Consumers can drive compassionate change – Ethos CEO Jill Ettinger -Sentientism Episode 130

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism podcast.

Jill has been a leading voice in digital media for more than a decade. She’s been published in outlets including MTV, The Huffington Post, and the Village Voice. She served as Head of Content for a popular vegan media platform from 2017-2020, with a reach of more than 50 million per month. She has worked with a number of impact media platforms to help build their traffic and positioning, as well as with leading brands and celebrities working to make the world a more sustainable and ethical space. Jill is the co-founder, CEO and Head of Content for Ethos.

In Sentientist Conversations we talk about the three most important questions: “what’s real?”, “who matters?” and “how can we make a better future?”

Sentientism is “evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” The audio is also on our Podcast here on Apple & here everywhere else.

We discuss:

00:00 Welcome

01:42 Jill’s Intro

  • Immersed in digital content
  • Co-founding
  • Vegan media & natural foods industries
  • The #Conspirituality podcast & #DavidWolfe

03:42 What’s Real?

  • “The religion that governed my house was #bobdylan “
  • Parents raised #Jewish, father became atheist, “7/11 jewish” mother
  • Kicked out of hebrew school “one of my father’s more proud moments”
  • Living with dad after parents split
  • Child of the 80’s “you’re on your own journey”
  • Constantine Sandis
  • Becoming a mum
  • Animals’ different realities
  • “We’re the chosen people… an egregious statement… how can one group matter more?.. after so much suffering”
  • #Israel & #palestine
  • Fond memories of Jewish culture but “as a rule to live by… not at all”
  • “this omnipresent god… directing every moment of my life… I wanted the autonomy”
  • #Agnostic. Open to the idea of “some sort of god”
  • #dogma
  • The risks of the #wellness / #spirituality worlds. #antivaxx, #Qanon, #alternativemedicine
  • Open-mindedness, evidence & gut-feel
  • #DavidWolfe shows a #moonlanding #conspiracy video
  • Distrust of authority
  • Scepticism about vaccines didn’t seem too serious “to each their own”. Then #covid19 hits
  • “I very much prefer to have science in my corner… but sometimes you can just tell”
  • A denial, scepticism, gullibility spectrum?
  • David Wolfe “leveraging science when it supported his narrative but slamming it when it didn’t”
  • Gossip as “a way to keep the tribal community safe”
  • “Conspiracy theories… we use them unconsciously to defend ourselves”

32:10 What & Who Matters?

  • “I don’t think you need religion to know good from bad”
  • @Sam Harris
  • Raising a #vegan child “she asked what it was and I said that used to be a pig’s stomach or back…”
  • “She seems very much to understand that basic level of compassion”
  • “The food is so delicious and so abundant… she’s never felt left out”
  • “Don’t you find it hard to be vegan?” “She was just confused by the question”
  • “I was always vegan but didn’t have a word for it.” Being disgusted by animal-based foods as a child but loving fruit & veg
  • Discovering Turkish food “really changed me”
  • 7th grade trying to go veggie w/a friend
  • “By my late teens I’d heard the word ‘vegan’… Oh, I’m vegan!… I never looked back.”
  • The Smiths “#Meat is Murder”
  • #Wildanimals suffering “who doesn’t feel sympathy…?”
  • “It’s shocking that you can get sympathy to that [wild animal suffering] while they’ve got a burger in their hand”
  • “Our choices matter”
  • Human & non-human caused harms
  • #Biocentrism, #Ecocentrism & links to spiritual worldviews?
  • #psychedelics & #ayahuasca “everything was completely connected… there was no separation… it all serves its purpose… except for mosquitoes” 🙂
  • The ethics of cutting a blade of grass vs. cutting a pig
  • Species/populations vs. individual sentients
  • Michael Pollan’s “Omnivore’s Dilemma”. Factory farming, non-factory farming, hunting
  • Hunting communities: “Do they have a communication with that animal that gives permission on some deep level”? (no)
    “We will evolve to eat far fewer animals… for the planet… & a moral obligation”
  • “We’re in free-fall” Covid, env., wars. Finding priority space for non-human animals is tough

01:01:55 A Better Future?

  • #genz & #genalpha give us hope
  • Ethos: “Telling these stories in the gentlest way… giving people choices.”
  • @Stella McCartney ‘s #sustainablefashion
  • #Cultivatedmeat approaching price parity
  • Compassion w/out sacrifice “We’re really just at the beginning”
  • JW “One day we won’t need the word #vegan”
  • “Institutional changes come about because of individual changes”
  • Ethical #capitalism / #consumerism ?
  • #justtransition
  • “I could never have dreamed…” #burgerking switching to vegan default

Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at

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Thanks to Graham for the post-production and to Denise for funding this episode via our Sentientism Patreon.

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