söndag 11 maj 2014

On veganism, procreation, having children, ecological self-sustained living

If one wants a child one can choose to adopt one of the many, many children who long for a family. Only in US there are 500 000 children in the foster care-system. This is a great adoption video series: http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/Adoption/Home and http://www.adoptuskids.org/

We do have a moral obligation to take care of these children [and put yourself in the children's position - would you want someone to adopt you if you were that child]; and if we choose to have our own biological children instead of adopting, we don't take our moral obligation seriously. Everyone can't help everyone; and some may choose to help other persons with ones resources and money. But if one wants to have children, I can't understand why one wouldn't choose to help one of the children in need of a family and need of help.

Another aspect: Raising children costs alot of money. Is it right for us to reproduce, when there are millions of starving children that need our help and that we could help instead of getting our own children. Are we not responsible how we choose to spend our money and if we choose to help those who need our help with the limited resources we have.

Our current lifestyle is very destructive. When we all rely on vegan permaculture, when we have abolished use of fossil fuels and transportation system, consumerism, capitalism, etc., we can live a life with a gentle ecological footprint. Until then I don't see how we can justify increasing our footprint even more on this world. Instead of investing thousands of dollars in procreating and getting children, I urge everyone to become self-sustained, reduce their own ecological footprint, grow all their own food using vegan permaculture, create vegan communities where several vegans can live self-sustained, ecological and non-consumerists lives: http://bloganders.blogspot.no/2014/04/vision-for-nonviolent-vegan.html

If the goal is to add one more vegan to the population, there are plenty of much more cost-effective ways to do this through vegan education. Start with taking this challenge https://www.facebook.com/abolitionistvegansociety/posts/585192321570283 ; and learn to educate people: http://www.eatlikeyoucarebook.com/


On having Children

Several people have raised the issue of whether one can be a vegan if one chooses to have children given that adding to the population has a negative impact on the earth and animals, etc.

Here's my quick reply to get the discussion going:

*Anything* and *everything* we do has an adverse impact on some group of humans and nonhumans.

So, yes, having a child has a negative impact but so does not having a child and overeating/overconsuming so that you are, in effect, two (or more) people. In fact, an affluent person can consume more and have a more negative impact on the earth and animals (human and nonhuman) than any 10 (or more) less affluent people. So I would suggest that we all--particularly those of us who live in the countries most represented on this page--consume a great deal less. Most of us (including vegans) eat more than we should. We should stop that. Frankly, I am a bit disconcerted by how important even vegans seem to think food is. Many seem to live to eat (albeit vegan) rather than eat to live!

As for having children, I think there are great reasons to not have biological children. Two reasons are: (1) you increase the load on the planet; and (2) if you have a biological child, you don't adopt a child a child already in existence who needs you. Love and family are not matters of blood; they are matters of the heart and love is not restricted by biology. Many people think that the way to perpetuate their own existence is to have a child with their DNA. To call that silly is an insult to silly ideas. Face it, folks: we are all going to die. Nothing you do is going to allow you to stay in the world forever. And if you think of "you" as your DNA, that's an impoverished concept of the self in my view.

If you want to have a child, it seems crystal clear to me that the preferable moral option is adoption. But to say that a person who has a biological child is not vegan is no different from saying that anyone who consumes more than they need is not a vegan; it is to say that anyone who lives in the world is not a vegan given that all human action results in harm. And if we say the latter, then none of us is or can be a vegan. So let's not argue in favor of the former because it leads to the same conclusion. To be vegan means we do not eat, wear, or use animals to the extent we have a meaningful choice and given that we have chosen not to live as ascetics who limit not only their consumption but their actual physical movement.

If, for moral reasons, we all stopped eating, wearing, or using animals, the net violence on the planet would decrease dramatically and we would live in a very different world. But even in a world in which there were no wars, no sexism, racism, or homophobia, and where we were all vegans, there would still be harm caused to non-domesticated animals (there would be no domesticated animals if we took animals seriously) and there would be harm caused to other humans. Living in the world necessarily involves harm. The challenge is to figure out how best to minimize that. Veganism is necessary for a nonviolent life; it is by no means sufficient. But to say that having a biological child means you are not a vegan makes no sense if "vegan" is going to be a meaningful concept that provides normative guidance.

Another answer:
And "biological imperative" or that something is natural doesn't mean that it is always or ever morally justify to do any given action.
Some say "we are omnivores, thus it is morally justified to consume meat". I think it is false, but even if it was true that we are omnivores, I don't think it would morally justify us to consume animal foods. In the same way I don't think that any ability or biological desire of having biological kids would morally justify having kids today with 1/ the current overpopulation and 2/ the enormous amount of kids who don't have any family and are in need of adoption.

I usually answer this when people use the "omnivore"-argument (and some of this applies also to this discussion):

We humans have the biological capacity to use violence and murder. This doesn’t make it morally justified. We humans have the biological capacity to harm, kill and eat humans for food and we can try to justify it by claiming that we are getting “nutrition”. This doesn’t make it morally justified.

But we are able to. We have the capacity. But again, biological capacity doesn’t constitute as a moral justification. If it did, then it would also be moral to harm, kill and eat humans. Our anatomy is not our ‘God’. To say ‘Eating meat is justified because my God says it is justified’ is analogous to saying ‘Eating meat is justified because my Body says it is justified’.. And then we have the biological capacity of harming, and killing and eating animals. The science is clear that it is detrimental to our health, see e.g. research that I gathered here [1 ]

We can live and thrive on a vegan diet, so killing and harming animals for food in our society is completely unnecessary. The only "justification" is that it tastes good/convenience -- and pleasure is no moral justification for hurting and killing an animal. I recommend you to study this article : http://articles.philly.com/.../24986151_1_atlanta-falcons... and http://www.eatlikeyoucarebook.com/

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