Last week, I blogged about HOME, an extraordinary documentary about how human greed and materialism are destroying our planet. Although HOME was (and as of today still is) available on YouTube, it is also available on DVD at most video stores. After watching it on a computer screen and then seeing it play on a large screen TV, I can assure you that the experiences are qualitatively different. HOME is aesthetically beautiful when it is played on a 17-inch Mac screen. But when it is on a 40 inch flat screen, the experience is overwhelming.
Anyway, we have had two “HOME Parties.” We invited small groups of acquaintances to come over and watch the film, which is about 90 minutes long. During the viewing, we provided a variety of veggie treats. Afterward, we had a discussion focused on each of us interpreted what we saw, what message we took away, and what sorts of things we can do in our own lives to walk more lightly on the earth. In both cases, the discussions drifted toward animal agriculture as well as the general relationship between materialism and violations of the rights of humans and nonhumans alike.
Although none of our guests were vegan before coming over (several were vegetarian), it was clear that the film and subsequent discussion stimulated them to think further, and I would not be surprised if some profound personal changes started during these HOME Parties. As I mentioned in my initial post, HOME does not convey an explicit pro-vegan message, but it is difficult not to see veganism as the implied message on at least ecological grounds if not on grounds of inherent value, which is what I discuss in my work on animal ethics. But even in this respect, a post-film discussion can easily go in the direction of the relationship between ecological concerns and inherent value concerns.
Opportunities to engage in creative, nonviolent vegan education are all around us. HOME attracted more than 1 million YouTube viewers in one week. It is an excellent vehicle to explore many serious moral issues involving humans and nonhumans.
HOME Parties also provide a great way to introduce your friends and neighbors to great vegan food so that they see that they can eat nonviolently and not have to sacrifice great taste.
Think about doing a HOME Party. It can provide a great opportunity for education, stimulating discussion, and fun.
Gary L. Francione
© 2009 Gary L. Francione