I recently found myself one of two vegans (an ally!) at a work meeting of about ten extremely bright people. The subject of veganism came up when I innocuously commented on a co-worker's handbag, which happened to be a relatively obscure, vegan company (Viva Zapata). The conversation easily segued into veganism in general, as other meeting attendees made different off-hand, somewhat apologetic remarks no doubt triggered in response to being trapped in a room with more than one vegan (hooray for me). Faced with two vegans, the innate guilt was astoundingly apparent. One woman mentioned that she's practically a vegetarian, but insisted that she's very environmentally-minded. When I instinctively replied, "You can't be a meat-eating environmentalist," she was astounded by the idea (I know; easy crowd when these one-liners spark introspection). Another informed us that she was previously vegan, but loves yogurt (!) and soy couldn't pass muster. We've come a long way, baby! This was too easy. And then..."I do eat meat, but I only buy free-range". Did you hear the sound? It wasn't a balloon deflating; it was my momentum.
|Woodstock Farm Sanctuary|
But the difference between the non-vegans I was having a conversation with on this day and the combative ones who hide behind the internet (etc.) is that- whether out of curiosity or genuine concern, the former were interested in something outside of their bubble and open- at least, to a dialogue. The latter are simply the type who don't want to hear about your international vacation because America is the best country in the world and so they've no need to travel.
Times have changed. Information abounds, but you have to be open to hearing it. So here is my proffering. Forget the online psychos; those battles are not worth the energy. Concentrate on the thoughtful folks who are open to new ideas of thinking and living.
|show Food Fight some love|
|being vegan is hard|
|yep; all vegan|
Invite non-vegans over for dinner.
Be generous with your favorite vegan items. Share, share, share. But most of all, share. Not everyone knows that veganism is more than a diet. Not everyone acknowledges that there are alternatives to animal tested merchandise. When you see an opportunity, grab it. Plant the seeds. There's more to talk about than tv and the weather.
Remember, it's not about perfection; it would be impossible to live in this world and not inadvertently harm a living being. Do your absolute best, concentrating on doing the least harm...and pass it on.
As a side note, a co-worker brought a box of cookies into work today. This was sitting atop:
So much gratitude.