VeganMoFo, 10.24: 350 365 + Vegan = REAL Action

October 24th, 2009 7:05 pm by Kelly Garbato

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Close on the heels of last week’s Blog Action Day for Climate Change comes today’s International Day of Climate Action. With a focus on the number 350 – “as in parts per million, the level scientists have identified as the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere” – the campaign’s goal is laudable:

350.org is an international campaign dedicated to building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis–the solutions that science and justice demand.

Our mission is to inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis—to create a new sense of urgency and of possibility for our planet.

Our focus is on the number 350–as in parts per million, the level scientists have identified as the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere. But 350 is more than a number–it’s a symbol of where we need to head as a planet.

To tackle climate change we need to move quickly, and we need to act in unison—and 2009 will be an absolutely crucial year. This December, world leaders will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark to craft a new global treaty on cutting emissions. The problem is, the treaty currently on the table doesn’t meet the severity of the climate crisis—it doesn’t pass the 350 test.

In order to unite the public, media, and our political leaders behind the 350 goal, we’re harnessing the power of the internet to coordinate a planetary day of action on October 24, 2009. We hope to have actions at hundreds of iconic places around the world – from the Taj Mahal to the Great Barrier Reef to your community – and clear message to world leaders: the solutions to climate change must be equitable, they must be grounded in science, and they must meet the scale of the crisis.

If an international grassroots movement holds our leaders accountable to the latest climate science, we can start the global transformation we so desperately need.

Certainly, we need bold, cooperative, global action to combat climate change – and we need it now. Yet, 350’s campaign materials do not so much as mention vegetarianism, let alone veganism – this despite the fact that animal agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gases, including methane and nitrous oxide (which have a global warming potential 23 and 296 times greater than C02, respectively). Given the world’s burgeoning human population and rise in “meat” and dairy consumption, we cannot stop and reverse climate change – not to mention, air and water pollution, deforestation, habitat loss, species extinction, world hunger and poverty – without transitioning to a vegan diet. Our exploitation of nonhuman animals echoes in our exploration of the earth, and of one another.

While I’m happy to see that many of the planned actions include vegan meals, this isn’t enough: the International Day of Climate Action must include veganism as its centerpiece. Talk about C02 and Copenhagen, yes, but don’t stop there: speak also of veganism and the politics of what’s on your plate. Anything less is dishonest, regressive, hypocritical. Suicide and murder, both.

I get that “350” is a cute, catchy, universally-understood campaign gimmick – so why not make next year’s theme 365? As in, GO VEGAN!: not just meatless on Mondays, or meat- and dairy-free on on November 1st, but vegan 365 days of the year. That’s real, meaningful change, and with minimal effort, too. Omnivores, vegetarians and vegans: we all already shop, cook and eat. To do so in a compassionate, (truly) green manner requires little to no extra action, especially in the long run – and living vegan will only become easier as demand and support for veganism increase.

Thus, while I briefly considered trucking down to the nearest International Day of Climate Action event today, I decided instead to treat today like any other, living as green a life as possible. (Wasting a few gallons of gas to attend a non-vegan rally? Not so green. Although I do applaud the vegans who made a showing, such as Liberation BC – we need to be more involved, not less.) I save my recyclables and drive them down to the recycling center when I’ve a van full; I compost all organic matter, save for dog feces, which is a perpetual thorn in my side; I harass organizations, for-profit and non-, until they remove me from their junk mailing lists; I wash my laundry in cold water; I use and reuse cloth rags when cleaning the house; I telecommute; I plan all my shopping at once, to minimize drive time and gas usage; I buy items in bulk, to reduce needless packaging; I drink filtered water from a travel mug; I buy energy-efficient appliances; I grow my own fruits and veggies, and share the extras; I rarely let food go to waste, and never intentionally; I winterize my home; I vote green, and when my candidates inevitably lose, I petition the winners about a wide variety of progressive causes. Etc., etc., etc.

Most importantly – dare I say more important than all of these combined – my husband, my five (rescued, spayed and neutered) dog-kids and myself all consume a vegan diet. This is what I did today on behalf of the earth and its trillions of inhabitants; it’s what I did yesterday, and the day before that – and, Dog willing, it’s what I’ll do tomorrow, next week, next year, and every day thereafter, for the rest of my life. I hope you’ll join me.

Since this is also the 24th day of VeganMoFo, my post would not be complete without some lovely vegan food photos. Lest you assume that a life of veganism is a life of deprivation, here’s what I ate yesterday.

For breakfast, a bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon and sugar and dried cherries, blueberries and cranberries. Also: a fruit juice smoothie to wash it down.

2009-10-23 - Green Vegan Breakfast - 0004

Lunch was a baked sweet potato, garnished with a pat of vegan margarine and a little cinnamon and sugar:

2009-10-23 - Green Vegan Lunch - 0006

At dinnertime, Shane and I teamed up to make linguine with homemade sundried tomato pesto; recipe courtesy Holy Cow!:

2009-10-23 - Green Vegan Dinner - 0003

We finished off the day with some freshly baked vegan chocolate chip cookies (recipe here). I also had a cup of green tea, to stave off the autumn chill.

2009-10-23 - Green Vegan Dessert - 0002

I’m a grazer, so throughout the day I also snacked on fresh oranges, bananas and carrots, veggie chips and mixed nuts.

My dog-kids also subsist on a vegan diet (well, save for the animal-based glucosamine/chondroitin I give seniors Ralphie and Kaylee twice a day; there’s not yet a vegan substitute for chondroitin, I’m afraid) – which is a much more sensible solution than killing dogs and cats in order to make way for cows and pigs, which will then also be killed, for no reason other than that humans enjoy the taste of once-living flesh (as was proposed in a recently published book on “sustainable living” – oh, the irony!).

Yesterday, they had V-Dog kibble for breakfast, and then V-Dog kibble mixed with some leftover homemade food for lunch and dinner:

2009-10-23 - Green Vegan Dog Food - 0001

I never blogged the recipe because I more or less threw the dish together, but it’s pressed tofu, sunflower seeds, soy nuts and mixed veggies in an dressing of olive oil, white vinegar, water and lime juice, along with some spices (basil, perhaps?). Easy to make, and the dogs loved it. As did their bovine and porcine kin, I’m sure.

Truly, veganism’s not that inconvenient of a truth to swallow. In fact, it’s downright liberating: No one is free while others are oppressed.

For further reading, please see Veganism is the solution., my submission for Blog Action Day, as well as those from Stephanie and Deb.

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