I'm all about taking care of the environment. I think next to ensuring every child in our country has access to a stellar education and ample amounts of food, it should be one of our nation's highest priorities.
From the displacement of families in places like California, Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida on account of natural disasters to the extreme danger pollinators are suffering from the impacts of climate change, our environment is in dire need of our advocacy. In reality, if we all make small changes to our lifestyles (ie: carpooling, using paraben-free products, recycling) we can collectively have one hell of an impact on the world we rely on so much.
With all of that said, I'm really sick of being guilted into veganism. I understand the benefits to our environment and the overall health of our bodies and that's awesome. Seriously, if you are proud to live a vegan lifestyle, I applaud you. But that doesn't make it okay to make me feel like shit about not being a vegan.
You know that old trope of the guy with the Prius being a snobby douche to the guy with a Hummer? That's you, vegans, that's all you.
Need an example of how you might take it a little to far? Maybe you're familiar with some of these standard vegan/non-vegan friend conversations:
Vegan: "Want to go have lunch at this new vegan restaurant?"
Non-Vegan: "Awesome, I heard the pot-stickers are amaze-balls."
So far, so good. Not too pushy, we're both fulfilling our love of food. Awesome!
Vegan: "Did you like your Christmas gift?"
Non-Vegan: "Honestly I'm in love with this vegan purse. It's so cute!"
Wow, now you're getting me presents...maybe vegans aren't so bad after all.
Vegan: "Hey, have you ever seen this 120-minute documentary of cows getting slaughtered filmed in ultra 4KHD? I think it will really make you vomit and reassess all of your life choices."
Non-Vegan: "Yeah, that's going to be a hard pass."
Oh, now I remember. You're always trying to horrify me into giving up animal by-products.
So I get it, "Food Inc." was traumatizing and made you feel really bad. But I'm afraid I just can't relate. The way I see it, those animals were bred solely to be slaughtered and to give me something I need, food. It's called the circle of life and to be really real with you, I'm a pretty big fan.
We all have lifestyle habits I'm sure we'd love everyone else to adopt, but life doesn't work that way. Instead of guilting others into being a vegan, encourage them to find more sustainable habits (outside of their dietary ones) to help nourish our planet. If you can do that, you can probably shake the bad impression the Prius-guy analogy has left you with.