The Triangle Vegan Pledge Experience!
Every so often, it can be deeply refreshing (and often quite necessary) to surround yourself with a bevy of like-minded individuals who exhibit such encouraging qualities as compassion, kindness, and mercy with their every action. It has been said time and time again that those who have been vegan for a significant amount of time often find themselves blessed with a certain degree of spiritual peace, whether or not they consider themselves to be spiritual or religious in any particular fashion. To widen our circle of compassion so that we may include all beings is an action that helps us to understand what we’ve been missing all along; that sense of peace, of finally “coming home”.
In regards to being surrounded by a host of people who strive to practice this comprehensive compassion, I had the privilege of spending a glorious Saturday in the company of members of the Peace Advocacy Network, who were hosting our local Triangle Vegan Pledge. The pledge simply asks those who are interested to commit to 30 days of eating a vegan diet, from the beginning of the month till the end. Admittedly, for many people who are new to veganism, the very notion of eating a plant-based diet during the month of November is quite daunting (certainly, they may not yet be aware of the fact that one can make an incredibly delicious pumpkin pie that just so happens to be vegan). They might quickly be forgiven in regards to their fear that going vegan during the holidays will mean deprivation, sadness, and morose behavior. This could not be farther from the truth, however, and a number of talented cooks at the TVP event showed the dozens gathered that eating vegan during the holidays could include culinary delights such as key lime pie cupcakes, rosemary chocolate chip cookies, and vegan mac and cheese. Deprivation? More like abundance. Silence filled the room as we chewed contentedly, with spoons and forks scraping every last morsel into our mouths.
The event continued with short lectures given by Justin Van Cleeck and Dr. Alan Nelson on the topics of how veganism is a boon to the environment and the ethics and morality of consuming animals, respectively. Justin brought up some truly thought provoking points concerning how global warming (which is deeply affected by industrial agriculture) takes a massive toll on many at-risk populations and people groups around the world, thereby adding a real human cost to a concept that so often dwells in the realm of the abstract for too many people. Dr. Nelson, to his credit, addressed the idea of using animals in the real world as opposed to using them in a theoretical “vacuum”, as many opponents of veganism often enjoy creating hypothetical scenarios which have little to no bearing on reality. The group discussion was rather lively and carried on for a quite a while, adding a dose of healthy dialogue to the proceedings, which was a wonderful and encouraging sight to behold.
The events of the day left me truly heartened, and encouraged by the fact that there were dozens of people in attendance who were going to be vegan for the next few weeks at the very least, and hopefully for much longer after that. To recall Dr. Nelson’s words concerning ethical “vaccums”, I’m so thankful that we live in a world where our friends (who are in this case making healthy, ethical, and compassionate choices) have the power to influence those around them to go vegan! What a thought. What a spectacular idea. The world is only hurting due to its lack of compassion, not an abundance of it. May we all go forth to proclaim the ideals of a compassionate lifestyle to those who have the ears to hear the message. The famous words of Margaret Mead come to mind in this moment: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, its the only thing that ever has”.
For more information on the Peace Advocacy Network, go to the http://peaceadvocacynetwork.org.
For additional news about the Triangle Vegan Pledge, or to attend an event in a city near you, go to http://triangleveganpledge.wordpress.com/.