Leafy lifestyle, according to Genesis

By  Hillary Windsor, Youth Speak News
  • October 10, 2008
I often find myself explaining to people why I’m a vegetarian. I used to be pretty defensive about it, but now I realize I only want to educate others.

The drive behind my vegetarianism is certainly not limited to my compassionate and “tree-hugging” nature, though this is one of the reasons I chose to adopt my leafy lifestyle. Health benefits, economic efficiency and conscious consumption are all contributing factors, but people need to understand that my faith plays a role in this too.
The book of Genesis (1:29) states: “God said, ‛Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is on the surface of all the Earth, and every tree, which bears fruit yielding seed. It will be your food.’ ”

It seems to me as if this little bit of the creation story has been brushed aside. According to the Book of Genesis, it wasn’t until after the Great Flood that God permitted us to eat meat, since the flood had killed off all plant life and God knew it would take much time to grow back: “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything” (Gen: 9:3)

However, after years of eating meat, it seems that man grew accustomed to it, and it became a natural part of our diet even though our bodies were originally meant to survive on a vegetarian diet.

I’m not going to force anything down anyone’s throat — especially not meat — but I do want to make people, if nothing more, a bit more conscious of what we put in our bodies.

Was this how our world was really meant to function when it comes to food? I mean, God created all these animals with the ability to think, feel, communicate and love. If you don’t believe that animals have the ability to love, think again. Take for instance a mother cow that will cry out for days when it is separated from its baby calf at birth, or the nurturing love that a whale will show its offspring by nuzzling up against it during its first swim.

I don’t think hundreds of species were put on this Earth solely to satisfy our hunger. I think that we, as just one species, shouldn’t (and don’t) have the right or moral makeup to use God’s intricate and miraculous living creations at our disposal.

It’s also no coincidence that Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Taoism and many other faiths practise vegetarianism as a strict part of their faith. In fact, with enough research, you can find the outlines and implications of non-violence towards animals in just about every religion.

Vegetarianism isn’t just a change of diet, it is a choice, a commitment, a display of compassion and a lifestyle, dedicated to the pursuit of animal rights and the economical, empathetic and health-conscious progression of our society.

But take it from George Bernard Shaw, not me: “Animals are my friends — and I don’t eat my friends.”

(Windsor, 18, studies journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa.)

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