Welcome to Issue 8 of Vegan Sustainability.
I was recently reading the story of Harold Brown a fifth-generation cattle farmer in the US, who went vegan for health reasons but gradually noticed other changes. The most significant change he encountered was beginning to understand animals as individuals. “I realised they have familial bonds; they crave safety, experience joy and happiness.” Reflecting on this he observed that “It is odd how we as humans have profound capabilities to avert our eyes from the obvious that is in plain sight.” In this issue we hear about the work of two organisations, the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy and the Non-human Rights Project who are working through scientific research and the legal system to transform our relationships with other animals from exploitation to mutual respect.
We feature an article and a books review from both Dr. Michael Greger and Dr. Richard Oppenlander. Both highlight the single simple solution to the different crises occurring globally at this time. We have increases in chronic illnesses and obesity with health care systems being over-stretched by increased demands, rising costs and falling budgets. We have continuing poverty, hunger, and malnourishment from Europe and the US to sub-Saharan Africa. And we have ecosystems destruction with the associated biodiversity loss together with climate change, which according to the respected Lancet medical journal, represents the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. It turns out that the foods with by far the lowest ecological impact are also the foods with the lowest green house gas emissions. These foods also happen to be the least expensive and the most effective in counteracting many of our most common chronic diseases. As Mathieu Ricard says, “It just takes one second to decide to stop. It doesn’t create any huge chaotic changes in our life. It’s just that we eat something else. It’s so simple. A small effort can bring a very big result for animals, for the disadvantaged, for the planet, for our own health. A sensible mind can see this is not an extreme perspective. This is a most reasonable, ethical, and compassionate point of view.”
We look at the benefits of this transition in the article Transitioning to a Vegan Australia which outlines the steps to a national vegan agricultural system. We also review a book on vegan permaculture which has lots of great ideas. We highlight some vegan sustainability stories in the news from around the world and the efforts being made to transition to a zero waste society.
If we are sincere about not continuing to drastically compromise the ability of present and future generations of all species to meet their needs then the ethical transition to vegan living is becoming a necessity. It seems that at the same time as millions of people are waking up and making this transition the old order are trying to divide and sow fear. But if each of us are devoted, compassionate, energetic and well informed then the movement to a peaceful, ethical vegan human society that is in harmony with all living beings will continue to grow.