I was born in the small capital city of Georgetown, Guyana, in South America, as part of the South Asian diaspora six generations removed from South Asia. There was no television growing up, so I read a lot, and still like reading. I lived with my parents and two brothers in Georgetown until I was 15 years old, when my family decided to migrate to the capital of the world, New York City.
Guyana is the only English-speaking country in South America, with close ties to the English-speaking Caribbean, so culturally I am Caribbean. My house was not far from the Atlantic Ocean, but also close to the Amazon rainforest. Each summer, I spent weeks on my paternal grandparents' small farm in the rainforest, and each year I learned to gradually lose my fear of the untamed nonhuman animals living in the forest.
I have not visited Guyana in two decades, and would probably be surprised by how much the city and forest has changed. I plan to visit the country with my 10-year old son, Jad, when he is a few years older.
In 1979, I migrated to Queens, a suburb of New York City, and attended college at 15 years of age. I ate food animals for 24 years and wrote about it on an animal advocacy blog I started in 2009. I wrote several articles on my previous life of consuming food animals, from distaste for flesh during childhood, to love for pet chickens, on being a "goat", playing "sheep", and my relationship to cow's milk.
I spent 25 years in New York, and often visited relatives in Montreal and Toronto during the summers. I lived briefly in Ohio, Texas, and Florida. I traveled in Nepal and spent a year in India in 1994. I moved to Los Angeles from NYC, a few months before September 11, 2001, and have lived in LA since.
I completed an Ed.D in Philosophy and the Social Sciences from Columbia University, and worked as an Assistant Professor of Hunter College, City University of New York. I published Education and Empowerment Among Dalit (Untouchable) Women in India with Mellen Press, blog at OpEdNews, and wrote several articles on climate, animals, gender, colonialism, race, conflict, caste, disapora, and indentured migration. My work has been cited by the FAO, UNESCO, Human Rights Watch, Anti-Slavery International, the Institute for the Study of Labor, World Council of Churches, and many others.
WORK and PLAY
I have collaborated with environmental, animal advocacy and climate change organizations, including 350.org, Center for Biological Diversity, New York Public Interest Research Group, Saxakali - an environmental group I founded, Greenpeace, the Animal Advocacy Museum, and Climate Change 911, a non-profit environmental organization that I started.
I have worked with groups involved with human rights, women, labor, race and caste issues, including the Working People's Alliance in Guyana, the Caribbean Daylight, Red Thread, and Dalit Women Caucus, a group I founded. In the 1990s, I published artices on the environment in the Caribbean; in 2010 I wrote a critical article on ecology and animals; and in 2013, I critiqued the climate change and civilization/grain argument. I have participated in conferences and produced several documentaries on Marti Kheel and ecofeminism, on sexism and carnism, on food justice, and race in animal advocacy.
I enjoy social networking, reading, walking in nature, and riding a bike. I especially like reading feminist science fiction, and one my favorite authors is Katherine Burdekin who wrote utopian and dystopian novels in the 1930s.
In the early 1980s, I was inspired by Chico Mendes and his struggle to protect the people of the Amazon and was deeply moved by his death at the hands of a rancher in 1988. Around this time, I discovered the philosophy of Jiddu Krishnamurti and was transformed. Soon after, I made the connection between biodiversity, ethics and diet, and became an ethical vegan. I was influenced by the tremendous work on nutrition and disease by Gary Null. In the early 1990s, I started Saxakali, an organization focused on environmental and social issues in South America and the Caribbean.
I started graduate studies in 1992 with Florence McCarthy, and Marxist-Feminist, who soon became a major influence in developing my interest in feminist studies. I was deeply moved by the Dalit women and girls I worked with during dissertation research in India, who helped me to understand the intersection issues of class, caste and gender oppression they face.
The birth of my son, Jad, in 2006, was perhaps the most influential experience on my life as I transformed into fatherhood and childhood simultaneously. We share vegan ethics and a deep love for nonhuman animals, and for this I am very grateful.
I wrote this book to help the world, people, animals and nature. Readers will benefit from the book in many ways, including improved health and relationship with their environments. This book and its readers can lead to the saving of countless lives, and the survival of thousands of species, including humans.
Im the early 1980s, I became aware of diet and disease, and I wrote this book to increase awareness of this important connection. This book can help others to make a transition to a more healthy and earth-friendly diet, and provide a better quality of life for individuals and communities.
Since I was a child, I was always interested in saving the forests and environment, but I became more aware of climate change after my son was born, and am very worried about the future he now faces. Jad is 9 years old and will be in his 90s if he lives to the end of the century. Even with a two-degree temperature limit, the world will be radically different then.
In the early 2000s, I began researching climate change and quickly realized how dire the situation was. I started a blog, composed several poems on extinction, wrote many articles on climate change, and created dozens of posters on climate and diet. I read the poems on open mics and public gatherings, and had an exhibition on climate and diet.
In 2014, I helped organized and attended the People's Climate March in September, and was inspired by the huge turnout of activists. I decided that after I returned to Los Angeles, I would write a book on an important climate change issue missing from the debate.
Long before undertaking this study, I was inspired by Dr. Robert Goodland's 2009 groundbreaking article on greenhouse gas releases from animal-based agribusiness. Goodland's article is becoming dated, and is largely dismissed by climate scientists and activists alike. Dr. Goodland's work is too important to be maligned and forgotten, and this book addresses his critics head on. I wrote this book to raise awareness on this vital issue, and as a tribute to Dr. Goodland, who recently transitioned.
Most importantly, I wrote this book for all the non-human creatures who are exploited each day by animal-based agribusiness, and for the billions of even more lives that will be exploited in the future. Finally, I wrote this book for the kids indoctrinated into compulsory carcass-consumption that is similar to their casual consumption of carbon-based fuels. The young may not fully realize the impact their consumption is having on their present and future lives, and it is important for adults to warn them about this.