Thursday, August 29, 2013

In a vegan tomorrow, would vegans be happy?

Bad celebration picture. Fireworks aren't vegan.
Imagine it! Tomorrow - no animal farms torturing animals for profit. No enslaved mother cows and orphaned baby calves. No more animals being skinned alive for their fur. No more male chicks being ground up or smothered in plastic bags. No more reading labels for casein, whey, lard, gelatine...

Think of the vegan celebrations! Vegans worldwide would be so happy...

Maybe. For a little while, anyway.

Making a better world

Vegans would be happy if all the above happened. But it wouldn't be long before other targets arose. Because the only one who shares your exact vision is you. A vegan world, overnight or gradual, might still not grant your wishes.

Would a vegan world still have:
  • carnivorous companion animals
  • uncontrolled human population growth
  • abortion
  • pest control
  • religion
  • political parties
  • guns
  • nuclear power
  • wars
  • fake meat
  • junk food
  • economic divide
  • humans being stupid and selfish

Vegan wars are legendary. Many vegan activists would quickly move on to the next global problem, or argue that the world is not vegan enough yet.

Hypothetical, so who cares?

The world today is imperfect. But a vegan world would still be imperfect, with problems desperately needing solutions. (The house will never be clean, and the world will never be perfect.)

We absolutely, positively need people who work to make the world a better place. Humans are great problem-solvers.

But activist burnout is very real and dangerous to mental health. Every day, a vegan shares anger and despair over the billions of animals suffering right now, or the people responsible. Every day, even more vegans feel but don't share.The knowledge of the problems leads to a feeling of overwhelming responsibility. There is no end to the problems, and one human, or one group, can't encompass the solution.

So today, while we work for a better world, we also must make space every day to celebrate, personally, the good things about this one. If we forget to enjoy this world, how will we remember how to enjoy a better one?

What is one good thing about your world today?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

1 Simple Step to Say No to Plastic Shopping Bags (and still take out the rubbish)

We all know how bad plastic bags are for our earth.

Watch an orca calf and a dolphin experiencing the wonder of a plastic bag that could have been yours, for all you know. We all know that we should be taking reusable bags or boxes to the stores, and sometimes we even remember.

(For more motivation, check out the free film Addicted to Plastic.)

But it can be hard to turn down a free bag, and lots of us still find those plastic shopping bags useful around the house, especially as liners for messy kitchen rubbish bins. Even though I work hard to reduce my waste, so did I - until now.

One Simple Step - Attitude Adjustment

"Nom, nom....nom?"
Many foods already come in plastic packages. So now, your empty bags are not rubbish, they are rubbish bags.

In other words, don't use bags to throw away more bags.


I buy several products in bulk, so this is simple for our house. When a bag of rice, pretzels or chips is empty, I trim off the top and put it under the sink near the kitchen bin.
  • They aren't 100% clean, but they won't stay there for too long anyway.
  • They aren't the perfect size, but remember the orcas and dolphins?
Even if you don't buy in bulk, you will probably have other moderate-size grocery items you can use. Regular cereal and chip bags can hold a good amount of messy mess.

Use your imagination; it is worth it. Orcas and dolphins and turtles and seals. I even use the bags that hold toilet paper - they're not very strong but they can still hold their share for long enough to get to the big bins.
"Does this scarf look good on me?"

It Really Works

I now really really hate to see new plastic shopping bags come into the house. "What am I going to do with that? My bag holder is totally full!"

And I still have several food bags waiting under the sink to hold the kitchen mess.

Another plastic reduction tip

Never put a half-empty plastic bag in the rubbish. When you're throwing stuff away in a plastic bag, and if you're not late for a visit to the Dalai Lama, take a few extra steps around your house and find other rubbish to fill up that bag.

No Such Thing as a Free Plastic Bag

Three cheers for those stores who now charge a small fee to help you think twice about getting a plastic bag!

"Squawk! Thank You!"