Why do I choose to go vegan?

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It’s hard being vegan. Even for someone like me. I ate cheese yesterday, but didn’t realise I ordered it, but I ate it anyways, because it was in front of me, and I was weak. I ate feta and cream at brunch today. There is regret. It takes a lot of effort to be yourself in today’s world. I didn’t forget to thank and pray for the cows and goats though. You can only pray so much however and if you aren’t taking any action the praying probably isn’t coming from the heart.

So it’s ‘Veganuary’, as disgusting as that may sound to some… But hey! The Animal Agriculture Industry is the number one contributor to green house gases and human induced Climate Change.  And if, unlike Trump, you hopefully believe that climate change is real, like me and many others, you’ll decide to go vegan, at least a couple times a week, if not everyday.

Choosing to go vegan however hasn’t just been an ethical issue; being vegan has provided a number of quality of life benefits (aside from making me less anxious and more hopeful that Climate Change will slow down if more people go vegan):

-clear skin

-higher energy levels

-lower food bills (in theory, as meat becomes less and less subsidized, and more vegetables and other crops are planted to feed people and not livestock).

But where do you get your protein from?

When people say that plants have feelings too… Plants don’t show the clear feelings of fear and pain that cows, pigs, chicken, and fish do. Plants don’t quite run away. Plants were designed to be harvested. Humans designed ways to hunt and kill, by choice. Have you ever seen or read about a man killing a deer, antelope or cow just with their teeth? Nope humans aren’t lions.

The milk of other animals was meant for the babies of those animals, not for humans! 

And if you think that the dairy industry in Europe is humane, small dairy farms seem to be quickly disappearing

And unless you really know where your eggs came from…  Don’t eat them.

At the end of the day, since all animals and animal products originate from plants, instead of inefficiently going through animals for nutrients, why not just go straight to plants? Well maybe because more land in the USA, for example, is used for Animal Agriculture rather than edible plant agriculture, so fresh veg is generally more expensive than it ought to be…

Anyways less talk, and more action! Go vegan and plant more vegetables.

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#TAKETOTHESTREETS

American Citizens to the land of America please continue taking to the streets and continue protesting the backwards electoral college until change happens. Urban streets weren’t just invented for cars. They were built as a free place where people can express themselves.

Don’t just let it pass. Hillary is still winning the popular vote; Trump ironically said himself that the electoral college is a disaster. His family didn’t seem look too happy on stage to announce his said victory; not to mention his son’s expressive faces during Trump’s electoral victory speech.

The constitution is a work in progress. The United States of America is a work in progress. It is the duty of every citizen to contribute to this work, by gracefully expressing our sentiments.

I could not be happier to see thousands of citizens taking to the streets to express their outrage at the electoral system, and its ability to allow a narcissistic product of the media that does not understand that his past public actions throughout only the past year, cannot be erased, and will only enable those who do not have the critical strength to make their own moral compasses, but instead to only be driven by false media. Only two days later we are seeing crimes of bigotry, undeniably enabled; by the electorate college system and the hollow, money-driven, superficial, individual it elected.

As the Miss Universe pageant taught us last year; the first announced ‘winner’ isn’t always.

 

#TAKETOTHESTREETS [with grace]

#DONTSTOP

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The Meaning of Life: On Dzhokhar Tsarnaev & The Society of the Spectacle

I am a global citizen, but more formally, as much as I would like to trade my passport for a U.K. one, also a citizen of the United States of America (USA). To be a true citizen however, I must actively take part in fashioning the development of this great nation and what it stands for. America classically stands for Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Sure these are lofty ideals, but America and its citizens, many of whom lay dormant, could try a bit harder to act like this is what it stands for.

Dhzhokhar Tsarnaev was born on July 22nd, 1993, in Kyrgyzstan. He’s my age. Escaping potential persecution by ignorance and lack of humanity across the Atlantic, Tsarnaev and his family (his parents, older brother, and two sisters) were granted asylum in the United States. Dhzokhar became a naturalised American citizen uncannily on September 11, 2012.

He lived an interesting and indirectly non-violent life like any other young high school transitioning to college kid, and seemed pretty grateful for his new life in America. He received a scholarship from the City of Cambridge, was on the wrestling team, and enjoyed eating Nutella.

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The following month after his tweet about Nutella, on April 15th, 2013, the Boston Marathon Bombing occurred taking the lives of three, including that of a young 8 year old boy, and significantly injured hundreds more. On May 15, 2015, Dzhokhar was found guilty and sentenced to death for being the final agent in orchestrating the Boston Marathon Bombing together with his elder brother, Tamerlan-Tamerlan who Dzhokhar seemed to unintentionally drive over to death in a stolen SUV in attempt to flee a police chase in Boston.

Dzhokhar and his family have repeatedly admitted that he is not guilty of his crimes against humanity. His sister and his mother recently painted by the media as dark and evil burka wearing gypsy witches (simply Google for such evidence or read Newsweek) have also claimed that Dzhokhar was framed by the US government.  Indeed, there is truth in every lie depending on your ability to see.

When you take into account Guy Debord’s theory of The Society of the Spectacle, Dzhokhar was framed by the US government to set-off pressure cooker bombs in Boston on April 15th, 2013. Dhzhokhar probably saw images, online and maybe even first-hand, of the civilian lives overseas the US government orchestrated to kill as collateral damage, often planned and predicted, in order to achieve a particular military objective. Not to mention Drones. On a note found in the boat where he was captured by the police, Dhozkhar wrote, according to CBS news, that ‘the [Boston] bombings were retribution for U.S. military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, and called the Boston victims ‘collateral damage’ in the same way Muslims have been in the American-led wars’.

An eye-for-an-eye never works, and it is the practise of this poisonous philosophy that keeps our poor soul spinning on the wheel of life. The courts have ruled Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, guilty. But we are all guilty of his crimes against our humanity. We are Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, we are Hitler. Killing Dzhokhar by lethal injection is not divine justice. It is only collective egotistical justice that would only poison our humanity even more.

We all have our ‘devils’ and our ‘angels’, but really they are both one in the same. We are all one soul. We just need to learn how to be friends with them. It is a great struggle, a struggle of conceptually blending the identity of every living thing into your own. To accomplish this, that is the greatest lesson we have been placed into our bodies for, called Life.

And with a more or less clear understanding of the meaning of life, I graduate from Cornell University, and thank Ithaca and the University environment for being rather conducive for such a necessary personal discovery, now ready, to truly live the life of the hand I have been dealt.

P.S. If you are consumed by The Society of the Spectacle and afraid of women wearing burka’s and head scarves, take a look at a picture of the Virgin Mary.

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Dzhokhar’s elder sister, Ailina, at a court hearing in New York. She herself has a number of criminal offenses on American soil.

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A photo of the Virgin Mary who appears, according to stereotypical ignorant American standards popularised by the media, to have been Muslim according to her attire.

Also, as a fashion maniac this passage from The Thoughtful Dresser by Linda Grant is also very fitting supportive material for this post: ‘The next day was sorrow and anguish-for those who had died, listening to the terrible messages the soon-to-be-dead had left on their loved ones’ answering machines. Deep horror and dread, and then nausea. The skies were quiet and empty. London was unnaturally still. We didn’t go out, we didn’t attend parties, we were certain that we were next.

But what I remember best were the arguments, the shrill condemnation not of the men on the planes, guiding them towards their targets, but of American foreign policy and, as often as not, of Americans. ‘You just have to watch Friends,’ someone said to me, ‘to see that Americans are foolish and shallow people.’

So when I looked at those first post 9/11 editions of Vogue,all I could think was that they didn’t matter. That we had been sleepwalking through life; that we were this grotesquely fortunate generation, born after the war, who would enjoy whole lives of peace and prosperity and boundless good fortune, without fear or threat. Seeing a row of handbags in Fenwick a month later, all I could think of were those women in Afghanistan walking like frightened blue ghosts in their burqas through the pitted streets of Kabul.’

Teofilo the artist

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After talking to a friend about painting on discarded old book covers, I coincidentally came across Teofilo’s painted book covers on 6° avenue and 23rd street (and coincidences should never be ignored, for if we ignored the coincidence that we’re both alive in human bodies this moment, we wouldn’t be living). I couldn’t help but take a peek. We live in a world of symbols. His works symbolise to me a blending of two spectacularly institutionalized symbols for ‘art’ and ‘education’, painting and books. When we learn to see, to listen, look, and appreciate, art is education, and education can be an art.

The Cab Ride

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I had a 6:30pm flight to catch, JFK. I was on the lower east-side of Manhattan. I thought that if I left at 3, got in a cab to Port Authority for about 15$ then took the 15$ airport shuttle, I would get there on time.

Wrong. By the time I found a cab that wasn’t occupied around 25th street and 2nd avenue at 3:30pm, traffic was such that it would’ve taken me at least 30 minutes to get to Port Authority, and another hour and 15 minutes to get from Port Authority to JFK, given that I would’ve arrived at Port Authority at 4pm, and not miss the shuttle that comes every half hour.

The cab driver reminded me of the 52$ flat fare, and the comparison between the 20$ I would save if I took the airport shuttle and the cost of missing my flight hit me.

I spent a good 2 hours with the cab driver. He was a cool guy. He was around his late 50’s or early 60’s, white hair, baseball cap, blue jeans, and a well-worn thick, dark blue plaid shirt. He enlightened me on a number of things that would interest the fellow City and Regional Planning major.

He believes that Mayor Bloomberg ruined New York City. He mentioned the issues with the city’s new bike lanes: Because they’re on extreme sides of the street, right next to the sidewalk, and because delivery vehicles or any other vehicle for that matter aren’t allowed to enter or stop in bike lanes, delivery trucks have to stop in the middle of the road and cause more traffic, because there aren’t many designated delivery zones along streets.

Secondly, he said that there are no longer traffic agents at intersections, because Mayor Bloomberg doesn’t want to hire and pay them. The cab driver believes that traffic agents, people to control traffic at intersections versus solely relying on traffic lights, would make traffic flow better.

He then proceeded to talk about one of his great pastimes: Fishing. In order to fish in New York, you need to pay the United Water city programme for a license. There’s a separate license for saltwater and freshwater fishing. Around the freshwaters of New York, you can catch herring in the winter-time and tri-bass in the summer. Tri-bass fish love eel, so if you’re fishing for tri-bass, use eel as bait. You can fish around Port Washington. Of course, eating your own catch is better and tastier than any other fish you can buy from market.

This man was great company for the long drive to the airport, and I was able to absorb quite a lot from him. Except I did not get his first name, his surname had the word ‘Marine’ in it.

Summer Inspiration, REMADE USA by Shannon South

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Out of interest and curiosity on a lazy, sunny-less, stay-in summer day, I decided to google search some ethical and environmentally sustainable fashion companies. I found this cool brand: http://www.remadeusa.com. Send them a leather jacket that you no longer want to wear as a jacket, and the company will turn it into a bag for you (For a design fee), in Brooklyn, New York!

A lot of the customer reviews on the site emphasize the sentimentality of their up-cycled leather bags, as often times the leather jackets they are made from once belonged to a special loved one that is no longer around.

Now…I don’t quite have any leather jackets in my wardrobe that I want to have made into a bag at the moment, but I’m sure many people out there do! Definitely a service I will keep in mind for future reference.

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