The Environmental Vocabulary Ought To Include “Vegan”

The Environmental Vocabulary Ought To Include “Vegan”

The environmental movement is missing something: veganism.

After all, going vegan is better for the environment than driving a hybrid. (source)

For example, this article talks about the language of going green and lists all these terms below with definitions:

  • 100-mile diet
  • Alternative energy
  • Biodegradable
  • Biodiesel
  • Biomimicry
  • Carbon emissions
  • Carbon footprint
  • Carbon neutral
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Carbon offsets
  • Climate change
  • Community-supported agriculture (CSA)
  • Compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL)
  • Compostable
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Cradle to cradle
  • Downcycled
  • E-waste
  • Energy efficient
  • Energy Star
  • Fair trade
  • Freegan
  • Geothermal energy
  • Gray water
  • Greenhouse effect
  • Greenwashing
  • Global warming
  • Guerilla gardening
  • Hybrid car
  • Hydroelectric
  • Hypermiling
  • LEED
  • Locavore
  • Negawatt
  • Nuclear energy
  • Off-gas
  • Off grid/off the grid
  • Organic
  • Phantom power
  • Pre-consumer
  • Post-consumer
  • Recycling
  • Slow food
  • Solar power
  • Socially responsible investing
  • Sustainable
  • Triple bottom line
  • Upcycled
  • Wind power

But the article doesn’t list veganism. Why?

Is it because so many people already know what vegan means and how it relates to environmentalism? Is it because they all understand already that a vegan diet is much more energy efficient and better for the environment than a nonvegan diet? Veganism is green.

Or is it because veganism is associated more with animal rights and welfare than with environmentalism? Is it because many people ignore the inconvenient truth that factory farming (aka intensive animal agriculture) is dangerous for human health and the environment.

Whatever the reason, the language of going green ought to include the behavior of being vegan. Call it whatever you want, just stop eating animals.

10 Responses to The Environmental Vocabulary Ought To Include “Vegan”

  1. Seriously, this always drives me nuts too. Why do people not get this??

    ~ Recent blog post: Updates/More Info on 2 Previous Posts at ~

  2. This appeals to the inherent contradiction in this movement: Global warming, for example, demands a response, and therefore alterations in our lifestyles and policies are insisted upon; however, when confronted with the single most important transition we can make to affect change on this front, it doesn’t even deserve a mention. The answer for this, I believe, is derived from the false premise that what we eat is “private,” with all the assumptions wrapped-up in that term. Another answer may be pure selfishness: I will go only so far to combat environmental degradation. Both response undercut their own premises, which makes their prescriptions less effective.

    ~ Recent blog post: A "gestalt shift" at ~

  3. Alex, I think you might be on to something with this “private” defense. Many people do think that veg*nism is a private, personal choice. Clearly, eating is no more private than driving, showering, or flushing the toilet. Yet people react much more strongly to the suggestion to go vegan than they do to the suggestion to reduce their oil and water consumption. Meat-eaters who don’t want to stop killing and eating animals will use any excuse they can think of.

  4. I have a different take:

    If what you eat is “private” – and I used to think so “private” that it should be done alone. (For me, this was a subconscious acknowledgement to the suppressed guilt attached to eating flesh). Now I openly, acknowledge this shame is valid. I believe eating animals should be done behind closed doors. You don’t see murder or pedophilia or rape openly condoned in the streets, after all – do you?

    For people to continue this shameful and disgusting act it would require that they get their animal parts and pieces wrapped in brown “butcher” paper, acquired from some hidden, underground (illegal) source of course. There would be no billboards or commercials suggesting such a “private” act as flesh eating. No bbq events dedicated to the ritual of consuming burned legs, thighs & breasts, no golden arches, no neon lit steakhouses, no singing “hotdogs” or “case ready” meats.

    And maybe if such a world existed I could finally sit comfortably in any and all restaurants without watching parts of my friends being chomped on – inevitably ruining my wholesome and compassionate meal….

    I agree – eating is a “private matter” when it involves the enslavement, torture and murder of innocent beings….. Oh yeah, and all the while causing catastrophic harm to the environment too.

  5. i love what you are all saying. this artical couldn’t be more true either. and i am exactly like you Bea Elliott. i totally agree. one can not be an environmentalist and not be vegan! or else they’re a hypocrite.

    i hope none of you mind if i use some of what you’ve said and post it else-where, as well as bits of the artical (names won’t be mentioned). i just think that some of the points you all made should be passed on.

  6. You know.. I can’t help but read your “Discussion policy” below and shake my head. It basicly means that I can’t disagree with you on this site, and thus cannot express an opposing view point. This rules out discussion, as a discussion is all about opposed viewpoints, the analysis of said viewpoints, and the accepting of the viewpoint with the most merit. The silencing of opposing viewpoints isn’t healthy.

    Since disussion cannot happen here, I’m gonna go have a cheeseburger. Fun fact: If they weren’t so yummy, there wouldn’t be so many cows or chickens. If we stop eating them ,and using them to make products, its not like we can just set them free. For a large part they wouldn’t survive outside of thier environment, due to competition with local wildlife and other factors. Cattle and poultry have been successful in the face of natural selection by being a delectable foodsource for an omnivorous species. Boycott meats if you want, I respect your candor though I don’t agree with you.

    Don’t hate ya, just think you’re wrong
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  7. This whole blog is pro fascist for a start, but you Bea, take the cake. If people want to eat meat anywhere they should be able to do so and not have their diets dictated to by fascist twinkies like you (of whom I may say, you are in the vast minority, not even most vegetarians (of which I am one) think like that) and you militant vegan kind. The minority dictating what the majority do, IS fascism. Pull up your pants, throw away your dreamcatchers and get a job, you blinkered fool.

  8. Bea, whilst veganism and vegetarianism should be part of environmental discussions because any reduction in intensive farming is an important factor in reducing environmental damage, it can only be done by people making choices and us educating other on the choices available. I have been a vegan for 12 years and a vegetarian for 14 prior to that. Telling people that they cannot eat something because you don’t like it, is immature.

    Nothing would make me happier than the majority of people being vegan, but I accept that I am a minority and I just hope for the future that we will grow in numbers by us leading. If other’s concur, they will join us, not by dictating but by acceptance of our arguments.

    As for eating being a private matter, since when? We are a social species and have always eaten with others. As a vegan, I mark myself out as different and often wish I could just get on and eat without the long conversations or lectures by people telling me meat-eating is normal. That, unfortunately, is the price for making a choice others do not agree with or understand. We live in a world where there will always be disagreement and no-one will ever be the same as me or make the same choices as me. I respect that and celebrate the diversity of our species.


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