Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Embracing my inner annoying vegan

Ya, it's like that. (Public domain photo)
I used to take offense when omnivores told me vegans were annoying. Now, I laugh it off and take it as a compliment. Well, maybe not a compliment, but certainly it means that someone is listening. If I wasn't getting through to them on some level, they wouldn't get so annoyed, would they? And if they weren't so hell bent on having their own way, despite the fact that the rest of us are being forced to go down the tubes with them, they wouldn't consider us annoying either, would they?

The fact that I am thought of as annoying doesn't really bother me so much any more. Why not? Well, it's because the more I learn about the impact a meat and dairy based diet is having on the entire planet, other animals notwithstanding, the less guilty I feel about annoying the crap out of people until they get the message, stop making lame excuses and change their “evil” ways.

Figuratively, of course. I would never personally and purposefully bombard or target any individual with my personal beliefs. That would be wrong and it would make them feel bad. I should know. Omnivores have been doing it to me for more than 30 years.

I am preaching a non-violent life. I am suggesting that we live in harmony. I am suggesting that we get as close to nature as possible in this day and age in order to get the earth back in balance. (Which, for humans (we are primates, after all) means eating our fruits and veggies, not other creatures.)

I'm not mean, mean spirited or violent towards those who disagree with me. I'm not asking anyone to kill someone in the name of God, tradition or any other nonsense.

I'm just asking people to be kind to each other and the other animals we share the planet with. Isn't that deplorable?

It's not, of course. And if asking people to make an effort to do the least harm possible to all offends anyone, I say, tough crap. I don't need rude, purposefully ignorant, violence loving, biased friends. I'm not better than anyone, but I do try to avoid those who feel their lives have nothing to do with anyone else's. We are all connected, folks. Being peaceful brings about peace for all, no matter how you look at it.

And so, I am embracing my inner annoying vegan because she knows what she's talking about and she cares. Not just about herself and her own needs and tastes, but about every single living thing in existence, including all those people who have labeled her “annoying.”

So there. LOL, chuckle, snort....

Why won't my vegan friend come to my BBQ?

Gee, I can't imagine why your vegan friend might not enjoy this. Public Domain photo
You'll be making special vegan food, just for them. You plan on cooking their food on a different grill. You're happy to make any other allowances to make them comfortable. Why won't your vegan friend come to your BBQ?

The simplest answer is, of course that your barbecue isn't vegan. Sure, you are making certain they have vegan food. You are willing to go out of your way to accommodate their needs. That's commendable. Unfortunately, it doesn't change the fact that the rest of the folks there will be celebrating in the most “un-veganny” manner possible.

Connect with the vegan view of your BBQ.

People will be sucking meat from the bones of other animals. They will be drooling over the bloody nastiness sizzling on the grill. They will be sharing recipes that further disrespect other beings. In short, a BBQ is probably the least appealing event on the planet for most vegans.

There will be no shortage of reminders that this is an omnivore gathering, despite the fact that there is a little vegan food to eat. An omnivorous BBQ is every vegan's nightmare. Asking a vegan to attend your BBQ is like asking a die hard Christian to come worship Satan with you.

That being said, I have attended the BBQ's of a few non-vegan friends in my day. However, it was more out of consideration for the friendship than because I thought I would have a great time there. And I have to add that I will not be doing it again unless forced by some social obligation that is simply unavoidable.

Why? Because it's just plain disgusting. It goes against everything I stand for. It nauseates me. It's uncomfortable. It's unnecessary. We can go to a movie or something, right? Do we have to sacrifice several animals for the sake of our friendship? Nope.

So please, don't do me the favor of inviting me to your omnivore BBQ out of some sense of social obligation or for any other reason. I don't want to come. I will not have a good time. I will be surrounded by reminders of a way of life that repulses me.

But do call me. I am still your friend. In fact, I'll do almost anything else with you that you like. Not only that, you are perfectly welcome to come to my Vegan BBQ where no one dies and everyone eats delicious food and has tons of fun.

Unless my non-violent lifestyle offends you in some way, of course. Because the last thing I want is to make you uncomfortable or push my lifestyle on you.

Enough said?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Aside from veganism

Connect with your trashy ways (Public domain photo)
Since going vegan, I've started reconnecting with other things that help everyone (human and other creatures) and everything on this planet. I'm in this weird stage where, while I try not to pry, I can't help but notice that the human conscience or sense of awareness and injustice has gone on vacation. Aside from veganism, here's a few examples to illustrate my point.

Stop being a glutton – People are starving.

Whether you are vegan or not, please be aware that while you're wolfing down that second helping or running to the store for dessert when you're already stuffed to the gills, there are little children (and adults) dying of starvation. Why not take that extra money you spend getting fat and help someone who truly needs it buy food or water? Use portion control for a good cause!

Stop buying crap you don't need – It's a waste of resources.

Advertisers work really hard to make us think we need things that we really only want. I just recently had to buy a smart phone because the company I get service from is switching to a new platform. The old dinosaur phone I've had for 6 years is not compatible with it. However, if they hadn't decide to do that, I would have kept the old one until it went to cell phone heaven.

Why? Because the more we buy, the more they make and therefore, the more resources are used up. As far as I know, there is no such thing as unlimited resource on this planet. Once everything is gone, we're gone too. So, stop bragging about your shop-a-holic habits, collections, doo-dads, gizmos and gadgets. Start caring about something besides your own selfish “needs.” You're better than that. Be responsible. Save something for future generations. As it is right now, they may not even have a future at all.

Be kind to people – even those you don't care for.

We vegans are constantly preaching about being kind to other animals. That's important. It's absolutely vital for our own survival. However, I have noticed that some vegans are not as kind to other human beings. Yes, it's true, humans can take care of themselves, whereas, other animals have no choice in the way they're treated. I also get that non-vegans can be quite abrasive toward vegans. Boy, do I ever! That doesn't give us an excuse to be rude, sarcastic and just plain mean to other people. So, let's practice what we preach and direct kindness and compassion toward all.

Be good for goodness sake.

I'm going to tell you I'm an atheist here. However, it's not because I wish to prove I'm smarter or better or superior to those with opposing beliefs. It's just to illustrate a point. It seems that we have gotten into the habit of thinking that we have to be good people, because if we don't, we'll go to hell. That's all well and good, except for one thing.

We shouldn't have to be threatened into good behavior. In fact, I'm actually slightly more motivated to be good, because, as an atheist, I feel this life is all we get. I have no second chances. This is my one and only chance to do right by everyone and I'm going to make the most of it. I won't be meeting anyone on the other side to apologize for my behavior, so I have to make things right now.

Use proper disposal methods.

Is anyone else tired of seeing trash everywhere? What ever happened to waiting for a trash can? What ever happened to recycling? In my experience, most people don't actually make an effort to keep trash out of landfills, either. If they have no easy way to recycle something, into the trash can it goes. I've done it myself, but I'm stopping all that right now.

If I don't have a way to recycle what I use, or I don't use enough to be worth a trip to the recyclers, I'm still going to save it for someone who does to take. It's just sad to throw away items that can be reused or recycled when the earth is absolutely being raped and ravaged to create more. It's not just wasteful, it's completely counter-productive.

Quit buying into shows like “House Hunters”

It makes me nauseous when I see people touring million dollar homes and picking apart every little cosmetic detail. “Oh gosh, honey, the kitchen is soooo outdated. Why, we'll have to gut the whole thing. Did you see that old fireplace? It's totally 1960's.” So what? Are you are aware that there are people who would give up their last meal for an 8x10 shed with a mattress to sleep on?

Stop being so darn picky. Caring means not acting like a spoiled brat. It means realizing that the extra money you spend on pointless renovations could help someone who has true need of shelter from the storms. Sure, you can do a little painting here and there. No one is begrudging you that. But do you really need a $50,000. kitchen? No. You WANT it. You don't NEED it. Living without it means that spare 50 grand you have in your hip pocket could buy several tiny homes for several homeless families.

I keep hearing people say they feel powerless.

As vegans, we know that's simply not true. Every person we convince to go vegan creates less demand for the animal products that are killing us, other creatures and the entire planet at alarming rates. The issues caused by human greed and wastefulness are not limited to meat and dairy based diets. They are absolutely overwhelming. It's true. However, there is something we can all do on a personal level to change things for the better or at least slow down the clock. We can apply that same vegan conviction (that all life matters and one person can make a difference when combined with the effort of many such persons) to other kind causes, like the ones above. Veganism aside, it's just the right thing to do.

Are vegans the new hippies?

Saw a post in a vegan forum by a younger member. The question posed was, “Are most vegans pot smokers? Because that would be really cool!” I thought it was kind of silly and maybe placed a bit more importance on pot smoking, rather than the tireless effort to save animals, the planet and each other that vegans stand for. On the other hand, it did get me thinking.

You know how back in the day, hippies tried to warn everyone about environmental issues? Remember how everyone ignored them (us)? Now we know better, don't we? The world is falling apart around us. We're running out of clean water, food and resources at an alarming rate. And, now, vegans are speaking out on those same issues and being ignored.

No one wants to give up their meat and dairy, just like no one in the 70's wanted to give up their cars, conveniences and consumerism. And yet, the meat and dairy industries are responsible for most of the environmental damage happening today. The parallel connection is obvious. Vegans are the new hippies. Will you take a lesson from the past and listen this time or will you ignore the facts, stick to harmful, destructive traditions and beliefs and watch the world go down the tubes?

You have a choice to live life as you wish. Why not choose wisely so that we all have a brighter future? It's not always about you.