Here it is 3:30 PM in the afternoon, with me still in my pajamas, debilitated by my current bout of depression. The thing keeping me going today is a statement I heard Bob Barker make in a video, something to the effect of, “If you feel defeated, you can’t help anyone.”
I have to admit, prior to being vegan or even vegetarian, I didn’t know many others in the community, but the ones I did know were kind and compassionate, yearning to teach and spread their love to save mankind. This is why I never understood why people feared vegans or had such a negative point of view of the community. I never came across any of the feared militant types until after becoming vegan, and even more after starting this blog.
In the first few months of writing the blog I was told I wasn’t vegan because I used chocolate in a recipe. This had me so confused. My chocolate didn’t have bone char sugar or dairy. After exchanging banter with my accuser, I found out that it was because animals were killed in the farming of chocolate.
What? As a compassionate vegan I have to eliminate foods where animals are harmed in the farming. Being a perfectionist and super hard on myself this gave me an instant anxiety attack. In my teens I worked on a vegetable farm for the summer in Germany, where I quickly learned that animals were killed constantly by tractor tires and blades. It was inevitable, unless everything was done by hand. I also know that most farmers with nut orchards have to kill squirrels to protect their crops. Knowing this, if I eat nuts, does that also make me not vegan?
Working 50 hours a week there is no way I could possibly maintain a garden to provide for my family and unless I could do that, it was impossible to guarantee that there were no animals harmed, so therefore, I could never be completely vegan. According to many, if you are not completely vegan, you are not vegan at all, so this created quite a dilemma. In this community that I so wanted to be a part of, I was already an outsider.
Later, I also found out that coconuts are not vegan because they use monkey’s as slaves to pick said coconuts. Oh yeah, and bananas, sugar and soy also aren’t vegan because their crops are killing animals and the planet in general. When you really get down to it, is there anything we have done as humans that have not endangered animals or our planet? Most of the housing tracts took over some animals’ environment, the roads we commute on, whether by bus, car, bike, or foot, covered some animals’ home. Lets not even get into the planes or boats we travel on to visit far away lands, or the invasive species we transfer to these other lands without even knowing. My head hurts just thinking about. In general, humans are the worst things that every happened to this planet.
Last month, while planning our little vegans birthday, I reached out to our friends on Facebook for ideas on food. Little did I know, this would lead to a war about palm oil, because someone mentioned Earth Balance, which would lead to people telling others that they weren’t vegan if they used Earth Balance or any palm oil, even if it was from a sustainable source, because they felt the idea of sustainable palm oil was a fallacy. Unfortunately, this is not the only time I have witnessed such behavior on vegan sites.
This is where the need for teachers come in. Okay, play along with me in this hypothetical situation for a moment:
You are a student working towards a degree in a field you are passionate about. A field that you have dedicated your entire life to and you can’t imagine where your life would be if you don’t make it. On one of the papers you turn in, you wrote something that your professor did not agree with and instead of doing their job and discussing it with you in private or gently trying to show you and the others in your class how your theory was misguided, they yell at you in front of your peers and tell you that due to the fact that you didn’t have the same information, you are never going to make it in the field. Point blank, no discussion.
When we are trying to educate in this fashion, no matter how important the lesson is, it is lost. Vegans in general are compassionate. They have made huge changes to their life, in order to save animals. They are already going against the norm and take no issue with making a stand. They deserve more respect than for someone else to come tell them they are not vegan. If they were presented with the information and told, “Hey, I can’t support Earth Balance, why don’t you check this out and see why.” Maybe then they would not feel attacked and want to learn, and maybe even join the fight.
When we decide, that we as individuals are the ones who pick and choose who is vegan, it makes us seem like we are an elite group, trying to weed out those not worthy. I personally did not become vegan or start this blog for that reason. I want to spread the word, sell vegan-ism to save the animals and planet, continue to learn, and to teach people along the way on how to be the best vegan possible and never tell them they aren’t good enough. Where is the compassion in that?
Enough of my rant. I would love if we could educate each other on palm oil, being as it seems to be a topic tearing apart our community. I have watched Green, searched Google for information about Palm Oil Deforestation, and Sustainable Palm Oil. I also found this blog post from Eating Consciously, Palm Oil is Vegan, for a different perspective. Please share any information you have, I for one want to be educated.
Oh, and if your head doesn’t hurt too bad, check out the Top 10 Ways Man is Destroying the Environment, where you will learn by simply having children we are killing things.