Stories of Compassion for Budding Young Vegan Activists

December 22, 2016
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Authors of Children’s Books Aim to Educate and Inspire Compassion

Vegan author and illustrator, Maritza Oliver of Vancouver, and vegan writer, Robin Raven of Alabama use their writing to convey the message of compassion to the world, and in today’s show we discuss their children’s books. Children have an innate love of animals and are sponges for knowledge, so what better audience for these authors to reach out to? I recently read some advice for parents…”Don’t ask your kids what they want to be when they grow up, rather, ask them what problems they want to solve.”  Children today live in an evolving world in many ways. We are awakening to a more conscious way of living because we have to. There are many problems which the generations before them have created, so raising our youth to be aware of their impact on others, the planet and their surroundings has never been more crucial. I notice a difference in today’s youth – they are acutely aware of the issues which humanity faces, and they seem to understand that they have a responsibility to be part of the solution. I see enthusiasm and a willingness to create change. Join us for a discussion with Maritza and Robin about their unique way of teaching compassion for all beings through their children’s books.

How do Vegans Cope at Christmas?

Christmas is a time to celebrate togetherness, family, love and peace…yet, like all holidays, we celebrate with violence toward animals. Many of us vegans have taken the Liberation Pledge (refusing to sit at a table which has any animal products on it) and others choose to inspire their non-vegan family or friends by bringing irresistible vegan dishes. Christmas can be extremely difficult for new vegans, especially if they are still traumatized from witnessing undercover videos filmed at slaughterhouses and factory farms. How can “tradition” outweigh the importance of justice for sweet, innocent animals?

People often ask me if I miss anything from my pre-vegan life. They think I’m going to say bacon or cheese. I’m grateful for the opportunity to open a deeper dialogue, and respond “I miss my faith in humanity, I miss not hating people so much for resisting new information and  common sense, and I miss not knowing how ignorant and apathetic people are. I used to like people more, but now I judge them on how they react to my animal rights advocacy, and I have been surprised to learn that the people who I thought were compassionate and intelligent… are selective and speciesist with that compassion”.

I’m saddened by how distant I now feel from my family, how we vegans lose friends due to our choices and advocacy. I never would have believed that I would go vegan, or that it would create tension between myself and my loved ones. But throughout this journey we gain more friends who become our new family, those who have awakened, transformed and fight for animal liberation alongside us. I don’t know what I would do without these comrades and our vegan dinner parties attended by all my favourite animal rights heroes. Our bonds are stronger because we share this struggle which affects us on a daily basis.

I get emotional at the thought of my family being so heartless when I have told them of the gruesome images I’ve seen in the undercover videos that my very own friends filmed, and about the disturbing facts of the agricultural industries. I think of the emails I’ve sent them about health and the environment which didn’t get a response, ignored requests for them to watch Earthlings. I imagine them collectively deciding that their strategy would be to ignore my emails about this topic, and to shut down the conversation if it comes up when we are together. I resent them for thinking that providing a vegan option for me at their home is a solution to my discomfort around non-vegan family meals, when in reality all I see is exploitation and murder surrounding my plate on the table, as I sit and wonder why they refuse to see that these “foods” are causing disease in their bodies, causing planetary destruction through deforestation, water use and carbon emissions, and most of all…produced with unimaginable animal cruelty. Don’t they care about the health of their children and the future of the planet which their children will grow up on? Join us for a discussion about coping mechanisms for vegans during the holidays.

 

 

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