Vegetarian Elite
 
Austrian Filmmaker Stefan Wolf: Visions of Paradise on Earth through Sustainable Eco-Communities (In German)      
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Today’s Vegetarian Elite will be presented in German and English, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Nepali, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Thai.

I felt somehow that the Universe co-created this film. There were a lot of coincidences and I happened to be at the right time, at the right moment.

Green going viewers, welcome to this week’s episode of Vegetarian Elite. Today we are proud to present the very talented Stefan Wolf, an inspirational young filmmaker from Austria who has recently produced and directed an exciting “must-see” documentary on successful vegetarian eco-communities across Europe.

An eco-community or eco-village is a settlement of people, where people have common shared ownership of the land, and strive to live a more sustainable lifestyle, which suits the humans, the animals, and the Earth. And by this of course, they are reducing their so-called ecological footprint, which is the impact on the Earth we have through our daily lifestyle.

Stefan’s documentary “A New We” highlights the people, the lifestyles, and the philosophies behind 10 diverse intentional communities located in eight European countries. It presents the possibilities of harmonious communal living, in close connection with Mother Earth, as a model of joyful, healthy, and sustainable ecological living for the future. Stefan explains how the project began.

Well, 3 years ago I used to live in an eco-village, which was just starting up, and there I got in contact with this idea the first time. And afterwards, after half a year, I did an extensive journey in Australia and in New Zealand, where I visited several of these eco-communities and I was very inspired. So when I came back to Europe I thought, “Wow, okay! I want to know more about European eco-villages. I want to visit well established eco-communities and eco-villages which really work.”

And at the same time I thought it’s important that more people get information about this, and therefore I set out to create this documentary which presents a broad variety of these kinds of lifestyles.

A universal theme of eco-communities is the shared use of land and resources. The communities, often established through an association or social cooperative, are held together by a commitment to a common vision, a common set of values, or a common faith or spirituality. Another feature of eco-villages is a strong sense of connectedness with the Earth and each other, and a shared role in decision-making about matters affecting the land and the community.

The idea is that we are not separating each other from one another, but we are seeing us as a bigger family, and therefore we also make decisions together and we share. We share common goods, for example. Some of the eco-villages they only use 3-4 cars, around 100 people are using it and having a timetable where they see, “Okay, the car is free there, I need it there,” and then they write their name where they need it. And so it’s generally the attitude that we are a bigger family, that we are not separated from each other, but we are one. So the choices that I make, they affect all the other people as well, and therefore I’m considering also the other people.

In keeping with the ideal of sustainable living, the eco-villages featured in Stefan’s documentary adopt the organic vegetarian or vegan lifestyle because of its greatly reduced impact on the environment and more loving connection with Mother Earth.

Most of the eco-villages make the choice to have their community kitchen that is at least vegetarian or vegan. The ethical issue is a very big reason; it might be the biggest one. It’s just natural that the plant-based diet is seen as much more beneficial on all levels.

A committed vegan himself, Stefan hopes that his documentary will help raise awareness of the benefits of the vegan lifestyle.

Certainly some people speak out for it. They mention some reasons why they live vegetarian or vegan. And since people who see the documentary can also see how beautiful their lives are, it might be even clearer to them that it is very beneficial to the people.

Just when you look at the overall wellbeing and health of the people and that they are also, in general, more peaceful inside. And since they are not taking all this cruelty inside them by eating the flesh of exploited animals, it’s much easier to be more peaceful inside as well. And of course this benefits your health and it benefits of course your surroundings as well. We are all striving for love and for happiness, and we have this in common. So let’s see how we can achieve this together. What’s the most beneficial way for all of us?

Stefan shares with us his decision to become vegan and how this became a major turning point in his life.

I had an amazing blissful state when I made this decision; it was awesome. It was as if some kind of angels kind of whispered to me and said, “Stefan, you’ve got it!” And it just felt very, very awesome and happy and relieved. Yeah, this was the turning point. And afterwards I found out much deeper ways of how the vegan life even affects the environment on so many different levels.

Stefan’s inspiration to adopt a plant-based diet came when he was living amongst a vegan community in New Zealand.

I was basically seeing what amazing people they are, how loving they are. It inspired me a lot. I took this time there to take a deep look into my food choices and I dealt with it. I read books about it and I watched especially films about it. And one film, which is called “Peaceable Kingdom,” affected me very strongly.

I just realized that since my aim, my goal is to become more and more loving, to come closer and closer to real true unconditional love, I realized what I was seeing there, this exploitation of the animals, has nothing to do at all with love. And for me it became very obvious that I’m stopping this and I’m not going to participate any more in this violence.

After this film I was lying in my caravan, and I was like, oh I was shaking. It was like inside of me everything was like moving, because I knew I’m going to make this change now; it will change my whole life. It was like inside of me something shifted then, and I said, “Yes! I’ll do it. I want to be a vegan now. I want to set myself free. I want to set the animals free.”

When I was vegetarian and still had milk products and pretty much after every meal where there was butter inside or whatever milk product, I felt kind of a tiredness. It was not nice. It didn’t have a good influence on my body. And after I became vegan, this also dropped away. So I felt much more comfortable with my body, everything.

Stefan’s wholehearted enthusiasm for the benefits of the plant-based diet has been instrumental in encouraging many of his friends to become vegan. He has also become active in sharing this important message to others.

I translated for example, “The World Peace Diet” discourse from Dr. Will Tuttle into German. And also some friends of mine after listening to this deep message of Dr. Will Tuttle, they also understood it in such a deep way that a lot of them went vegan. I mean, even slaughter men went vegan; previous slaughter men went vegan. Or for example, just some weeks ago, a hunter from America, he read “The World Peace Diet” by Dr. Will Tuttle and through this he was so touched and had such a realization that he became a vegan. And yeah, so we can change as humans.

Stefan’s childhood was spent living on a farm surrounded by nature amidst the beautiful Austrian countryside. Even as a child, Stefan felt uncomfortable with the idea of raising animals for slaughter. Stefan explains how this aspect of his childhood helped influence his change to a vegan lifestyle.

We had a small farm and my parents used to slaughter animals, and pigs especially. And I even was kind of forced to help. Not with killing itself but afterwards with all this bloody work. I never liked it. It was the smell was very weird to me. And now I realize how crazy it is to spend so much work on raising animals.

We used all of this corn, this amazing amount of corn to feed it to all the animals so we can slaughter them in the end, which was so much work. I can see it now so clearly that when you imprison the animals, actually you make yourself a slave, because there is so much work to do when you steal the freedom of the animals. And it’s a big waste of energy and time.

We asked Stefan what sparked his interest in making documentaries and what has been the most satisfying aspect of his filmmaking career to date.

The interest was that I know that films or documentaries can have pretty much a strong impact on people’s life. You can reach pretty much a lot of people with this medium of film. And since I want to make a positive change on this Earth, I know that by creating films which support a positive future is a very effective way. My proudest moments are certainly when people are so touched when they see a film and really make a change. I still now receive emails that people write how grateful they are, which gives them new hope to know about these eco-villages and these different lifestyles. And then often it changed a course of direction.

When instead of a normal holiday, where they changed their trip now to an eco-village trip. And these are very touching moments when I see it really has a very strong positive impact on the people. It really, it changes their life. In essence I want to show the world, “Hey, look! There are so many people who are taking action and making fundamental changes which are beautiful and which benefit all beings and the Earth.” I want to make people realize that they can do that too, and they can also start now to get on that track and help to create a paradise on Earth.

As well as translating, promoting, and distributing “A New We,” Stefan has plans for further creative endeavors including a music project and a new documentary.

The next new one will be in New Zealand where I will film a vegan community. The vegan community actually where I became a vegan. And I want to make just a documentary just about them in more detail, which gives a lot of details and insights how they are living and how they are organized.

In light of his extensive study and experience of eco-villages in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, we asked Stefan to describe the ideal eco-community he would create if given the opportunity.

For the beginning, a smaller community of between 10 and 12 people, and living together on common owned land. And it shall be a vegan, nature integrated community. It means living very close to nature and with a high degree of self-sufficiency. And where people who I’m living with, are really like my beloved ones, and we have a common shared vision, which is basically to create a vegan paradise on Earth, where all beings can be free and happy.

In a June 2008 videoconference with our Association members from Surrey, United Kingdom, Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke of this heavenly world that would manifest in just a matter of weeks should the world become completely veg.

If the world were to go 100% vegetarian right now, the good effect of it would be seen within more or less 60 days. 8 short weeks yeah. And what kind of Earth would we live in? It would be Eden again.

We will have sudden peace, and sudden realization of sameness between all nations, between all humans and between humans and animals. And people will have respect even for trees and plants.

Things would be more lushful, abundant. People will feel happier, even without reason, they will not know why they feel happy, and food will be enough everywhere. River will run plentiful again. Disasters will cease. Heaven will smile on humans and good wishes will be fulfilled. That is a kind of Eden, yes. If we are to be vegetarian, all of the humans on the planet, that would be the effect.

We thank Supreme Master Ching Hai for these hopeful revelations, and Mr. Stephan Wolf for advancing this shared vision of a peaceful, vegan planet through his artistry.

Please visit www.NewWe.info for more about Stefan Wolf’s documentary “A New We”

Warm-hearted viewers, we thank you for your company today on Vegetarian Elite. Join us on Our Noble Lineage tomorrow, May 8, to watch Stefan Wolf’s inspiring documentary “A New We.” Coming up next is Between Master and Disciples. May your day be blessed with gratitude for the bountiful gifts of nature, the nurturing company of loved ones, and the daily joys that surround us.



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