Vegan Voices: Essays by Inspiring Changemakers is a comprehensive collection of compelling testimonials of how our food choices are deeply connected to the pressing challenges and issues of our time. Read the Foreword, by Victoria Moran, now.
by Victoria Moran
Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear.
—Thich Nhat Hanh
This collection of essays is ostensibly about veganism, but veganism is about hope. In fact, there may be no hope without it.
Vegan living can propel to fruition the deepest yearnings of humanity—for freedom, health, self-actualization, spiritual growth. For an individual, living without harming—to the extent that it’s possible—brings these visions within reach, and provides a boost of physical and psychic energy to bring them to fulfillment. Each person who contributed to this book illustrates in their essay how this has come about for them.
The bigger question, of course, is what life on Earth would look like if the vast majority of humans were vegan. Let’s take this journey of hope together. For starters, the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions alone could change the future of life on this planet, perhaps ensuring that life would, in fact, endure for most species, our own included. Growing crops for human consumption instead of livestock feed would, when coupled with enlightened distribution, end hunger around the globe. Future pandemics would likely cease entirely, since almost every contagious scourge on record, from measles to (probably) COVID-19, came directly from human use and misuse of our animal brethren. Degenerative disease, also largely diet-related, would become much less of a burden on healthcare systems and on families with loved ones spending decades in decline.
And the cessation of human-caused misery in the animal world would be the most profound event in the ethical history of this planet. It would affect chickens, turkeys, and geese; pigs, cows, sheep, and goats; and myriad kinds of fishes. It would liberate hunted animals, fur-bearers, and those wild beings whose rangeland humans claim for grazing cattle. The cages in laboratories would empty and their inmates—rats and mice, rabbits and guinea pigs, cats and dogs, and nonhuman primates—would no longer be subject to pain and death for someone else’s knowledge, someone else’s funding. Entertainment that enslaves animals would be universally deemed barbaric and would end without fanfare. And no more “pets” would be chained, ignored, abused, or abandoned.
As this healing revolution sweeps across nations, people could tackle remaining problems with renewed vigor. The fear and dread that keep the majority of caring humans trudging Eeyore-like beneath a gray cloud would lift. The sun would shine on Earth and all its inhabitants. Creativity would flourish. Peace would become inevitable, since the human family would be united as one kind and clever clan in the incredible web of livingkind.
It’s a beautiful thought, right? But what if I’ve overshot? What if life can never be that good, or what if humans will never be that vegan? I’ll take two-thirds. Heck, I’ll take one-third. One-third of heaven on Earth makes for a reasonably heavenly Earth. And if we make that much progress, we’ll make more.
As you read these essays, I invite you to look for synchronicities and serendipities, the unlikely occurrences that moved each writer forward on their journey to veganism, and those that took things from zero to sixty after this person went vegan. It seems to me that God or the Universe or the Force from Star Wars has determined that it is now time for this particular evolutionary leap to take place. Whatever the cause, you’ll see in almost all of these engaging writings paths dotted with opportunities for travel, education, or a move that would change, well, just about everything. In other cases, it’s a chance encounter with a person, book, film, or social media post that altered the course of a life, and enabled this individual to positively affect more lives.
That’s another aspect of the hopefulness. For the boons of vegan living to come to us, we have only to start on this journey. And for that incredible, possible vegan world to take shape calls first for enough of us to take this journey. It’s a grand adventure, to be sure, in which you’ll experience hope and offer it—to the sanctuary pig you sponsor, your vegan grandchild, members of the plant-based Meetup group you start, even the amazing network of arteries inside your own body. Whether your vegan transition is overnight or over time, you’re on the way to having your own vegan voice. The world is waiting to hear it.