I’ve been a vegetarian for a number of years; not for the first time as I’ve always crumbled and my will-power has failed me. This time though I’m in for the long-haul and I’ve gone one step further – veganism… I can’t claim to be liberal and an advocate of equality if it’s limited to just one of the millions of species of life on the planet. If I’m to advocate cruelty free, then that must surely extend to the rest of the animal kingdom?
One of the most annoying questions I get asked if I have to announce that I have a plant-based diet is ‘what do you eat?’ This is a question from pure ignorance as if one is to use their imagination they’ll realise that a plant-based diet requires you to sometimes leave your comfort zone and try food that you wouldn’t have previously considered, and as someone who’s not particularly food motivated this has been an important journey of experimental cuisine for me.
“Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment.” – Vegan Society
I’ve just watched the documentary Seaspiracy on Netflix and it’s rather evident that sea fishing is the biggest pollutant of the ocean and the ecosystem is on the brink of collapse due to the near extinction of fish in important areas of the oceanic food chain. An ecosystem has to be in a stable equilibrium to survive and when important elements of it are destroyed or disrupted then it causes a butterfly effect that affects all. One of the most important social critics of the 20th century once said:
“I’m tired of this back-slappin’ “isn’t humanity neat” bullshit. We’re a virus with shoes.” – Bill Hicks
Of course I’m not anti-human but is this just a planet for humanity and every other species must suffer to suit our needs? Or is this an extremely diverse ecosystem where billions of species of bird, fish, animal and insects co-habitate and play their roll in the continuation of life. Life has been on this planet for billions of years and will hopefully be here for billions more, and when humanity has breathed its last breath then finally the Earth can begin to repair itself.
What other species in our planet’s history has had such an impact?!
We’ve hunted animals to extinction, and not always for survival, but for trophies.
We’ve torn down forests to build homes, and polluted the skies with toxic gases.
We’ve poisoned the oceans, and put a price on the life of innocent animals.
If the world’s population continues to grow at the scale of the past hundred years (6 billion increase) then there’s simply not going to be enough meat to sustain everyone and humanity is going to have no option but to consider a plant-based lifestyle. So is plant based the future?!