Is Being Vegan Simply Enough?
This is a letter to all of you who chose a vegan lifestyle for ethically minded reasons. For the most part you probably believed in the sanctity of all life and want to help reduce the senseless suffering in the world, or you thought that intensive animal farming and the trappings that come with it are destroying the planet and this unsustainable way of life needs to change. You may hold more ethically driven beliefs beyond these. You may not. Either way I invite you to think back to those instances when you felt most strongly about the issue. Maybe it was after you visited a farm and understood the entire production process for the first time? Or maybe it was after watching countless documentaries on the horrors and devastation intensive animal farming thrives on?
Sometimes taking the step into veganism is simple and obvious, sometimes it is a real challenge. I applaud you nonetheless for having the resilience to do it. But before we start singing praises to all the vegans in the world I should probably get to the crux of the matter of which I am writing to you.
Is it enough?
Is it enough to be the only vegan in the village? Is it enough to change yourself and leave it at that? To feel good about your life decision and ride that wave to the end? Now it is not my intention to incite thoughts and feelings of shame or insufficiency in anyone. I simply want to raise the question: do your beliefs about animal farming reflect the life you are currently living?
I have been challenged by meat eaters and veggies alike for being vegan and not proselytizing for the cause. Is it the ego trap they tell me it is? Do I congratulate myself on being righteous? Was there a real sacrifice? Wasn’t it a bit too easy? What now? The world still sucks. I’ll be honest I didn’t respond well to these challenges at first. I saw them as irrelevant in regards to who they were coming from. I mean how can you talk, when you eat meat on a daily basis and ‘couldn’t possibly live without cheese’?
Then I began to think about it more. What was the point of me being vegan? One person doesn’t change a thing. My passive veganism might support the odd local vegan venture somewhat but realistically I’m not making the slightest impact on solving global warming. Whilst I’m sitting in my armchair enjoying my tofu the world still burns.
If my lifestyle is centered around being sustainable in an effort to reduce the impacts of global warming, then I should give a substantial amount of my time to making that an actuality.
Well, just some plant-based food for thought.
All the best,