Welcome to the Winter 2016 edition of Vegan Sustainability


Words are powerful and it is important for us to choose our words carefully and to try to speak honestly, courageously and with good intentions. In this issue Trent writes about his least favourite vegan questions and Jeanette writes about reclaiming the meaning of ‘sustainability’ so that we can discriminate between spin and the truth. Between spin like ‘humane meat’ or ‘sustainable tuna’ or even ‘sustainable palm oil’, and vegan sustainability.  At times situations can be complicated but nonetheless to try to uncover the truth is an essential task because our perception of the truth acts as a guide to better choices. The Happy Planet Index is a good attempt to have a measure of sustainability that considers issues of health, environment and equity, and not just economics. But sustainability is also about the rights of other species and the rights of nature, non violence, intergenerational justice and much more.

So in this edition we are delighted to have contributions from well known groups and activists who have been working on presenting different aspects of vegan sustainability for decades: Richard Oppenlander, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Paul Watson, and Marc Bekoff. Paul Watson’s article highlights the impact of industrialised fishing on ocean ecosystems, while Richard Oppenlander’s article explains how animal-based agriculture perpetuates hunger, poverty, and poor human health in developing countries. We also review his excellent book, Comfortably Unaware.

Marc Bekoff has been highlighting the complex range of emotions in other species for decades. In this article he shows how play in different species can highlight the capacity animals have to anticipate the thoughts of their companion playmates.  The PCRM present evidence of how a plant based diet contributes to a broad range of positive health outcomes.  James presents some of the latest studies highlighting the broad range of health, environmental, and social impacts of animal agriculture and how a transition to a vegan diet will enable massive rewilding and reafforestation.

In a new feature we highlight recent vegan news stories from mainstream media including the hugely successful Go Vegan World advertising campaign.  Bronwyn highlights alternative Christmas gifts and environmentally friendly home and personal care products.

With all this information to hand this holiday season the greatest gift we can give to ourselves, our friends, families and other species is the decision to live a happy vegan non-violent life and to encourage others to try it out for themselves.

Wishing you a very Happy Holiday Season and a Peaceful and Sustainable New Year.
– The VSM Team.