Yesterday, I had the first meeting with the commitee of my University’s Vegan and Vegetarian society. I am extremely excited to be the President of the society this year and plan some amazing events, meet new people, and eat loads of vegan food (duh)! I couldn’t help but think about what got me in this position. This time 2 years ago I had decided to become vegetarian with the goal of becoming vegan very quickly and now, I’m the President of my Uni’s society. So, how did I get here?
Many of you may find this a cliche story, but it all happened while travelling. I honestly think a little bit of fate had to be involved because I remember seeing lots of videos about veganism on my facebook timeline throughout our travels. I would watch each one all the way through and their message would stay with me for days. I started to feel guilty whenever I ordered meat, though I wasn’t yet convinced enough to stop ordering it, I remember questioning why I ordered something as soon as I gave a waiter my order.
A huge turning point was going to Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, one of the best experiences of my life. It’s in this amazing reserve that many goregoues elephants have been resuced from mistreatment, and are able to live out the rest of their days with their friends, lots of land, and thier own caring mahoot.
At the park, they only serve vegan food and I was seriously annoyed when they told us. BUT most of it was abosultely amazing. No idea what it actually was but it was vegan and thai and delicious.
We were shown a video of elephants being abused by riding camps, circuses, logging companies etc. while driving to the camp. I’m pretty sure I was the ony one in the mini van crying but oh man it was so hard hitting. We saw wonderful creatures with scars, broken legs, hips, and blindness in our time there, all of which leave you thinking “who could possibly do this to an animal?”
After that, each time we saw elephant rides I ended up crying (we spent 3 months in SE Asia so that was a LOT). But it still hadn’t clicked, then, Okja was released.
The night my boyfriend and I watched Okja I was honestly changed forever. This movie showed me that if I’m buying animal products then it might as well be me abusing the animals I’m eating. For most of my life I had been directly paying people to do to cows, pigs, chickens etc. pretty much exactly what broke my heart to see when done to elephants. After that movie, every time I ate meat I would end up having a huge argument with myself about how much of a hypocrite I was and decided that once I got back to the UK, I would be completely vegetarian with the plan to become vegan once at Uni.
Being veggie was pretty easy at my house as most of my family are pescatarian. I was only veggie for about 2 months before making the full transition to vegan, quick I know. Once I was at Uni, I was completely in charge of everything I bought and it just seemed right. My body started to disagree with dairy quite quickly and then the decision was made. Vegan.
It also started to seem completely hypocritical to be an animal consuming Geography student. I love my degree because I have a true passion for sustainability and the planet, so how could I not adapt my lifestyle to lower my climate footprint in the most benefitial way possible? Lowering consumption of animal products is the number 1 way to have a more sustainable lifestyle. Yes, you should also have a reusable bottle and coffee cup, but the hard truth is that’s literally no help at all to the planet if you still consume fish.
And now here I am. 2 years later.
I can honestly say I don’t think I could ever EVER eat meat again. I still make lots of mistakes but that’s just the way life goes when everything under the sun has milk powder in it, smh.
The amount the vegan scene has changed in 2 years is absolutely incredible. It makes me so happy to see how many resturants, supermarkets, and people are making changes to better health and the environment.
I’m even about to start writing my dissertation on willingness of people to give up meat. If you tried to tell me that 2 and a half years ago, I would have laughed in your face.
It’s so important for people to watch movies and documentaries about plant based diets and just TRY some vegan food. Seriously, you’ll most likely be plesantly surprised. We’re not all crazy activists that are trying to force our food down your throats, most of us used to eat meat and understand how difficult a transition can be, but it’s time for us all to step up and change our ways for the planet.