I Love Animals But I Could Never Give Up {Insert Blank}

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Besides your typical excuses for not becoming vegan, there’s another interesting point that I’m starting to hear more of. People are saying that they understand what’s happening but don’t have the mental capacity to become vegan right now. And that there are more pressing issues that need to be addressed first.

I think this statement is extremely fascinating. The keyword here is mental capacity.

This is a common feeling for many of us.

“I know there are billions of animals being slaughtered each year but I’d prefer not to think about it as I’m going through a tough time.”

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“I’m aware that fossil fuels are destroying our planet but I feel too helpless to make an impact.”

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“I know that a young child was paid an absurdly low wage to make this jacket but that’s just the way of the world. What can I do?”

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I get it. I too was once overwhelmed with how broken the world is and found it much easier to turn a blind eye to it.

And the truth is, we still don’t know even a fraction of what’s really happening behind the scenes.

In this post, I want to share a few thoughts to help address the concerns around not having the capacity to make a difference.

Don’t aim for perfection, aim for progress

As humans we feel strongly about contradictions. If you’re going to do something, you need to do it correctly, right?

I have a different point of view. Even though I became vegan overnight and haven’t looked back since, I do still think it’s OK to be flexible when exploring such a change.

It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach, although this can be very effective.

An alternate path to veganism could look something like this:

  1. Give up chicken and seafood
  2. Give up red meat
  3. Give up eggs
  4. Give up dairy
  5. Give up leather
  6. Give up honey
  7. Give up glycerin
  8. Give up wool

Again, you could make the change instantly, or you could make the change over time.

Either way, with each decision, you’re lessening your impact on animals.

According to PETA, you can save 8+ animals a month, or 100+ animals a year by not eating them.

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If you’re interested, here’s a more in depth article about how many animals a vegetarians saves each year.

If you’re more interested in saving lessening your footprint on the planet, Kathy Freston, best selling author and activist put together the following statistics on what would happen if everyone in the US went vegetarian for just one day.

The US would save:

  • 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months;
  • 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year;
  • 70 million gallons of gas—enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare;
  • 3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware;
  • 33 tons of antibiotics.

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would prevent:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France;
  • 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages;
  • 4.5 million tons of animal excrement;
  • Almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant.

The Ripple Effect

We grossly underestimate ourselves.

What might seem insignificant to you could have an indirect ripple affect on those around you.

I can’t tell you how many times my tiny actions and comments have helped to spread the awareness of veganism. Even just labelling myself as a vegan has gone a long way.

I’ve had friends who meet someone else and the topic consuming meat comes up. They both go on to discuss how they each have a friend who is vegan. Whether they agree with veganism or not, they’re talking about it, which they never would of been doing, if I didn’t say, “I’m vegan, and I don’t eat animals”.

Here are some more examples of how simple actions and gestures can have a ripple effect on those around you:

  • I bring my own jars and bags with me every time I buy groceries
  • I only have a few items of clothing that I really like
  • I would love to adopt a child one day
  • I only buy fair trade coffee

Little comments like these are things people around you will remember. And even if they forget about that moment, you’ve opened up their subconscious to be more aware of the impact of their actions.

So next time you think that you can’t give up meat, think about how the simple act of saying no to meat for your next meal can have an impact on the world.

Then once you realise how easy it is, you’ll have the confidence to say no again for next time.

7 comments… add one
  • Chiara 21/11/2016 Reply

    Hi Micheal,
    Thanks for another inspiring post!
    About leather I’ve not given it up but trying to buy used leather jacket or shoes which might not be effective but at least a starting point.
    Bought my winter leather jacket at a flea market years ago and still use it.
    I understand it would be more effective and coherent to give up on leather but I guess I have to start somewhere.
    Throw away good leather clothes is probably not ethical as well…
    Just my personal thoughts.
    Thanks, ciao
    Chiara

    • melanie 22/11/2016 Reply

      i think buying previously used leather products is def effective. i also choose not to purchase leather, but will buy previously use. ox

    • Namrata 23/11/2016 Reply

      As a new vegan I too kept my old leather handbag. But with time my views changed. When we use any animal product, we are in a way sending out the message that it’s OK to commoditize animals which goes against the basic tenet of animal rights that “animals are not ours to use.” Leather is not a necessity and we can find non-animal alternatives for that. Don’t throw away your old leathers/woolens, donate them to a homeless shelter instead. Tho there are vegans who bury their leather/wool products in a symbolic gesture as animal skin or fur are not “products” for us to use.

  • melanie 22/11/2016 Reply

    michael:
    what are the benefits of reducing glycerin use?
    thank you.
    ox

    • Hi Melanie,

      A lot of people swear by glycerin. However it’s normally derived from animal fats, therefore it’s not vegan friendly. PETA has an interesting list of animal-derived ingredients http://www.peta.org/living/other/animal-ingredients-list/

    • Namrata 23/11/2016 Reply

      Melanie, what do you use glycerin for? Glycerin can be derived from both animals and plants. If you do have to use glycerin for whatever purpose, search for the certified plant based ones. Otherwise I’m sure you would be able to find good vegan alternatives for the same purpose.

  • Lore 22/01/2017 Reply

    Okay I’m cocvennid. Let’s put it to action.

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