Imperfect vegan

Friends, it is pretty much impossible to be 100% vegan just as it is to be 100% zero-waste or plastic free. You don’t need to be perfect. Perfection has never been worth striving for in any aspect of life.⁣

The ink on nearly every product you buy probably isn’t vegan. Building houses on cleared land isn’t a vegan thing to do given that would have killed or displaced animals. Filling that house with furniture probably wasn’t vegan. Eating food, or using toiletries, with palm oil isn’t vegan when orangutans are about to be wiped out due to this. Buying fashion from fabrics that pollute riverways, make our lands toxic and wipe out water, kills animals. “Exotic” vegan foods often damage other ecosystems. Unless you eat only organic, your items are often coated in non-vegan waxes.⁣ Buying food in plastic can harm animals.⁣

The point isn’t to make anyone aiming to be vegan feel bad (or stop). We understand veganism to be minimizing harm to animals as much possible. But it gets even more complex. Ethical wool can be far more vegan than synthetics or cotton. Same goes for buying it second hand. In Kenya, there is a project to bring back ecosystems the acacia trees create by installing beehives. Farmers can make more from the raw honey they sell so they stop cutting down the trees which they needed for income and it brings back all the animals. That requires people to buy the honey. ⁣

The absolutism approach isn’t helpful. Especially if you ever feel like you’ve “fallen off the rails”. A little flexibility helps us all do our best. Ask if what you’re about to do is in line with your values. Advocate for transparent supply chains & better options. Abolish cruelty. Add empathy. There are many people who simply cannot survive without meat right now. There are Indigenous peoples who eat meat very sustainably. There are people that can barely access fresh food. We need millions of people voting against factory farming and we need to address hunger, poverty & inequality to change as a world. We don’t need rigid perfection from a tiny percentage of people. We need a large percentage to be conscious and doing the best we possibly can. ⁣

There’s an expanded article on this here.