answer period, I was called on second and expressed how poetic her words came across and I asked about her feelings about the dichotomy of science seeming so cerebral and cut off from the whole and she responded that using the accessible language she uses is how she transmits the essence and bypasses the unfeeling aspect. I also asked her why she killed all the plants each year after nurturing them to grow. She said she has a love hate relationship with them and joked that they would probably do the same to her, if they could. I asked her about the aspect of science that does research on our sister brother animals and how many people are spending years in prison after freeing and bringing to sanctuaries some of these victims. She didn’t address that if i recall, or expressed remorse at that, perhaps. Discussion back and forth was not permitted so I couldn’t ask follow up clarifications.
I raised my hand for a second question but they cut it at that point, so i went up to her and asked her if she’d read “the secret life of plants” by christopher hill and she was familiar with it. Her mother had read it, years ago. I asked if she’d seen COWspiracy and she said she’d heard of it. Did i recommend it? yes. She would watch it. Other people moved in to ask questions and talk, so I gave way. I was going to also comment on her not acknowledging the incapacity of 98% of the animals on the planet to move, underlying their enslaved, captive state. Perhaps i’ll tweet that. i also wanted to discuss the budget she drew in her blog, as circles some of which overlapped, showing clearly how large the defense budget of the US is – larger than all the other departments combined. I wanted to discuss that the second largest department budget was that of the Dept. of Agriculture – 85% of which is animal agriculture. I wanted to ask her what she thought of that. Perhaps i’ll tweet that question as well.
I’m pleased in general about this evening. I found Hope Jahren to be down to earth, humble, receptive and present. I’m so happy I had the opportunity to meet her and look forward to reading her book.