BEING VEGAN – The Winds of Change Are Beginning to Blow
By Paul Graham
Las Vegas Informer
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
We hear the news almost every day. Well-known people with a high public profile like Al Gore becoming vegan for one reason or another. Vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants exploding upon the food scene. New food , fashion and lifestyle products coming to consumers and being met with a strong and growing interest. We hear reports of changes in policies towards gestation crates from large companies that are feeling the backlash from consumers and activist groups. Countries like Germany and Israel experiencing exponential growth rate amongst vegans. Two major reports now indicate that almost 15% of the worlds population is now vegetarian or vegan with many thousands new that are crossing over every day. It is has been shown that even a number as low as 20% of a population that is committed and vocal about any one thing can have a tremendous impact upon any society. We are nearing that threshold.
We are now seeing what informed, committed people can do. It has been very evident with the response to people to the movie “Blackfish” and the corporation of SeaWorld. People have had the veil lifted somewhat to the horrific life of marine mammals in these sea parks and have begun to respond by not going to these places and it is showing in a steady loss of revenue for SeaWorld. The CEO of SeaWorld sold off a large part of his personal stock in the company. People from students, to families, to seniors, to celebrities have spoken out against SeaWorld and other attractions like them and the tremors are being felt all over. The music group Barenaked Ladies recently cancelled a concert performance at SeaWorld after seeing the movie. It was just reported a few days ago that Willie Nelson was also released of his concert obligations at SeaWorld after seeing the movie and not being able in good conscience to associate himself with them. All of these actions combined are making a big difference and we will continue to work on this until we see these marine animals freed. This will have a rippling impact upon other entities that keep any kind of animals in captivity for profit.
Think of how many revolutions have begun around a table with people discussing an idea that led to others joining in and a movement is born. It is no different today. We begin our activism around a table as well by what we choose to consume. When we do not choose to purchase or partake of animal products we are sending a powerful message to the corporations that profit from exploiting them. Meat and dairy consumption is steadily going down and it is having an impact. We can continue to engage in various forms of social media to educate, encourage and connect with others. It can also be a great weapon to bring about change and is already a platform that is bringing people together and helping to build community. When we have solidarity, we have strength. We can become involved in signing petitions and letter writing to companies and legislators about animal, health and environmental issues. We can become involved locally in literature distribution and actual protests. We can support with our resources so many of the the wonderful groups that are making such a difference for animals, people and the planet. There are so many organizations and activists groups like Mercy for Animals, PETA, Sea Shepherd, Compassion Over Killing, Farm Sanctuary, etc. that are so worthy of our time and support. Even if we can’t for one reason or another get involved personally in some of these causes, we can support others that are doing it.
I believe animal rights is one of the great social justice issues of our time. We will not have peace with man until we have peace with the animal kingdom and stop the enslavement, exploitation and killing of these sentient beings. We can in this generation do what no generation has done before it, and that is to free the animals and build a new paradigm that is built on justice for all, love and compassion. We not only need to do it, we have to do it…for the sake of the animals, for the sake of our humanity, for the sake of the planet. Every one of can and should make a difference. We have great power on our own to affect change, but even more so and we bind our hearts and energies together for a common cause and purpose. As this movement continues to grow, there will be those that will go on the defensive with great vehemence. That is to be expected, and when you encounter, know that the movement is pressing forward and continue on with great determination and love. We have the opportunity to make history and save this world from the great peril that it is in. There are huge stakes at play here.
Let’s stop the negativity and the verbal and written cannibalization of others in the movement. Let’s live in love and let us play to win for the sake of the animals and the planet. It really isn’t about us, nor should it be.
Change my friends…is blowing in the wind.
Paul Graham was born and raised in Northern California and has lived in Las Vegas since 2004. He is a top wedding officiate, a green Realtor and writer. He has a daily vegan food blog www.eatingveganinvegas.tumblr.com which is 365 days and 365 vegan meals in Las Vegas. He can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.facebook.com/EatingVeganinVegas.
Paul’s e-book, “Eating Vegan in Vegas: If It Can Happen Here, It Can Happen Anywhere” is now available at www.sullivanstpress.com.