Convictions are tough little blighters to keep around. Morality is what separates us from every other animal on the planet, choosing to do what we believe is the right or wrong thing to do. Convictions are the guidelines we live by- you're faced with a decision, and if it tests your conviction you know it's come in close to the bone. If you don't have certain standards to live by, whether they've been set for you or by yourself, then getting up each day soon unwinds into a total waste of time.
We have convictions because somewhere, at some point along the line, most of us also have an end-game. A place we'd like to get to if all goes well. My convictions don't involve making as much money as I can or to be known for something. My conviction is compassion. I want to be kind. I want to do the world right, cause as little damage as possible, bring good energy and outlooks into it and be as compassionate to the people around me as I can be. I know this may sound vague and sentimental here- a place I usually fill with recipes and reviews- but to me, veganism, meat-free diets, making the world an easier place to be kind and voting with your feet, wallet or plate- they are all linked.
I don't want Guac and Roll to be a place for airing pains or rants. But I come back again to the idea that maybe focusing so much on the positive aspects of a vegan diet sometimes overshadows the beliefs behind it- personal beliefs I find very difficult to put into a public domain. So I'm hoping this post will maybe serve as this exploration once and for all, for me, and of course for the people that read Guac.
We have a choice of how we treat creatures and the other souls of this planet that are more vulnerable than we are. That's part of our morality. And I don't want to hurt another being if I don't have to. I know I am privileged to be able to choose this for myself, but I believe that if you can learn more about what you consume and become and stay conscious of how your actions impact the world, then you are living a life in-tune with the planet that's given you an entity, allowed you as a being to exist, even if your affect on it changes nothing.
We're using too much planet. We don't do enough to reduce the suffering of animals, and we need to be doing as much as we can. Whether me being vegan changes the fate of this big ball of confusion in any way at all- I very much doubt it. But we inch closer to using up all of our resources every day. We gobble down this planet without giving anything close to enough back. Looking at the figures, the projections of resources and how well humans and our society can adapt to a rapidly changing earth- I'm not convinced we've got another 100 years here, at least not without some major catastrophes that will change the status quo and the flimsy beliefs we've been lead to believe are our prerogative as humans. Tearing down rain forests, eating as much meat, dairy, eggs and fish as we can afford and lay our hands on. Where does it all total out?
The day-to-day reality of being a vegan, for the majority of the time, is a ball-ache. I want to be clear: I don't feel sorry for myself one bit here- it's my choice, but defending that decision every day, and often around people that you care a lot about- my patience for that has grown pretty thin. Understanding that just because you give a shit doesn't mean anyone else has to. And that's a lesson on maturity I am in the process of learning, because right now, it still feels pretty massively lame when you become the butt of yet another joke about fussy eating/ hippies/ rabbit food/ no-this-is-a-pub-and-we-don't-serve-hipster-food-in-here etc. What's the best way to respond when someone rips the piss? I still don't know. If they've been harsh, it's hard to hold back. But it also harms the vegan message, and it isn't compassionate in the slightest. The reality is people can care as much as they like, and actually, in all honesty, I can see that for one person to choose to eat meat or not makes a finite, miniscule difference to the planet. I have no right to judge anyone else, just as they have no right to judge me- and I think both of those statements need work. But I also wonder if just promoting vegan food as an alternative is enough.
When people at barbecues ask me how I can bear to eat a tofu sausage if it is shaped into something meat-based, because surely that just reinforces the status quo, or when a friend points out that being vegan is never going to stop the human population on this planet from basically spinning into a shit storm, I guess the only thing there is to fall back on is the idea of choosing a kinder way. Tofu sausages aren't the perfect answer, but they enable me to be vegan and not have to skip out of the barbecue. I know I make very little different to this cause and I'm sure it will be another ten years before veganism becomes mainstream. I am also sure by then it will be way too late to undo the damage we've been busy inflicting on this planet since the industrial revolution.
I have to believe that choosing to stand for goodness, change, and protection of the vulnerable- whether human or otherwise- somewhere, that has to count. I have to believe it's worth caring. If we don't have convictions and ideas of our own about the difference between right and wrong, I don't know what else we have.