Ria on Which Side Podcast

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transcript:

Ria Montana on Which Side Podcast

J: How’s your day going so far?

R: Pretty good. I added my skype picture. I don’t know if you want to use the one that I’m profiling on my skype because I just washed my hair today for the first time in like six months, so I wanted to show you what it was like.

J: No worries. Whatever picture you wanted to use, if you send it to us, either would work.

R: Ok. Cool.

J: So you just washed your hair in six months?

R: Yeah so, it’s kinda one of the ways I try to stay in touch with being a primitivist, and anti-civ anti-consumerist, is I don’t really wash my hair very often. It’s such an odd topic to start on, but the thing is when I go outside, people love my hair. I get compliments about it all the time. I’ll have old ladies come up to me and start stroking my hair. And young women come up to me and say, “How do you get your hair like that?” And I tell them, “I haven’t washed my hair in like half a year, and when I do I just use like baking soda and vinegar. It’s really not a big deal.” I just thought it’d be an interesting way to start a conversation about primitivism, huh?

J: So just using baking soda and vinegar, does that just not strip all the oils out when you use it?

R: I just notice that it kind of works for me, and I don’t even know or care what it does really. It’s really fine. I almost feel like I could never ever wash my hair.

J: On a complete separate note, you say that people just come up to you and touch your hair. I hate it when people just touch me without asking.

R: Yeah, it’s such a weird thing, like sometimes I ‘m into it, it’s like ‘ok’, but sometimes it’s just awkward. So where to people touch you at?

J: Oh I don’t know, it’s just like anything.

J: You probably get your curly hair.

J: Yeah, when I grow my hair out it gets curly, so they’ll touch my curly hair. Or when I buzz my head they’ll tub the buzz head.

J: I used to poke you like the Pillsbury Dough boy.

J: Mainly even like shoulder touch, or hand touch. I don’t like to… I have my bubble.

J: Do random people just come grab your hand?

J: You know, if someone’s just talking to you and they just touch your shoulder. Have you had that ever happened to you?

J: No.

J: That happens to me.

R: You must be putting out some kind of a vibe or something.

J: I guess.

J: Starting off with the whole thing about not washing your hair, what was your origin into anarcho-primitivism?

R: Well I think I was born that way, and I was like fighting civilization my entire life, and just came to realize it more and more the older I got. I remember back when I was like two, three, four years old and being out by myself in nature, and sometimes with some really young friends also. it just it felt so right. I just feel like our species is born that way, just like all species are.

J: Was your family in a similar way?

R: I don’t know how old you guys are, but I was in the generation where kids really got a lot of freedom, like we were outside playing sooo much of the time and it was back when houses were often times next to natural areas, we almost always had fields or forests or mountains right at my back door. Because we got the freedom to roam, parents really wanted you to be out there, they had work to do, so we were like super glad to be out there enjoying all of our freedom.     I almost feel like it was when you started school that was then it started in really heavy with civilization pounding away at you.

J: So if you feel like you’ve always been a primitivist, when did the vegan aspect creep into that?

R: It’s such a vague memory, but somehow I knew when I was offered fish for the first time, I knew that it was an animal so I refused it. So my whole life I never ate fish. But for some reason I didn’t figure out that chicken was an animal, and hamburgers and hotdogs. By the time I realized it, it had been normalized, so I just went along with the flow, even though I still didn’t eat fist, it’s kinda a contradiction. And then I didn’t even hear the word ‘vegetarian’ until I was 17 years old, I’m 51 now, so quite a while ago. My high school English teacher mentioned it somehow, and then it just really rang true for me, this feeling I’d been having for a long time. So then I was vegetarian until 15 years ago, and I went vegan, at my son’s behalf.

J: Oh really, so what happened with that?

R: Uh, let’s see. I had tried to go vegan before but I was finding it too challenging and struggling with it. And then when my son when he was 13, he, I don’t know how much to expose about him, he kinda became an anarchist and he was getting involved with some anarchist animal lib stuff, and he went vegan overnight. And then all of a sudden as a mother I was like, How am I going to make sure that he gets all the nutrients that he needs? So I really started focusing on it. And then I realized how easy it was. It was so odd. All of a sudden he was after me to go vegan. So I just went vegan overnight. I was ready for it anyway, but I couldn’t stand much of his bashing anyway, so.

J: Did you raise him vegetarian.

R: No, I raised him as a meat eater, which in hindsight I have huge regrets about. It was kinda a different age. When I got pregnant, that was one of the questions they asked about, my diet, and when they found out I was vegetarian they said I had to eat meat or it could hurt my son. And so after he was born, I was breastfeeding him, I was really glad to be able to go vegetarian again. And then somehow it came up in conversation with another doctor and they said You have to keep eating meat to keep giving him the nutrients he needs. And I don’t know why I was so stupid or something, I couldn’t figure it out at that time. So I ate meat while I was breastfeeding him. After I stopped breastfeeding, he was two and a half, we were both vegetarian then, and then when he was four, his doctor started asking about his diet, all of these are different doctors by the way, it seemed to be a systematic kind of issue, when she found out that he was vegetarian, she started really shaming me, scolding me, writing it up in his medical records, and doing these extra tests, so I decided to just let him eat what he wanted to eat. So he went from a meat eater to vegan overnight when he was 13.

J: How does he feel about that history of the medical establishment kind of forcing outdated ideas onto you about how to properly feed a child?

R: I’ve apologized to him for going along with the system. Right now I would totally know better than that. A couple times it’s come up and I’ve apologized to him, and he says, It’s no problem, I’m just glad you didn’t let me have sugar. He’s a sweet kid. He’s 28 now. He’s a world backpacker, been on like 6 continents. He’s been doing this for I think more than 8 years now. He’s just light hearted hippie kinda kid. Very loving, sweet.

J: Do you find it hard raising a child and trying to instill these high idealistic mindsets into how you’re raising him?

R: You know, it’s hard to fit in. You guys have kids?

J: I do, yeah.

R: You know the resistance you come up against when you bring your kids to a party, or if they’re in the larger culture mainstream especially. It seems like you’re constantly bumping up against differences in values. It can be pretty intense. Especially if the family isn’t on board with you also. I don’t know what your situation is, but. You kinda have to start drawing lines in places. It can just be uncomfortable.

J: We had to draw the line right at the get go. It was, These are our values, and if you don’t respect these values we can’t be around you, cuz these are the values we want around our daughter.   Luckily we drew those boundaries very early on with our family and for the most part have been extremely respected.

R: Oh, you’re lucky.

J: Yeah, fully lucky, yeah.

R: I tried to draw some boundaries, and you could tell they were just going along with it and they didn’t really want to. And they would do things behind my back. They felt like I was abusing my kid because he couldn’t have Halloween candy, or pop, or meat during the time he was vegetarian. So they would just sneak stuff to him. I was lucky to live a little bit further away from them. The distance helped a lot.

J: It’s hard for me to believe that people feel like they can just do what they want and disrespect people like that.

R: Yeah, I don’t get it.

J: So you said your son’s an anarchist, did he also follow the primitivist path?

R: The way he lives his life is probably actually more primitivist than the way I live mine. He’s always outside. He says he feels most comfortable when he’s at least 50 miles away or more from any McDonalds and so far out of civilization that he doesn’t have cell phone connection. He wants to be totally totally out of it, just engrossed in nature, sleeping under the stars. One time he was traveling around, and we decided to meet up in Venezuela. We went to this really super remote indigenous area close to the Amazon, southeast Venezuela. We were with the chief and his wife, we were sleeping in their home, got to be there a couple weeks with those people. It was such an amazing experience on so many levels. Actually someone had written a book about them I found out later. They’re the Pemon people, Cherry Cayan, and someone wrote a book about them being an anarchist indigenous community. It’s interesting in hindsight. So it was supposedly a ‘volunteer program’, which it really wasn’t, we were just hanging out with them. And afterwards some organization that had arranged the hookup with us and these people, they wanted to give us certificates for, I don’t know graduating from some volunteer experience, and so I just accepted it. When they went to give Shawn his certificate he like gracefully declined. The guy said, Don’t you want to take this home and put it on your wall? And Shawn said “I hope to never have walls.” That just says so much about him.

J: So getting back to the whole idea of primitivism, it’s something I have flirted with for a very long time. I think in my mind it’s a little romanticized. But every single time I take a deeper look into it, I find myself pulling away from it in certain aspects, more specifically within me, the idea that the call of wanting to live that lifestyle seems to be a privileged aspect of life, to be able to be privileged enough to choose to be able to do that, where a lot of society doesn’t have unfortunately the choice to be able to do that. How do you respond to those type of criticisms, and how can you help me come to grips with not romanticizing it and taking it a little more seriously?

R: That’s a really good question. I’ve been in conversation with this one person about a similar issue, and admittedly it is a privilege, at least for some of us. Some of us might venture into it without the privilege that most people end up needing to get into it. But when you look at the earth today, there’s no escaping, everything I look at, everything I hear, almost everything is domesticated earth. And the few little niches that are left, if we just keep exploiting it and keep using it for our own pleasure, then the people who are able to get out there and exploit it and use it as hunter-gatherers or recreationalists are part of the problem. I don’t look at it like a privilege; I look at it like rewilding for yourself is part of a problem, from my view. I feel like we have a calling, I hear Earth just crying at me, and I feel called to try to help heal Earth and undo some of the damage that we our species has done. So I don’t know, are you talking about rewilding yourself or doing work to rewild earth?

J: Kind of both, in some aspects, to, as you put it, to rewild yourself you have to be in a situation where you’re able to, a lot of people might not even have the privilege to understand that this is an idea, that this is even a possibility that exists , or to the aspect that its not something, at least my point of view or my understanding, that is sustainable for the current world’s population, which would mean that if we did rewild everybody or did take that step backwards as a species that we would have a dramatic drop in the actual count in species which would account to like a genocide of the human species just to move forward to this ideal.

R: Well I feel like we’re on the path of genocide right now. When you look around. Say you did a statistical analysis of the deaths, human deaths, and count how many or what percentage can be traced directly or indirectly to civilization. I think civilization is genocide. It’s kind of ironic that one of the ways to escape that is to depopulate, through rewilding. In order for us to rewild, there’s no way you could do it with the numbers that we got now.

J: So is that something you personally advocate for of anarchoprimitivism is the depopulization of the human species.

R: I don’t see any other way around it, there’s no way we could stay on this track. I think a lot of people can’t visualizing it, but I was just born sensing it, that I should not bring another person onto earth. Even though I have a son, he was an accident that I decided to stay with. When I was starting to get sexually active, I did not want it to result in a pregnancy even if I was being safe. So I started going to doctors and saying Can you tie my tubes. I was 18, and every year at my annual exam I would ask them. And they started citing this one rule that they have, You have to be 30 years old, have at least three children, and your husband has to approve. And I was like, What? So eventually when I was 22 I accidentally got pregnant and decided to keep the pregnancy, but it was just driving me nuts, I felt like I really shouldn’t be doing this. I started begging the doctor, Please can you tie my tubes when I give birth. They started saying, You’re probably having hormonal issues. So they refused. Here I am talking about the medical again. But anyway, at the follow up appointment, my son was like four weeks old, and when I went to my doctor for my end of it, I was begging him, and I was crying and saying “I never wanted to have kids. I don’t want to have any more kids.” He started reciting the same rule, You gotta be 30, 3 kids, and your husband’s permission. And I was like, Look, I’m not even married, and I don’t want to be with this guy. Like I don’t even want to have to get this guy’s permission. And so the doctor said, I’ll tell you what, if you go to a psychiatrist and get it in writing that you’re making a sane decision, in essence, then I’ll do it.   And so I had to do that, I went to a psychiatrist. Fortunately I got someone who understood right away and only made me come in one time and wrote up the note. So I got my tubes tied, after my son was born I had to go back in and have surgery. But I just feel like it’s just something I sense. I’ve talked with other guys about this, it seems like a west coast phenomenon, but there’s lots of people on the west coast it seems who don’t want to have children. Every once in a while it’ll come up in conversation with a guy, I’ll tell them my story and they’ll say, The same thing happened to me. They would go in and ask for a vasectomy and the doctor would say you gotta be 30 and have 3 kids, but they didn’t have to have the wife’s permission.

J: I’ve even heard of certain contraceptives not being authorized until you’ve had a child or you’re at least 30 or something.

R: It’s so nuts, but you go in and want an abortion, not that you shouldn’t be granted an abortion, but it just seems so much easier. Like the doctors don’t say the same things to you, like they’ll say, Well this is a decision that you might end up regretting later. Or, You can’t undo it so I don’t feel comfortable with it. They’ll say that if you want your tubes tied, but not if you want an abortion. They won’t deny it because of that.

J: That just seems so fucking insane to me, to have that mindset. On so many levels. Not just the idea that of you have to ask for your husband’s permission. But just the idea that you don’t have that individual control of your body. It’s just so infuriating.

R: Yeah, it really is. I wonder if they still do it.

J: I think they do in a lot of ways. Especially it wouldn’t surprise me going to certain religious areas of the country, maybe like the bible belt or something. I know I’m totally just calling out certain areas. It’s probably a lot more widespread than we want to acknowledge.

R: Yeah it could be.

J: At least maybe not the husband aspect, but at least the age and whether or not you’re making a rational decision if you’re not 30.

J: So one of the questions that I’ve always had with primitivism that I don’t feel I’ve ever gotten explained to me to my level of satisfaction, which is the whole idea of domestication. When is domestication bad and when is it good. I’ve had had some primitivists tell me making a tool is domestication, I’ve had other ones tell me that’s not domestication. In your idea, where does the idea of domestication come into play, and at what point does that become a negative that creates hierarchy.

R: That’s a really deep question also and it goes really far back. John Zerzan has the definition something like, if you make a tool that you yourself can make without relying or depending on other people to make it for you, then that’s fine, and I think Derrick Jensen goes there too, once you start into needing other people to create, to have some involvement in the process of making your piece of technology, whether it’s a tool or whatever, then that’s the beginning of domestication. I don’t know, I’m going to go really really far back and say it’s early Homo sapiens, or maybe way earlier than that even. What’s your thoughts on it?

J: Well personally I don’t think that making a spoon or a knife, if you’re able to make that with the tools that you have, I really wouldn’t consider that domestication.

J: This is where the idea of romanticizing the idea of primitivism with me hits the road and I hit my reality of where the disconnect happens with me personally. When Zerzan talks about the idea of specialization, to me specialization is just acquired knowledge through your everyday life. So every person has a different everyday life, so you’re all acquiring certain specializations based on that, and I don’t believe that that necessarily in of itself creates hierarchy. So I have a hard time with the idea that anything that has any level of specialization is inherently negative. That’s why for me that’s where my first place of disconnect happens.

R: So like playing roles. Like people have different roles.

J: And I guess my whole idea is like, say civilization collapsed, technology no longer existed, we’ll still have a lot of things left over, and I personally don’t find any problem using some of the things we have left over.

R: Oh yeah, like that’s going back to scavenger. This is the world we live in. I try to make my life about scavenging, like dumpster diving, and I feel like that’s part of being primitive. Scavenging is way before hunting.

J: How do you approach the idea of people with either diminished mental or physical capabilities, and how do they play a role into your vision of anarcho-primitivism?

R: Is that the ableist issue?

J: Like where somebody who either doesn’t have the full mental capacity to be able to do things the full level that a normal human would be, or the physical capacity to, so they would require somebody to have that specialization for them.

R: I’m not 100% solid on it, but my immediate thoughts are that, we’ve brought ourselves into this situation and we’re kind of stuck with it and got to deal with it, but with our early ancestors caretaking was something that happened long ago, and people found their own ways to take care of each other back then. The thing is that we’re stuck in this situation right now, so then it’s how do you back out as gracefully, gently as you can without hurting too many people in the process. Obviously it’s got to be a transition. I can really see this happening, I can see it happening even rather quickly. If people start getting that sense that we should stop so much breeding, the human species should, and if that idea starts catching on like wildfire a little bit, then in a few generations we could step back into something that’s more co-existence with the rest of the world. If you can imagine, we’ve stepped forward this point, and now we’re going to figure out a way to step backward and with causing little harm as possible.

J: Doesn’t the idea of having to care for others in of itself create a civilization?

R: I would almost say the opposite, that civilization creates a situation where we’re actually like at war and stuff, we’re killing each other. It’s a mixed bag. Either way, we’re not going to have a utopia. You gotta look at the entire picture and weigh it. To me, it’s just so obviously clear that there’s so much harm, so much destruction and suffering. Everywhere you look on this planet. And if we keep walking down this path it’s just magic thinking that it’s going to be anything other than continued suffering and pain, unnecessarily too. It’s just an artificial life that we’re living. It just feels so unreal. It feels like something’s amiss to me.

J: One of the things that’s always found interesting, next to Christian-anarchist, anarcho-primitivism seems to be the next sect of anarchism with the most level of spirituality associated with it. Would you agree that spirituality is a key aspect of anarcho-primitivism?

R: For some people it seems to be. I remember when people found out I was atheist they would have assumptions about what that means compared to people who have a religion, and I guess the bottom line is the bottom line. If your religion or spirituality is going to help you to be a helpful person on the planet, or reduce your suffering, so maybe it depends on how your spirituality plays out. We have the Christian crusades and all kinds of religions that go around doing all kinds of massive harm, and then there are atheists on both sides of it. I feel like I don’t have tons of answers, but I just have this vision that it is possible, that we can step backwards, that we can have a future primitive, like Zerzan’s book.

J: So for you what are the steps that need to happen to see that take place?

R: The main thing is we can’t rewild ourselves in a world that is what it is today. So even if you look at it through a selfish lens, like ‘I want to be rewilded’, in order to be rewilded you have to have a rewilded Earth, so you can’t just go out in whatevers left and try to rewild yourself and ignore it. Part of being rewilded is being connected to nature, and if you don’t hear earth screaming right now, then you are by no means connected to nature. So Earth is screaming at us right now for help, saying Stop it. I feel like number one we have to stop what we’re doing, we have to smash civilization. And then number two is we have to start trying to undo some of the damage that we’ve done to this planet. Rewilding Earth instead of focusing so much on rewilding ourselves. I think if we’re rewilding Earth and if we’re supporting and/or taking part in smashing civilization, I think we’re going to find our path to rewilding ourselves in the process.

J: How exactly do we approach these steps?

R: A lot of them are already happening. There’s a lot of divisions between different groups of people. Like me with the hunter-gatherers. We’re both anarcho-primitivists, it can be rather contentious at times, the vegans vs hunters within that subsect. For example, there are conservation groups, yeah they are nonprofits or government organizations or the government itself, and they are doing deeds that are conserving nature, and it fucking sucks that it’s the fucking government that we have to work with in some of this, or even nonprofits, but that’s the reality of it. Right now, they are doing some decent work in rewilding and conserving some land, some habitat for a lot of life. So we may not like it but maybe there’s a way we could work with them. Maybe we could learn skills from them and then take them and apply them in our own ways in other areas and take them and expand them in rewilding earth.  That’s one of the things I’m doing now, there’s a forest and a wetlands and an estuary that I’m stewarding and it’s through a program that’s a collaboration between a nonprofit and a city park. We get all kinds of volunteers coming in so I lead restoration events. A lot of people would say that’s hypocritical for an anarchist to be out there volunteering for the government, being a part of it. I say it sucks that I have to do it this way but this is the reality that I’m dealing with right now. I feel like we’re reaching a lot of people, giving hands on skills for doing a lot of this restoration work, and hopefully serving as part of the wildfire of getting people to steward and undo some of the damage.

J: So what is that program that you work with, do you mind going into more detail about what you’re doing there?

R: Yeah, it’s Green Seattle Partnership. About ten years ago they looked around and realized that the invasives were really overtaking over the natural areas, with plants and animals in particular, and that something had to be done or it was going to become monoculture. A lot of our natural areas here in Seattle are the left over places that people couldn’t build on, so it’s very slopy, lots of sloughing and landslide, areas that a bit less home-building friendly. We started getting a variety of invasives coming in and totally taking over. At one of the parks I steward there used to be a fox and about 20 years ago off leash dogs mauled it to death, so there’s no more foxes in that area, and there were screech owls. So human encroachment and fragmenting up what was left of our natural areas, and invasive plants and invasive animals has really degraded what few little remnants were remaining here. Relatively speaking we have quite a bit of natural area because it is so slopy here. So they looked at it and said We’ve got to do something because it’s just getting degraded so quickly. So Seattle Parks and at the time it was Cascade Land Conservancy came together and piloted this program, a 20 year project. Right now we’re at the halfway mark of it. They have volunteers, they train them and support them in restoration techniques and leading events for volunteers helping out. In our city there are thousands of people who are in one way or another partaking in this. There are hundreds of people who are forest stewards, so we’re really lucky to have be able to learn about and keep these skills, because after collapse, we’re in the middle of collapse right now and it’s going to keep collapsing, one of the things we’re going to have to do is to continue to work on undoing the damage. Even if civilization dies overnight, the consequences are set in motion for natural areas, so we’re going to have to learn to deal with these problems that we’ve introduced and to keep undoing the damage long after civilization is gone.

J: What is something with inside either the anarcho-primitivist animal rights spheres or even the anarchist spheres in general that you see happening that you wish would change.

R: I think there’s a lot of friction between groups. Like right now there’s this thing with the hunter-gatherers, I don’t mean to be negative with them about it, it feels to me like a macho thing, or a patriarchal thing, it’s a continuation of the dominion. I almost wouldn’t mind these people going out doing their hunter-gatherer thing, learning those skills and stuff, if they were also just as much focused on smashing civilization and undoing the damage, like healing Earth But it just seems like it’s more self-centered, it’s just more of the same

J: No intersect kind of thing?

R: Yeah, and a lot of what they do also is they have this magical thinking with these silly little excuses for not healing Earth. Like they’ll say things like Well nature can take care of itself, or It’s only natural for a species to move around, or You should stop intervening it’s not up to you to play God. But they really aren’t understanding. And they also have a thing against science, which I think their argument against science can be legitimate, but I still think they’re not totally getting it. It comes to me on a thinking level, but I also just sense it. Like the first plant I ever planted was a memorial tree for my brother. When I would keep going back to that tree and when I saw other plants coming and climbing on top of him over and over I would rip them off, and even though I’m atheist it was a spiritual thing for me, I felt like I was taking care of my brother when I was ripping those invasive plants off of him. And after I did that for a while and kept protecting that tree, I looked around and realized it was happening to other evergreens as well. So I had this emotional commitment, it came from a really powerful place. And then after I got that emotional commitment I started learning more about it. So the science end of it came to help me with the emotional commitment that was developing.

J: You mention the criticism of science, I’m kind of unfamiliar with the criticism of science that they levy. Would you mind elaborating on that a little bit?

R: I think it’s just about bias. And I see it from the other side, like when paleo-anthropologists go back and look at early humans, they often times will make an assumption. Like when their looking dentine in teeth and they find evidence of plant material, they will say there was a lot of dependence on plants, but then they’ll also say, It’s safe to assume that they were also eating insects or small lizards or whatever, but there was no evidence of that. So there’s a bias that’s pro-meat infiltrating all their studies. So I agree with them that there is a lot of bias in the science, and also because the science is also often getting paid by the government, it’s part of the hierarchal system, you get all the consequences of that. But at the same time there is some truth to it that you have a lot of invasives that are coming in, not co-adapting with the ecosystem communities, turning lush diverse communities of life into monocultures. And when you start being able to see it emotionally and with the thinking too then it’s hard to ignore. And then you need the science, you need to know what the plants are and then what you can do to help.

J: What is something inside these movements that you see happening you’d like to see happen more of?

R: Definitely we need a wildfire of people healing Earth together. There’s getting more and more acceptance of the permaculture movement, it’s still kind of shuffling species around for human reasons the way I see it. So I want to go even further to say, We’re healing Earth just for Earth’s sake, not for our own. And then you get the division between people who say, Humans are also animals and we have a rightful place on this planet. To that I say, What is the human habitat? If we are animals, all animals have a habitat that they live in to co-exist with other life. So you have to live within the limitations of habitat if you’re going to be animal.

J: To go off topic a little bit, you mentioned that you’ve always felt like you were a primitivist. When did anarchism come into play, was that similar?

R: I think because I had so much freedom in the beginning. I was able to just get out there and roam. In the earliest years I think I was an anarchist. In my small part of the world, which was like the backyard, the field and the forest edge, at that point in time I wasn’t able to sense all of the different systems that were oppressive to Earth and to me and hindering me from being an animal. But I think overall, considering where Earth is at today, I had so much freedom in the way I was able to behave with other people and nature, it was probably fairly similar to early humans, with the exception that I didn’t have primitivist adults around, or even primitivist older children. It was a group of preschoolers mainly.

J: I can’t believe it’s already about an hour. How can people get in touch with you and find out more about your work?

R: My website is a little bit tricky, veganarchoprimitivism.com. And I have a book, it’s about a personal adventure I went with my son on one of our little hippie quests. It’s called Hippie Paradise: A Vegan Ecofeminist’s Rant on Hawaii’s Kauai Island. It’s by Ria and Bryan.

J: And where’s that book available?

R: Amazon.

J: We can put a link to that in the show notes. We end every episode saying ‘fuck shit damn’. Would you mind saying it for us this week?

R: I’ll go further than that, (sings) Fuck shit damn, sonofabitch, I don’t give a flying fuck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “Ria on Which Side Podcast”

Amazon tribeswomen escape back to forest after rejecting civilization

By Dom Phillips


Jakarewãja and Amakaria, two women from endangered Awá tribe from the Brazilian Amazon, pictured while sick with tuberculosis after being led out of the forest in this 2015 photo. (Courtesy of Survival International)

RIO DE JANEIRO — In December 2014, three “non-contacted” Amazon tribespeople – a young man, his mother and an elder female relative — were led out of the forest they had lived in their whole lives and taken to a village.

A year and a half later, in an extraordinary twist, the two women have escaped back to the forest — taking just an ax, a machete and their pet birds. They left clothes they had been wearing strewn on a path — and their escape left a very clear message.

We don’t want your civilization. Instead, we choose our ancient way of life.

“It was a rejection,” said Rosana Diniz, a coordinator for the Indigenous Missionary Council, a nonprofit group connected to Brazil’s Bishops, who has worked with the women’s tribe, called the Awá, for nearly 20 years.

“What is important for them is not television,” said Diniz. “What is important for them is to be in their home, in the forest, with plenty of hunting, with rivers, with the animals.”

The Awá is an endangered tribe of about 450 people who mostly live in villages in three reserves on the southeastern fringe of the Amazon. But an unknown number of others, like these three, still live an ancient hunter-gatherer existence.

The Brazilian government has registered 110 “uncontacted” groups in the Amazon who are increasingly threatened by illegal logging, mining and farming.

Continue reading “Amazon tribeswomen escape back to forest after rejecting civilization”

from tree to shining tree

podcast

A forest can feel like a place of great stillness and quiet. But if you dig a little deeper, there’s a hidden world beneath your feet as busy and complicated as a city at rush hour.

In this story, a dog introduces us to a strange creature that burrows beneath forests, building an underground network where deals are made and lives are saved (and lost) in a complex web of friendships, rivalries, and business relations. It’s a network that scientists are only just beginning to untangle and map, and it’s not only turning our understanding of forests upside down, it’s leading some researchers to rethink what it means to be intelligent.

Produced by Annie McEwen and Brenna Farrell. Special Thanks to Latif Nasser, Stephanie Tam, Teresa Ryan, Marc Guttman, and Professor Nicholas P. Money at Miami University. 

 

Are Farmed Animals ‘Better Off’ Than They Would Be in Nature?

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farmed animals better off in nature full size

This post is part of an ongoing series called Most Common Justifications for Eating Animals, in which we seek to provide answers and resources to better address common defenses of animal product consumption.


Farm animals have a much better life than they would in nature! is a claim we often encounter from people defending animal product consumption. Fans of this line of thinking commonly present an either/or situation: either the animals we eat die a violent, harrowing death in nature (after a violent, harrowing existence), or they have a comparably “easy” life and a “better” death on farms.

But this is a fallacy of unwarranted assumption. First, farmed animals would never have been born in the wild; they are artificially bred into existence specifically to be exploited on farms. Animal agriculture is not some heroic intervention into “tooth and claw” nature whereby farmed animals are rescued from a horrible death that would have been far worse than the pseudo-salvational slaughter they experience at human hands. They are not rescued or saved or “protected from predators”; they are bred by humans to be killed by humans without a fighting chance.

farm animals pigs

Another variation of this argument goes: “Factory farming is wrong, but “pastured,” “free range,” “humanely raised” (etc.) animals on small farms have a much better life than they would in nature. Therefore we are justified in eating them.” But again the same point applies that animals on small farms have been forcibly bred into existence and would not otherwise exist “in the wild.” The hypothetical nature scenario is a false premise and does not justify our needless breeding, exploitation and killing of animals for food.

Secondly, many of the worst cruelties inflicted on animals in factory farms are also routine practices on small, so-called humane farms, including castration, horn removal and ear cutting, all without painkiller or anesthesia; sexual violation and forced impregnation; destruction of families and separation of babies from their mothers; and a long, miserable transport in all temperature extremes to a painful and terrifying slaughter.

Even in the best case scenarios, farmed animals are denied their liberty, their bodily and reproductive autonomy, and many of their most basic natural instincts and preferences. Even on small, so-called humane farms, animals have no control over the most important aspects of their lives. Consider that the following is true for all animals on all farms:

“Humans decide where they will live; if they will ever know their mothers; if, and how long, they will nurse their babies; when, and if, they will be permitted to see or be with their families and friends; when, where, or if they will be allowed to socialize with members of their own species; when, how, and if, they are going to reproduce; what, when, and how much they will eat; how much space they will have, if any; if, and how far, they will be allowed to roam; what mutilations they will be subjected to; what, if any, veterinary care they will receive; and when, where, and how they are going to die.” (Lucas, Joanna)

If these were the circumstances of your brief and unfree life, at the end of which you would be forcefully restrained, attacked and slaughtered against your will, at only a fraction of your natural lifespan, and all for completely unnecessary reasons — would you maintain that you had been humanely treated?

 

Are Farmed Animals ‘Better Off’ Than They Would Be in Nature?