Occupy4Life: #revolution in the name of all species

by Adam

Mickey Z.

If you really wanna get technical, the land was “occupied” by plants and animals first…

Of course, the above statement relies on how one interprets the word “occupied,” but…

What’s not open to interpretation is that 80% of the world’s forests have been cut down and raising taxes on the rich won’t bring back a single tree.

What’s not open to interpretation is that 90% of the large fish in the ocean are already gone and re-vamping the Federal Reserve Bank won’t re-vitalize the oceans.

What’s not open to interpretation is that 9 billion animals are killed each year for food (sic) while 51% of human-created greenhouse gases are produced by the global animal food  industry. Instituting campaign finance reform or term limits will not slow this lethal damage.

“We all, out of necessity, focus on the issues that are most dear to us,” says Will Potter. “We have limited time, limited money, limited resources. But listen: there are times for carving out our niches, and times for doing the hard work, the messy and uncomfortable and frustrating work, of trying to connect all of the pieces.”

Maybe one of the pieces you’re talking about is rain forests being destroyed at the rate of 1 1/2 acres per second to make room for the grazing of doomed livestock.

Perhaps the topic is animal and plant species going extinct at the never-before-seen rate of roughly 150 species every 24 hours.

What about the morally indefensible and scientifically specious institution of animal experimentation and how it’s used to introduce evermore dangerous chemicals to our landbase?

Let’s say a conversation is happening around the meatpacking industry—with its low wages, long hours, and high rate of undocumented workers—having the highest job-related injury rate and by far the highest rate of serious injury.

The connection to all these crucial issues is Occupy4Life.

Climate change, justice in the workplace, torture, the health care crisis, deforestation, unjust imprisonment, an epidemic of preventable diseases, water shortages, poverty, corporate welfare, world hunger, and much more—the negative connections between human culture and non-human life must be exposed and addressed by activists of all stripes.

It’s not nearly enough to rise above the latest man-made conflicts and/or differences and proudly declare oneself a “humanist.” In the name of holistic justice and planetary rebellion, we must go deeper to identify as earthlings and stand—fists raised—in solidarity with all of our fellow earthlings.

Last week, I stood on the sidewalk at the front-end of Occupy Wall Street (OWS)—holding a sign—for about two hours. My sign read: “Mickey Z. sez: Ask not what your eco-system can do for you. Ask what you can do for your eco-system. Eco-system > Economics.”

The length of my message required passers-by to stop and read. The most common response was a cocked head, a millisecond of squint-eyed thought, and then a sincere nod.

Best of all, once they slowed down their NYC hustle, I had a chance to engage some of them in conversation, a chance to talk about a system built on relentless consumption—an unsustainable-by-definition system that won’t stop consuming even if a few important economic reforms are set in motion.

This system is built, in a major way, on the exploitation of non-human animals and the eco-system. Dark green environmentalism is an OWS issue. Animal liberation is an OWS issue. Veganism is an OWS issue.

It’s all connected within a culture constructed on the premise of unlimited growth and it must all remain connected within a movement aiming for holistic justice.

The revolution is young. It will evolve and grow. There is and will be room for all voices to be heard. For now, let’s make sure the connections between all life are made immediately; after which, all the other important details will begin to fall into place.

#Occupy4Life…it will be our legacy.


Mickey Z. is the author of 11 books, most recently the novel Darker Shade of Green. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on an obscure website called Facebook.