World Peace Diet Talk
The World Peace Diet Talk with Dr. Will Tuttle on December 1, 2017 was held at UH Mānoa. Over 80 people showed up to listen and learn. Our friends at Sky Kombucha provided kombucha to quench our thirst while Loving Hut donated delicious vegan food to nourish our bodies. Dr. Will Tuttle presented a thought provoking talk to feed our hearts and minds.
Dr. Will Tuttle is a former Zen monk, an accomplished musician and academic, as well as the author of the best-selling book The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony. He has been a vegan and yoga practitioner since 1980, and a recipient of the Courage of Conscience Award. He and his wife Madeleine travel the world, holding lectures, trainings, and concerts to promote peace and cultural healing. We felt extremely lucky to have them share their research, stories, art and wisdom with our community.
The talk shed light on how our current food system is shaped by a long history of herding culture as well as the interconnectedness between our food choices and the social justice issues that we face today. Food is our most intimate connection to our natural world and cultural heritage. Thus, veganism as a "world peace diet" is the antidote to much of the environmental degradation, human health problems, and animal cruelties that ail our modern world. As a means for practical spirituality (i.e. acting like what we do matters because it does) we can transform the way we eat, the way we live, and the way we treat each other.
Some key points of the talk included:
1. Herding culture and the subjugation of animals
By looking at the history of our society and tracing it back, we see that about 10,000 years ago, humans started owning animals for food. This revolution of our species to a "herding culture" shifted the paradigm from seeing animals as mysterious and respected cohabitants on this Earth to seeing animals as slaves to be used. Domesticated animals were reduced to property and wild animals became pests to get rid of. This domination mentality is a reality still today.
2. The eventual rise of a wealthy, elite class
Those who owned the most livestock became societies' rich and powerful. The word capitalism originates from Latin capita which means "head" of flocks (e.g. sheep, cows, etc.). The ensuing patriarchal profit system relied on tactics such as war, slavery, and sexual abuse to protect their "property" and gain more influence. Capitalism and its effects, rooted in herding culture, degrades life as something to be used and abused rather than respected and cared for. The violent tactics that may have served a purpose before, yet still continues today, wreaks immense havoc on a world that can no longer sustain this sense of separation for personal gain.
The optimistic light in the midst of this darkness is this: just as we are born into this society with a herding culture and hurting food systems, together we have the power to heal. Instead of finding fault, we must face this responsibility.
Whether we realize it or not, we are active participants in the food system, voting with our dollars through every transaction at the store or market. By buying and eating animal products, we pay others to enslave, torture, rape, and kill them. This violent cycle oppresses human and non-human beings alike. Every meal, every day we have the choice to buy into the old paradigm or contribute to creating a new one.
The primary way that any society transfers its values from generation to generation is through its rituals, the most significant of which are our meals. Instead of passing down the habit of eating animals herded at a massively unjustified scale, numbing our hearts and minds, harming our bodies, and destroying natural habitats, we can choose to support local, organic, regenerative agriculture. We can harness the healing power of plant-based diets and lifestyles. One meal at a time, we can choose to vouch for a beautiful and abundant world, capable of nourishing the billions of people and trillions of species that share it.
Veganism is ultimately a path of self-transformation and although we may sometimes try, we can't change other people. All we can do is plant seeds that inspire, empower, and encourage others to own their own transformation.
Thank you to all our sponsors who helped make this event a success and those who inspired us simply by showing up with open hearts and minds to co-create a more peaceful world.