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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Veganversary!

Three years ago this month I decided to cut all animal products out of my diet. Not coincidentally, these have been the happiest and most productive three years of my life thus far.

In April 2011 I was volunteering at Sadhana Forest, and as I write this I’m abroad again—this time happily ensconced in a cottage apartment in West Cork, writing and reading and going for long walks down quiet country roads in the glorious and improbable sunshine.

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This is my first time in Ireland as a vegan, and I am experiencing the landscape in a new way. The romance of the Irish countryside isn’t there for me anymore. These animals, the cows and the sheep—they are raised for slaughter, and there is nothing remotely “romantic” about that. I knew this before, but I see it now. I acknowledge it to myself every time I walk past an animal grazing in a pasture.

 

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That said, I have dear friends who are cattle farmers, and I’m not judging them. This has been a way of life for their families for many generations, and I recognize that our respective worldviews aren’t going to converge anytime soon. I like to think I’ve mellowed a bit since I first relaunched this website back in September; I’m no longer trying to convince anyone of anything, and that feels really good. I can juggle the apparent contradiction in loving people who raise animals for food—in knowing they are good people even though I passionately disagree with them on crucial points. Theirs is a dying way of life—not sure if I’m intending the pun here or not—and the only thing for me to do is to be here, ready and waiting with resources and information, for when someone is ready and willing to receive it.

 

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Being vegan in Ireland isn’t quite as easy as it is in the U.K., but people do know what veganism is and are more than willing to accommodate me. “Feeding a vegan is easier than I thought it would be!” Ailbhe remarked toward the end of my visit to Galway, and hearing her say that made me really happy. I’ve found a new equilibrium—letting people be who they are as I go on being who I am—and perhaps this is the culmination of a three-year growth process. Makes you wonder what the next three years have in store, eh?

 

3 Comments to Veganversary!

  1. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    April 23, 2014 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    I have at multiple conversations this weekend about killing what you eat, and a few people said that was crazy. If you are not willing to kill it yourself, then you shouldn’t eat it because you are killing it by creating the demand whether you like it or not. That being said my diet is far from perfect (so many cheese ghg emissions).

  2. April 24, 2014 at 2:08 am | Permalink

    Beautifully said. I live in an area of South Africa where we too see this ‘romantic’ side of animal agriculture. So easy to see without understanding. Happy veganversary!

  3. Kelly's Gravatar Kelly
    April 24, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Congrats! Xoxoxo. Hope you are being super-productive!

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.