The Daily Joe, August 26
Welcome to a new week. Today, I'm tackling a serious subject: why I am vegan. I'm warning you about the topic up front, so if this is not for you, I understand. Please, rejoin me tomorrow when I tackle a writing topic. For those of you staying...I promise I don't get graphic.
You didn't know I'm vegan? Well, I only talk about it sporadically, and while I have various characters turn up as vegetarian and vegan in my stories, I try to keep my food beliefs off the pages of my books. Sometimes, that's very difficult, especially when I'm writing about something like...ranching.
I'm going to start with some quotes:
"Quietly and unmistakably, the most powerful thing that someone can do for the environment. Um, no other lifestyle choice has a farther reaching and more profoundly positive impact on the planet and all life on earth than choosing to stop consuming animals and live a vegan lifestyle." Cowspiracy, 2014.
"If everyone stopped using oil and gas entirely, we would see these effects in a hundred years or so. But if everyone on earth were to go vegan, we would see these effects within decades." Kirk R Smith, Professor of Global Environmental Health at the University of California, Berkeley.
So let's go back eight years ago...
It was in July of 2011 that I became vegetarian. I wasn't terribly educated on the ins and outs, but it was my little teeny part in saving the world. That might sound dramatic, but through research, I had learned just how damaging our meat and dairy industry is to our world environment. So if asked why I went vegetarian, I would say: For the environment.
That soon included for my health then for animals.
In 2015, I went completely vegan. It was probably the best thing I have ever done for myself. I was very much a junk food vegetarian, as in I didn't eat a bunch of chips and cookies, but my food choices weren't terribly healthy. But when I went vegan, I learned a whole new way of cooking and I dropped over a hundred pounds (yes, you read that right. I dropped over a hundred pounds). I was eating super healthy for the first time in my life.
So if you asked why I went vegan, I would say: For my health.
But the thing is, it's not just for one reason. It's for the environment, it's for the animals, it's for my health...
All of those reasons.
If you look at nothing else, watch this. It's well researched and well-spoken (even if his conclusion could be better). Also, don't let his age throw you off. What he says sums up exactly what I'm saying. https://youtu.be/2bvoJAfjWMM
To tell the truth, I am sickened by how animals are treated by factory farming. I will not go into detail, but the atrocities visited on animals is heartbreaking. When someone says "but mmm bacon" to me when they find out I'm vegan, I want to scream and show them what it costs for that moment of bacon. I am not a militant vegan. I don't want people to cater to me, and I don't try to foist my way on others, so I don't engage.
And the environment... My heart breaks every day here. For the world, because we've reached a tipping point. The demand for meat and thereby the revenue it makes, leads to clear-cutting forests for animal pastures, for these factory farms I mentioned. Everyone is up in arms about the Amazon burning. The thing is, the Amazon is not burning. The Amazon is being burned. What we are seeing in the news is the result of the rain forest being burned to make room for more meat farming.
The Amazon which is responsible for 20% of our oxygen and most of the world's rain is being purposely burned. Without that rain, our own agriculture doesn't get the water it needs. Sort of long-reaching consequences. Of course, there are deniers, but science, people. Also...the world's not flat.
So, every year, there are natural wildfires all over the world. They didn't used to be natural in the Amazon; but with changing atmosphere they are becoming more common. But most of what's being shown in the news is on purpose. Purposeful burning. Brazil has rolled back environmental protections, and it allows for the clearing fires to be set.
This will lead to more global warming. Remember what I said about science. It's science... So here's the thing, less trees (let's keep it general), more warming. Making it worse, the main reason for the clearing is animal agriculture. At this time, animal agriculture is responsible for more than 50% of all greenhouse effect emissions. If we cut back on meat and thereby on the agriculture for meat, then we cut back on the emissions and as a side effect, cut back on greenhouse gasses and cut back on the demand for land to raise the animals and in turn also cut back on clear-cutting and deforestation.
So that is why I am vegan. For the animals, for the environment and in turn for me and the lives of others. Do I call on everyone to be vegan? Well, that would be great. I also know that is unrealistic. But what can you do to help the Amazon, to help the environment, to better the planet... Maybe, try meatless Mondays (or Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) and cut back on dairy. Even this can help.
I listed some resources below. Most of them are non-vegan by the way.
Thanks for sticking with me this far. And we're back to our regularly programmed book stuff tomorrow. I'm not going to do my daily goals today, as I usually do at the end of my post, because I want to just leave it here.
All the best,
Documentaries: Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, Earthlings, Vegucated, Plant Pure Nation, What the Health, Eating You Alive