OKJA: A Netflix Movie That Is Inspiring People to Be Concerned About Animal Rights

I feel encouraged by the reviews about this amazing movie because it is getting loads of positive attention from reviewers and increasing numbers of people are reporting that they or their friends/family are becoming vegan.

I enjoyed the movie immensely as did my former husband,  our daughter and son-in-law. As a follower of Jesus as well as a person who just does not like profanity in general, I felt uneasy about the abundance of F-words that were sprinkled throughout the film, and we almost did not watch the whole film. But we sensed that we should  we gave Okja a chance. I am so glad we did.

If you are a Christian and a vegan, it could spark some good discussions among your church-going friends that might help them to understand your concern for animals.  That happened after my family watched this amazing production.  Jesus concern for the least of these, the innocent, and the oppressed shines through the theme.

The reviewers speak so eloquently about this movie that I want to share their words with you. I hope these excerpts will inspire you to watch Okja and share this film with your friends. Okja_02-1024x480


While watching the heartfelt Okja, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll definitely rethink that next piece of bacon.” Brian Truitt. Full review at USA Today

The human performers are all brilliant, but the movie belongs to its title character and her digitally conjured, genetically modified ilk. Okja is a miracle of imagination and technique, and “Okja” insists, with abundant mischief and absolute sincerity, that she possesses a soul.” A.O. Scott. Full review at New York Times

“… the film is far more notable for being the best pro-vegetarian film in over a decade.  Jacob Oller. Full review at  Film School Rejects 

“Deftly blending genres, humor, poignancy and drama, Bong Joon Ho (Snowpiercer, The Host) begins with the gentlest of premises–the bond between man and animal–and ultimately creates a distinct and layered vision of the world that addresses the animal inside us all.” 86% liked the movie. Full review at Rotten Tomatoes

Okja movie poster

“The ambitious screenplay includes discussions of corporate responsibility, the ethics of meat consumption, the acceptable threshold of animal cruelty, and other matters that you might not expect to see find in a film so simply told and lavishly produced.” Matt Zoller Seitz. Full review at Roger ebert

From the anthropomorphic sentimentality of Babe to the slaughterhouse realities of Shaun Monson’s 2005 documentary Earthlings, Okja combines the holistic man-and-nature themes of a Studio Ghibli animation with the alarming food-industry revelations of Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret.” Mark Kermode. Full review at The Guardian

“The power of Bong’s film is that it never lets go of Mija’s purity of spirit, holding it up as a lesson many of us (particularly the meat-eaters) could stand to re-learn.”
David Sims. Full review at The Atlantic
“A pot-bellied fable unlike anything else you’ll see this year. Not since Babe has an adorable porker inspired such peculiar joy or unexpected heartache.” John Nugent. Full review at Empire Online
This, at its very centre, is a tale of the purity of friendship found in childhood pets. In a similar vein to last year’s Pete’s Dragon, Okja relies on the conjuring of a CGI creature that blends just enough dog-like traits into its fantastical features as to be utterly irresistible to audiences. The blind loyalty, the effusive affection, a touch of goofy clumsiness; for anyone whose childhood was accompanied by a beloved pup, it’s hard not to feel the sweeping touch of sweet nostalgia here.” Clarisse Loughrey See full review at The Independent

Questions for thought
Did this article inspire you to watch OKJA?
Have you seen it?
What are your thoughts?
Did this influence you to become vegan?

 

 

Why Shared Values Are So Important In Community Living

 

One of the passions of my life is conflict prevention and resolution. I love the satisfying feeling that comes when I can talk with someone with whom I am having a disagreement, and come to a place of harmony and connection. Many times, this has been scary in the initial stages because the other person got defensive, and I wondered, “how is this ever going to be resolved.” Thanks to my skills that I developed through practicing Nonviolent Communication, I had many successful experiences in this arena.

But then there are the conflicts that I have had with people that just don’t seem to ever be resolved. Almost always, the cause is having a difference in values. If I value honesty, but I am constantly dealing with someone who tells untruths or withholds the truth, we can’t ever resolve that conflict..

I value the teachings of the Bible which I understand tells me through the example of Jesus that there could never be a place where God sends us where we are eternally tormented and separated from him. Thus, I have a value of trusting in a God of love who can figure out how we can all be reconciled to him. Yet if someone values a God who is willing to predestine people to hell and heaven, there is always going to be conflict between us because our view of God is so different.

One of the reasons I think I resonate with vegans so much is that they share many of my common values. My experience spending time with many atheists and agnostics who shared my value of treating animals with love and respect gave us a great deal of  harmony. When I met Christian vegans who valued community when I was at the Creature Conference in London, I felt as if I was in heaven.

I know that just having shared values is not going to prevent conflict. However, when I was listing my values, I included things like a willingness to use tools like Nonviolent Communication.

I am in the process of writing down my values and determining which ones are non-negotiable. I am trying out an experiment to see if I can be a magnet for people who share my values and want to live in such a way that we can be so harmonious and connected to each other, to God, to animals, to plants, and finally to our neighbors and the whole world that we can then be a powerful example to others of what really works. We demonstrate a life that is truly fulfilling, and people will want to learn from us because they want the same thing we have.

The early Christians spread the teachings of Jesus in this way. They were so loving and full of light–people yearned to be in their presence. How many churches are like that? How many communities? How many organizations? How many families? I have yet to experience any group that exemplified the fullness of Christ’s teachings to the extent that I wholeheartedly wanted to join in.

People told me over and over, “there are no perfect churches or people.” I believe they wanted to encourage me so I would be willing to settle for less than what I valued. I understand that they wanted me to be content and not continue to search for an ideal that might never manifest. They saw the pain I experienced in my searching for a community where I could really fit.

I now realize that unless I identify my highest priorities of life–my values–and determine which ones are non-negotiable–I will never be happy. Perhaps I will not ever find one person who shares these values. However, I am committed to only have values which I believe that Jesus, Abba Father, and Holy Spirit share. So then I can feel connected with the divine community.

And where does that leave me with the people who I perceive are not sharing the values of the divine community. Does that leave me in the position of believing I am better than them because I have the “right” values? In the past, that has been my position, and I have felt tormented because of this stand.

In fact, I confess that I still don’t know how to relate to people who have different values, except to do my best to understand why they have come to the place they have come to in their values. Then I will pray for all of us that we will know without a doubt the values that God wants us to share. I will do my best to live in alignment with my values with God’s help, and confess to God and to friends when I fall short.

I will ask God to help me develop a deeper compassion than ever before. I will yearn with all my heart and soul and mind to love like God loves–to be like Jesus. Oh, this seems so impossible. Yet we are called to do even greater things than Jesus. To be perfect like our Father in heaven is perfect.

I have two choices. Throw out the hard passages in the Bible that call me to discern and then practice values that Jesus would have me value. Or just give it all up and be an agnostic.

I choose the former. I choose to be an apprentice of Jesus, and learn from him how to be a powerful healing presence in this world.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter.

 

Planning a Permaculture Goat Sanctuary

These are some of our notes in preparing to construct the most ideal goat sanctuary using permaculture design. The goal of this sanctuary is to provide the goats the happiest healthiest life possible, while at the same time reducing the amount of management through proper planning and strategy. This is not a comprehensive guide, if you have any personal experience, advice, or corrections you’d like to point out we would love to hear what you have to share! Permaculture is all about using as much information as you can to make decisions that benefit you for a long time to come so we have more research to do!

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Location

An area with diverse conditions is ideal, with a more densely forested section, and a more open sunny field. This will give the goats a wider range of plants to forage, as well as provide shade for varying temperatures for the goats comfort. There should be enough room for them to comfortably roam with the protected space.

Happy goats are less likely to attempt an escape. As long as there is ample and diverse foods that they like they are less likely seek food outside the fence. Rotating more frequently or planting more forage plants can save on time chasing down escaped goats.

Ideal Plants for Fodder

(These plants were selected for Zone 7, in NW Arkansas)

Key:

Nitrogen Fixing

Storage for Overwintering 

Attracts Pollinators

Self-seeding Annuals

  • Red-clover – leaves, and flowers
  • Amaranth – leaves, stalks, and seeds
  • Yellow Dock – leaves, stalks, and seeds (in moderation)
  • Buckwheat – leaves and seeds
  • Lambsquarters – leaves, stalks
  • Thistles – leaves, stalks, flowers
  • Alfalfa – Leaves, seeds

Perennials

  • Maximillian Sunflowers – leaves, root tubers, and flowers
  • Sunchokes – leaves, root tubers, and flowers
  • Rosa rugosa – leaves, flowers, and rose hips
  • Lilac – leaves and flowers
  • Blackberries – brambling, leaves, vines, flowers, and fruits (plant around established fruit trees to protect them from hard grazing)
  • Siberian Pea-shrub – leaves, flowers, seeds 

Trees

  • Black Locust – leaves, bark, and flowers, coppices well
  • Honey Locust – leaves, bark, and flowers, coppices well
  • Willow – 13% leaf protein, coppices well, easily grown from cuttings
  • Apple – leaves, twigs, fruit, flowers; a good use for crab-apple varieties
  • Poplar – fast growing, 17% leaf protein, coppices well
  • Tagasaste – Leaves, Flowers, seeds high protein
  • Loquat – leaves, twigs, fruit
  • Seaberry – leaves, fruits, twigs

MATERIALS NEEDED

  1. Additional seeds and tree saplings
  2. Permanent Secure fencing for main grazing area
  3. Portable Electric Fencing for short grazing rotations
  4. Shelter for goats to be protected from the elements and sleep
  5. Water trough that can be filled from the secondary spring or pond.
  6. Goats

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Written by Tas Zinck

Sources

https://permaculture.org/demonstration-site/grazers-and-browsers/

https://www.milkwood.net/2016/10/31/closed-loop-cheese-the-goat-forage-system-at-melliodora/

https://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/pg_caar18.pdf

https://permies.com/t/61866/critters/permaculture-goats

http://ceres-permaculturedesigncertificate.blogspot.com/

Trish’s history of compassion towards animals

I remember the first experience with feeling empathy towards animals started with our dog Inky when I was about seven (which was fifty-five years ago). I may have been the one to find her dead in our garage. Knowing that she was dead was devastating to me. My parents thought our neighbors might have poisoned her. Thinking that people could be so cruel affected me deeply and I felt overwhelmed with sadness for our old cocker spaniel who had been so kind and loving.

When at age nine I finally was able to have my very own dog, a friendly and affectionate golden retriever I named Goldy, I was thrilled. But only a few months after she became my companion, vicious bulldogs attacked her. The bloody wounds in her stomach looked so painful, and for some reason, my parents did not take her to the vet. She ran away, never to be found. I sat in my second story room, looking out my window, hoping to see her feathery tail wagging. I was crushed by this loss.

 

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When at age nine I finally was able to have my very own dog, a friendly and affectionate golden retriever I named Goldy, I was thrilled.

 

Probably to avoid being so hurt again, I never wanted a dog or a cat that I called my own after this painful loss. But I still loved animals and felt connected to their pain. One book that deeply affected me was “Beautiful Joe” based on the true story of a dog who lived in Canada. The book’s opening scene where a dog was being cruelly treated by his owner, and then was saved by a beautiful and courageous woman, touched my heart deeply. I cry even now when I think about the examples of animal abuse described in this book. At age twelve, reading the heroic adventures of the young lady who helped save animals she saw were being abused, this book inspired me. “Maybe I could help to alleviate the suffering of animals and humans,” I thought. But probably because of societal influences, for most of the rest of my life my focus was on alleviating the suffering of humans.

 

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When I was seventeen I had an epiphany while watching the well-known television show, Lassie.

When I was seventeen I had an epiphany while watching the well-known television show, Lassie. I was having a particularly hard time with people who were treating me in hurtful ways. When I saw the unconditional love that Lassie had for Timmy and other people, from seemingly out of nowhere I had these thoughts:

 

“Most dogs are kind to people. We don’t eat them. Most cows are kind to people. We eat them. People are unkind. We don’t eat them. Therefore, I don’t want to eat animals. They are kinder than people. I don’t want to hurt animals. They don’t deserve to be hurt.”

I instantly became a vegetarian for ethical reasons. I was committed to this lifestyle up until about two years ago when I happened to be at the Comic-Con Conference in San Diego. My daughter and I had some free time and decided to take a trolley down to this event to see what was happening. We walked by a friendly woman who offered us a dollar to watch a three-minute video. Because a dollar was a lot to me at that time, I was willing to take her up on the offer!
The video was made by Farm Animals Rights Movement (FARM) and was very well done. Even though I had wanted to give up dairy and eggs for the past few years, somehow I couldn’t take this next step. However, when I was asked how many days I would be willing to give up all animal products, I said, “seven days a week”.  Since then, I have been a committed vegan.

I thought that just being vegan was a huge contribution to helping alleviate the suffering of animals. Besides, other issues were tugging at me for attention. I decided to pour all my efforts into the animal rights movement when I met Barbara Hulley when I was visiting the Bay Area last year. I had finally found my niche after searching for the past 43 years.

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We walked by a friendly woman who offered us a dollar to watch a three-minute video about animal welfare.

 

Funding came forth from a sponsor who generously helped Jesus Vegans get off the ground. We continue to receive money in order to move forward with a staff, an event center, and an eco-village (which is in the process of being built). Being able to attend the Creature Conference in London last March, and connecting with people like Daryl Booth who founded Sarx (a Christian animal welfare organization based in the UK) has also been amazing. I have found that people who are both Christian and vegan have more in common with me than anyone else I have experienced. This gives me a lot of joy because I love working with like-minded people who are both passionate about their cause and share my core values.
My heart breaks for the suffering of animals, especially farm animals because their deaths are so unnecessary. I am surrounded by people who eat meat and animal products. I don’t condemn them because of their habits. After all, I ate animal products that produced great suffering in animals (dairy products and eggs) until only two years ago. And most of them accept my preferences and even support me in my efforts to build Jesus Vegans. Yet I yearn for a day when all can wake up and see that their eating habits directly hurt other creatures who have emotions just like we do.

Recently, after getting marvelous feedback about our website from Sarx director Daryl Booth, Chris (my son who works for Jesus Vegans full time) and I came up with a revised mission statement which gave me hope that we can make a difference in helping people wake up. Here it is:

“Our mission is to empower vegans, animal rights supporters and those who care about the earth to cooperate, build communities, and increase unity.”

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In this way, I can utilize my life-long experience in organizing events, people, groups, meetings, structures, and communities. I can also use my communication skills and facilitation skills as well.

I feel grateful to be able to work full time on fulfilling this mission, and now the only things missing are passionate, emotionally healthy people who want to use their talents to help make this mission a reality. We are able to offer a work exchange program which you can learn more about here.  if you want to explore the possibilities of living and working to produce events at our event center and build our eco-village.

Thanks so much for reading my story. I would love to hear your feedback as well as hear about your stories.

Weekly Menu

This is so encouraging! Thanks, Sarah.

sarah withrow king

Every Saturday evening, I sit down with my calendar for the upcoming week, a stack of my favorite cookbooks, my laptop, and a pen and paper. Twenty minutes later, I have a menu for the week and a grocery list.

I’ve heard from a number of friends and family that one of the biggest hindrances to eating vegan is not knowing what to cook. I’ve also heard from friends who are in a food rut. 

So, I might not do it every week, but when I can, I’ll post our weekly menu here. I’ll miss the mark sometimes, but most will be kid- and budget-friendly, fast, and filling vegan meals. I work full-time, and I often work from home. If a recipe needs a little extra time in the stove or oven, I pause in the late afternoon and then get back to work while the food does its thing in…

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Description of Patricia’s efforts in grassroots organizing which led to a tree sit

I am very grateful that Anita Schnee could be there from the beginning of the tree sit. I am reminded that I do have quite a few talents and a lot of persistence so I want to help all the great things that are already happening in the animal welfare movement be even more effective. That is what I am good at.

Patricia Mikkelson's Life Journey

I met Ms. Mikkelson over a year ago, when, as a lawyer, I was called on to mediate diverse grassroots resistance to an unlawful development project in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where she and I live. I myself, hindered by circumstances to do any more than the briefest community work, would be greatly reassured to know that Patricia Mikkelson would be doing the same thing for the Arctic Refuge as she did for Fayetteville

Patricia sparked the resistance movement at its beginning stages. It was she who began organizing against the city’s connivance at tree-preservation ordinance violations in favor of a huge mall development. The resistance grew to include tree-sit action and substantial civil disobedience of over twenty people.

Through a protracted and tense summer and at great personal cost, Patricia applied her considerable talents wherever she was needed. She initiated and participated in email bulletin boards and chat-lists that were vital…

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