Why 'bad vegan' does not exist?
Have you caught a talk that WOMB's Maria gave during the Shi Fu Miz some weeks ago? If yes, you would already know of some alarming phenomena that might push some meat-eaters towards vegetarianism or veganism. On the other hand, if you are already “rooting for another team” and are vegan yourself, you might have also come across groups named “bad vegans” or alike - counting up examples of how vegans are “failing”. In this short article, we wanted to think about it for a second and explain why, according to us, there is no such thing as a bad vegan.
Let’s start off with some vegan facts. Did you know that...
It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce just 1 pound of meat, but it takes just 25 gallons to grow 1 pound of wheat. That means you save more water by not eating a pound of meat than you do by not showering for six months!
Every minute, 7 million pounds of excrement are produced by animals raised for food in the US
As many as 2.7 trillion animals are pulled from the ocean each year
Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction
80% of antibiotic sold in the US are for livestock
By assumption, being vegan most usually means that you are giving thought and getting educated about your food choices and what you put into your body. Eating plant-based is a conscious, educated choice, more often than just random or accidental diet preference. The vast majority of vegans have previously eaten meat or dairy but stopped for one reason or another. Choosing to eat healthier and not inflicting pain and sorrow on other living beings (is it killing them for meat or exploiting for dairy) with your dietary choices is already a good enough action to take on. And let’s not forget that veganism does not always relate only to diet. We have wrote about it before - materials like cashmere, silk, plywood, latex are all tricky because their production always or often enough involves using animal-based components (plywood, latex) or simply killing living creatures to source it (wool, cashmere, silk).
Both outside and inside of the vegan community, there is sometimes stigma on so called “bad vegans” and a lot of not-thought-through questions going around. Do you know that your plants feel pain as well? Do you know that my food eats your food? And when you eat this one egg or some milk chocolate the spotlight is on you instantly and the derogatory “I thought you were vegan” together with a judgmental face is thrown right your way. Vegans are expected to do 150% of the world goodness while the the vast majority of the population is doing their 5% or nothing at all. This is not the way and this is not fair. Small group of passionate “activists” cannot take responsibility for the pain everyone is causing collectively and taking the blame every time they go astray.
Veganism is not saving the world
… rather it is choosing not to be destroying it with the same passion that the majority of Earth population is. Every single lifestyle has negative impact on the planet, whether you are a vegan or a carnivore, a pescatarian, vegetarian or a freegan. What varies is the amount of negative impact and the speed that our actions push the global problem forward. Eating meat for 3 meals a day is incomparably more harmful than eating it seldom or not at all, regardless of whether we all take flights every month or not, or how we process our trash. Diet change is just one figure in a huge equation of our involvement with Planet Earth, but it’s a significant one. Being educated about what you eat, taking precautions not to eat food that makes you sick and giving a damn about the origin of the production of what you eat is an act of courage, which should be celebrated. It is hard to look at documentaries like Dominion or What The Health. Challenging the status quo and rejecting the habits we have been used to since we were children is an act of courage. Saying no to the easiest options is an act of courage.
That’s why “bad vegan” doesn’t exist.
If you are giving a damn, challenging and constantly educating yourself, you are already doing great. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.