It would seem to me that there are certain choices in our daily lives that go easily hand in hand. Want to be healthier? Eat healthier (as Michael Pollan says, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”), be more active, make conscious choices, find your balance. Want to lessen your impact on the planet? See above.
So, how is it that there are so many times at which being environmentally conscious is directly at odds with being vegan?
First, a little background. I have been vegetarian for almost ten years now. Growing up on a farm, I gained an appreciation for the sentient beings that share our planet, the food that nourishes our bodies, and the beautiful earth that supports our population. As I got older, I started transitioning to a more plant-based diet for health reasons. Along the way, my reasons for not eating meat evolved to include the (personal) moral implications as well as the health reasons.
Over the past six months or so, a transition to veganism just happened. Along with the other changes in my life, it just made sense to start cutting out other animal products. I’m not completely there yet, but I’m on my way. Healthier me; healthier, happier planet.
However, I wish it were that simple. Here’s where I have run into the dichotomy of my choices. Many environmentally sustainable options involve animal products, leather being a prime example. Want vegan shoes? Most of your options involve petroleum products. Using oil to produce substitutes for leather? Sad planet. *insert sad trombone here*
That being said, veganism has become more of a mainstream lifestyle choice, and our options are increasing. There are more people who have come to the realization that their eating habits are just as important as any other habits when it comes to the environment. Do I have all the answers? No – definitely not. Am I making the most conscious choices I can as I navigate this life, and am I hopeful that this will become less of an issue with the passage of time? Yes – definitely.
I would love to hear about any choices that you have in your life that on the outside appear to be straightforward, but are more difficult upon closer inspection!