Why I’m Vegan
I was really happy to partner with PETA for this new ad, and also for a signature prAna chalkbag (you can buy one here, or win one here) that benefits PETA.
I have supported PETA, the Humane Society, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund for several years, and I admire these groups a lot for their tireless efforts on behalf of animals. Animals and kids need people to help them and fight for them, as it’s always the small and defenseless who suffer the most. Seeing how much some people work to protect them gives me faith when I get despondent at seeing how much evil and cruelty exist in the world.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved animals. And I think most kids love animals. It’s always been a strange disconnect for me to see people grow from children who love animals to people who don’t care that they are held in wretched living conditions and killed violently because “meat tastes good” (personally, I don’t think it does) and because humans have the ability to do whatever they want. Hurting animals is not good. Hurting anything is not good, I believe. Hurting animals is a lot more bad than anything could taste good, if you know what I’m trying to say. Why do we treat some animals (dogs and cats) like little princes and princesses (which I am all in favor of, by the way) and sentence others to a miserable life in a concrete cage without thinking twice about it? It really does not make sense. My brain works very logically, and I’m consistently puzzled by things like this.
My intention here is not to make people feel all defensive/offensive and angry and not wanting to hear about it because their lifestyle causes harm to animals–rather, it’s to say, hey, I think we can all agree that hurting defenseless creatures is not ideal. What can we do to start making changes in a positive way? And if it just so happens that changing our lifestyle leads to environmental benefits, health benefits, economic benefits, and positive social change, then all the better. One thing I’ve learned is you don’t have to do or be anything you don’t want to be, and you can change anything in your life just by starting to do it. It’s you who chooses who and what you are, by the things you think and the things you do.
I’ve been vegan for 10 years now, and there’s nothing in my life that hasn’t become better as a result, from climbing and athletics to mental and spiritual well being. No one says you have to become a “perfect” vegan overnight. But why not start making small changes and see how it feels? I believe it’s the small choices people make that have the biggest power to change, and nothing is more simple yet also more far-reaching than changing how and what you choose to eat. We’re all here for a short time, in the end, and living a well-intentioned and compassionate life seems like what ultimately matters the most, the only real goal that I aspire to.
I started eating vegan because I noticed that it made me feel better and perform better. After a couple of years, I became aware of factory farming, and what exactly is being done to animals all day every day in our society in order to create cheap meat, eggs and dairy products that are not even causing Americans to be healthy or fit. Knowing what I know now, even if being vegan didn’t make me healthier, energetic and stronger (which it does), I would continue to eat this way purely in order to keep my dollars out of the system that perpetuates cruelty and abuse.
I believe that in our society, spending money is the way we “vote” on things. So it’s important to me that my vote is cast for kindness to living creatures. And if I climb better and feel better on top of it, well all the better 🙂