This week’s topic is one that I’ve been nervous to write about as I know not everyone will agree, however it’s the idea that inspired me to write this blog on kindness in the first place. Nevertheless, I believe it is a crucial topic that needs to be discussed more. This post will be discussing vegetarianism and veganism and how they directly link to kindness, in my opinion.
One of the ways I practice kindness in my everyday life is by having a mostly plant-based diet, which is more commonly known as a vegan diet. For all of the technical viewers out there, I am by no means a full vegan, nor do I call myself a vegan, as I do treat myself to dairy once in a while as well as own items that are not considered ‘vegan friendly’. When people inquire about my diet, I usually say I’m vegetarian, just to clarify I don’t eat meat of any kind. I went fully vegan about three years ago after watching the documentary, Cowspiracy, which discusses the extreme impacts that animal agriculture has on climate change. After being exposed to how my way of living was directly effecting climate change and the destruction of our precious earth, I found myself faced with only one choice. Overnight, I went from being a meat eater, to having a a 100% plant-based (vegan) diet. This lasted for about eight months where I then decided to switch to a vegetarian diet and be flexible on occasion (besides with meat).
The reason why I’m explaining this is because I believe kindness can be extended further than people, which was a major part of my decision to stop eating meat. I believe that kindness is also about showing the home we all have in common as humans, planet Earth, respect, love, and compassion. This also includes showing kindness to the animals we share our planet with who are here to live their lives just as much as we are. I believe that having a vegan/vegetarian diet makes a positive impact on both of these factors at the same time. While not eating meat, you are both saving the planet, and saving animal lives!
At this point, you may be wondering how not eating meat is a way of showing kindness to our planet. Well, the livestock industry where the majority of meat that people consume comes from, contributes to about 7.1 gigatons of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere every year, making it the second largest emitter of human-made greenhouse gasses. To put this into perspective, that amount of CO2 emissions is approximately equivalent to the amount that is emitted by all of the world’s transportation vehicles combined. Not only this, but animal agriculture is also the leading cause for deforestation, water and air pollution, and biodiversity loss. By not eating meat, you are showing kindness to our world by refusing to fund these destructive acts with your hard-earned dollar. This short, yet impactful video shows how we still have time to change if we truly desire to. The choice is up to us.
I also believe that not eating meat is an expression of kindness to beings that we have power over. We clearly have all of the power over animals, however I believe they are on this planet to live their own independent lives, not for our pleasure of eating them. I understand how many people do not share the same level of empathy towards animals as I or others do, however I do want to express how since going vegetarian, my sense of empathy has increased exponentially in all realms of life. It has taught me to think about how my actions impact not only humans, but the innocent animals that live on this earth as well. As a side note, I challenge everyone reading this to reflect on why they may believe, if they do, that it’s inhumane to kill a dog, but killing a pig or cow to eat is different and therefore acceptable.
The reason why I titled this blog post, “Not just about us anymore,” is because with the state our planet is in, it’s not simply about our wants and desires anymore. We need to start thinking bigger and be critical of how our choices are effecting our home. I’m not asking everyone to go vegan tomorrow, but I am challenging everyone to start taking little initiatives of showing kindness to our planet. This could include having one day a week where you don’t eat meat or trying new vegan restaurants and recipes! By everyone collectively doing their part in showing our planet kindness in this sense, it has the power to make a massive impact! I also want to note that by no means am I saying that I’m perfect when it comes to living a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle. The message I am trying to convey is that it’s not about being perfect, because we are all going to make mistakes, it’s about doing our best to cause the least amount of harm as possible by taking on little initiatives every day.
It has been said that there are only 12 years left to limit the effects of climate change before irreversible damage to the Earth will occur. If there is a time to start showing kindness to our Mother Earth, it’s now.