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World Vegan Day 2022: Eating for the Environment

vegan for the planet

Greek philosopher Pythagoras spoke about veganism around 500 years before Christ

Today is World Vegan Day and a terrific beginning to World Vegan Month. One reason for celebrating World Vegan Day is kindness to animals. Nobody, or almost nobody, would claim to dislike animals. Almost everyone thinks that it is wrong to harm animals and that those who do so should face consequences. For this reason, laws exist to protect the rights of animals, or at least certain animals.

Most children who grow up with pets  in their homes are given the chance to sympathize with animals, understand their feelings and anticipate what it is they need. Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, and Peppa Pig are beloved friends to children around the world and most children are taught to love and respect animals, but sadly a form of abuse, torture and oppression is taught and passed down from one generation to the next. New research shows though that children differ dramatically from adults in their moral views on animals and that we need to consider how we talk to children about humans’ relationship with non-human animals.

Vegan child with duckling. Photo by Yulia Dubyn.jpgPhoto by Yulia Dubyna 

Not only do fewer animal products lead to less animal cruelty, but also fewer greenhouse gas emissions, which means a healthier environment for all. Eating fewer animal products is also healthier for the human body. A win-win all round! 

The vegan movement is so profoundly mindful and seeing the global adoption of a plant-based lifestyle by so many individuals who don’t only wear tie-dye shirts and bell bottoms, but rather people from all walks of life looking for ways to take care of the earth, their body and helpless animals all at the same time is really such a wonderful victory.

A vegan diet is nutritionally adequate and safe for all stages of life.

World Vegan Month is about recognising how far the vegan movement has come and to keep spreading the word about the many advantages of a plant-based (vegan) diet. As the number of active vegans worldwide grows, so does our access to a diverse range of vegan products. Most stores now include departments especially for vegans and offer an abundance of vegan substitutes for whatever one might miss from a carnivorous diet. Thanks to the American Dietetic Association and the British Dietetic Association both stating that a vegan diet is nutritionally sufficient and safe for all stages of life, including pregnancy, we can obtain all the nutrients we require without consuming any animal products. With some planning, it is easy to get protein, iron, calcium and every other nutrient that we connect with animal goods without having to harm animals or contribute to climate change. Eating a whole food plant-based diet is also scientifically proven to prevent and reverse disease.

Veganism’s reach goes further than your plate.

The reasons why people choose a vegan lifestyle vary. From recycling our waste to cycling instead of driving, we all know ways to live a greener life. Therefore, environmental concerns also contribute to the rise in the number of people choosing a plant-based diet. One of the best choices we can make to lessen our environmental impact is switching to a vegan diet. Mass production and consumption of meat and other animal products contribute significantly to climate change, widespread pollution, deforestation, soil degradation, water scarcity and species extinction.

Being aware of the fact that leaving animals off my plate affects not only the world I live in, but also the one my child and his future child/ren will inherit, is a very powerful motivator to only eat plants. Knowing what happens in slaughterhouses after watching undercover footage and also after having learned about Dr Michael Greger’s studies published in peer-reviewed scientific medical journals are my two other drivers of change.

Vegans at Extinction Rebellion protest. Photo by Markus SpiskePhoto by Markus Spiske

 

Fight the climate crisis by going vegan.

If you haven’t already, do yourself a favour and watch Sir David Attenborough’s “A Life on Our Planet.” It is, in his own words, his witness statement and is incredibly touching, serving as a stark reminder of how urgently humankind has to change what and how we are doing. He advises, “The quickest and most effective way for us to make space for returning wilderness is to change our diet…we must change our diet. Whenever we choose a piece of meat, we too are unwittingly demanding a huge expanse of space…. the planet can’t support billions of meat-eaters.”

Sir David Attenborough has inspired millions by bringing the natural world into our homes and at the ripe old age of 96, he is still incredibly passionate about preserving our natural world. I haven’t seen his most recent opus, Frozen Planet 2, but from what I’ve read he reduced his fans to tears making an “urgent final plea”  while speaking straight to the camera and begging viewers to ensure that our planet has a future, especially for the animals featured in the program.

“Eating Our Way to Extinction” is another sobering documentary that should be compulsory viewing for every single politician, leader and policy maker. Uncovering hard truths and addressing the most pressing issue of our generation – ecological collapse and major disease plaguing our species – this powerful documentary sends a simple, but powerful message. Leonardo DiCaprio has encouraged his 53 million followers to watch this climate crisis documentary  and has stated that this is the film future generations will be wishing everyone watched today. With very explicit remarks and all research and facts cited on screen, the movie is simple to follow. A reference page for the facts referred to in the film is available  here. Sir Richard Branson (the billionaire who has invested in vegan and cultured meat brands) makes an appearance in the film, along with world-renowned expert on marine biology, Sylvia Earle and philanthropist Tony Robbins.

And lastly, if you’re looking for a 5-minute short film, have a look at Britain’s leading environmental thinker, George Monbiot’s informative “Regenesis”.

If you think about the issues you already care about, you’ll probably find that animal agriculture is where they all come together. And if you are someone who has been a bit sceptical about climate change (and veganism), I hope that these resources will convince you so we can act now and do our bit for the sake of our beautiful planet.

Together we can make a difference and we can begin today by reconsidering what we put on our plates. We would still have slavery and apartheid if everyone had always believed that “one person can’t make a difference.” Progress was made because people who represented the minority at the time, spoke out against injustices. It is now our responsibility to follow suit in order to save animals, the environment and ourselves. 

If this post has inspired you to go vegan for the sake of the environment or the animals, click here to get started now for free. I also highly recommend taking part in Challenge 22 – a free and very supportive 22 day vegan experience guided by mentors and registered dietitians. 

What do you think?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. If you found this post interesting. please share it with your community so more people can know about it.

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Small Business Owners And Mental Health Challenges

mental health

Earlier this month Studio Candor hosted the MORE LOVE Market at their shop space (which we moved into at the beginning of May). Why the MORE LOVE market? Because the month of May is for Mental Health Awareness (and more love)!

Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May in the United States since 1949. In South Africa, the month of October has been declared Mental Health Awareness Month. Nevertheless, the more we can encourage people to talk about mental health the more we can normalise conversations, change the way people think and act about mental health, help people recover from mental illness and improve relationships.

On this last day of May, I noticed the latest The Big Issue Magazine is the Mental Health and Wellness Edition. I got a copy, which I’ll read properly after getting this blog post published, but one of the first things that caught my eye when I was flipping through it for some last bit of inspiration for this blog post, is that “Recent statistics (SADAG 2021) cite that one in three South Africans have or will experience a mental health condition, yet there are very few professional resources available (one psychologist per 100 000, one psychiatrist per 300 000) and only 5% of the entire Health Budget has been allocated for mental health.” The article goes on to say, “This means we need to assume responsibility for our mental well-being as far as possible, and it begins with awareness – of our own state of body and mind, as well as those around us. There is no need to diagnose or treat, merely to act as an early warning system. Prevention is always preferable than cure.”

Therapy is expensive, but perhaps finding a blogger who helps people identify mental problems is the first step for some? (I’ve also shared some free resources and tips in this blog post that may help someone who is struggling.) We know that social media use can be harmful to mental health and well-being, but it can also be used to positively promote mental health awareness. There are some top mental health influencers that make discussions about therapy, anxiety and depression everyday conversations and make people feel seen and understood. My personal favourites are Dr Brené Brown (Researcher), Matthias James Barker (Psychotherapist) and Sanam Naran known as @the.conscious.psychologist.   

Some other self-help material that I’ve been enjoying recently is the Make Your Damn Bed Podcast. I love that this morning motivation podcast is only 3 ish minutes of real-talk. I’ve just finished Sarah Knight’s bestseller Get Your Sh*t Together and can highly recommend this to anyone struggling with work-life balance, procrastination and anxiety.

Hosting a community event or activity promoting mental health awareness is also a great option and it’s great how Studio Candor created space for communities to gather this month. The MORE LOVE market was a wonderful day of supporting local, small businesses, spreading love, doing good and living sustainably.

The Caya Creative Studios  team was there too and did a live podcast  with the owners of Studio Candor as well as myself and Kawthar from KAWRHU.   

In this episode we chatted about sustainability in business, mental health, how business owners have dealt with the Covid crisis, manufacturing, community working together and more. I opened up and shared some of my scariest thoughts and revealed the truth of my deeper secrets of my challenges of being an entrepreneur. If you’re interested in art, sustainability, or the small business journey, this is the episode for you.

Thank you for reading my thoughts. If you have any advice to share, let me know in the comments and let’s spread kindness because everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

Love and virtual hugs,
Janneke