This Saturday across the world vegans will come together to celebrate World Vegan Day (1st November) they will hold food potluck events, share stories, spread the vegan message and generally just stand together with profound undertone, and that undertone will be: we are doing something that feels good.
As it happens, I am terribly cynical when it comes to many of the holidays we celebrate. Take Halloween for instance, it sees us buy huge amounts of plastic fancy dress outfits, destined to end up in landfill. Along with Valentines Day, the day when lovers gift one another simply to prove their devotion to that bond, sometimes measurable against their material worth.
However, my cynical feelings somewhat diminish when I am faced with World Vegan Day. If we look at the whole premise of veganism, one of the key aspects behind it is treading lightly on the earth. By adopting a vegan diet you not only doing something meaningful and life enhancing for your mind and body, you instantly decrease your carbon footprint and join a movement of change for the animals.
The recently released film, Cowspiracy, documents about how animal livestock and agriculture is the biggest cause of climate change - and at one point states that 91% of Amazon deforestation (to-date) has been due to the clearing of land to graze cattle or grow soybeans to feed the livestock. Sadly, it seems, we live in an increasingly unequal world, one where the gap between the wealthiest in society and the most poverty-stricken in society has never been bigger; while asylum seekers and people that claim benefits from the government are blamed for our economic woes.
Veganism - as an idea - seeks to create a more equal world, where we treat animals as fellow equals on this planet, less obsessed with quick fixes and more focused on the long-term nourishment of ourselves and the planet. In turn, increasing the amounts of plants foods we consume as humans has been linked to increase physical health and also mental clarity.
World Vegan Day also represents a time for reflection, celebration and pride; by taking the step to be vegan we striving to create a more compassionate world where we live in balance with nature. It is a time for sharing and understanding, which friends and family sometimes fail to grasp why we feel so passionately about this way of eating and living. And in our eagerness to share something we feel so positively about can often spill over into frustration. World Vegan Day represents an opportunity to share, take pride in our choice without judgement of others.
As I mentioned in my last article, Vegan Times Are Coming, there has never been a better time to be vegan, yet it is still a path that requires mental resilience and strength of character.
In our lives creating a mental and physical space for reflection and celebration matters massively - modern lives are busy and stressful, which easily allows for actions and decisions to be made without thought or reflection. However, World Vegan Day is providing the opportune moment to do exactly that, to sit and reflect whether you're vegan or not.
This years Halloween celebrations will see approximately 18,000 tonnes of pumpkin being tossed into a food waste bin, left to rot and decompose. Join me, with many others, and let's collectively make it our mission to go against this imprudent act by making delicious vegan curries, soups, pies to warm the heart and celebrate World Vegan Day. Take this opportunity, whatever you do.