Grace Murray Hopper. Ever heard of her? Maybe? Although possibly not. Well, Grace was a pioneering computer scientist in the 1970s who is credited with the following:
“The most dangerous phrase in language is: we’ve always done it this way.”
As vegans viewing an omnivorous world, Grace made a pretty good point.
The vegan movement, despite its short history, is now mobilized and on the march like never before. Millions of people around the world are ditching meat, ditching animal exploitation, and embracing mercy over misery.
From being on the fringe of the margins of society just a few decades ago, veganism is now the ultimate grass-roots, bottom-up movement for not just the twenty-first century, but for every century subsequent to that. I write that without fear of hyperbole or exaggeration.
You, I and every vegan are pioneers of a movement that will save the planet, save the animals and, ultimately, humankind. It will take time, and yes, beyond our lifetime, but that is the call of being a vegan pioneer today.
History gives us many examples of pioneers who challenged established orthodoxy and the mind-set of “but we’ve always done it this way.” Some fundamental things we now take for granted without really thinking about it were, not so long ago, dreams held by others who had to fight, struggle, debate and persuade until progress was made.
In the nineteenth century, opponents of slavery advocated and fought to bring an end to that abominable practice in the US, Great Britain and elsewhere. That was despite the cries of “what’s the problem - this has been going on for years” or “slavery is the natural order of things.”
On that note, it is remarkable how often the worst of human practices are advocated by those who conjure up “nature” when it suits them. Wild to think how many meat-eaters construct the defense of their omnivorous activities on the basis of “being natural” – which it really isn’t – but then have no qualms about using modern aviation. Because, of course, hurtling through the atmosphere at 500 mph at 35,000 feet up inside a metal tube is perfectly natural.
A further example of what was once deemed to be “normal” or “natural”, is the right of women to vote.
In the early twentieth century, only about a hundred years ago, suffragette pioneers campaigned for and raised the profile of voting rights for women. Prior to that, the idea of women voting was scoffed at and derided as being unrealistic, unachievable or, and here we go again, against the “natural” order of things.
The suffragettes advocated, educated and struggled until the eventual culmination of the enfranchisement of women in many countries around the world that we see today.
Away from social and political issues, and returning to an aviation theme once more, humanity had long viewed the skies and envied the birds, culminating in the Wright Brothers making the first powered flight in 1903. Before that flight, the idea was pilloried and laughed at as being fanciful or a waste of time.
The point here?
Despite the detractors, and despite the nay-sayers, history shows us plenty of examples of when “what if” becomes “we did it.”
The term vegan was first coined in 1944 by British animal rights advocate David Watson. He arrived at the word by taking the beginning and end of “vegetarianism” – “veg” and “an”, put the two together and gave us “vegan.”
In the immediate post-War decades, if vegetarianism was marginalized, veganism was as good as unheard of. Animal consumption and products was king, with the meat, dairy and egg industries unchallenged in pushing their products onto consumer markets that really knew no other way.
However, very slowly but very surely, as the twentieth century came to an end, veganism began to clamber out from the shadows of obscurity more and more. As it did, the inevitable cat-calls started to emerge too – that vegans were malnourished subversives who would undermine the regular, natural order of society.
Well, your author has been vegan 6 years now and has spent roughly three of those years in the UK and the other three in the USA. Neither societies have collapsed as a result of my veganism or anybody else’s come to that (they may both be looking a little shaky at present, but that’s sure not because of the rise of veganism…)
Veganism moves from strength to strength every year. There is any number of metrics and studies that back that up. However, there is still a long way to go. That is why the vegan game is a long game.
Unlike revolutions or compared to other measures of human social progress, veganism is in for the long haul, despite its recent successes. That is because, sadly, humanity’s disregard for animals is millennia old. Animals have for so long been regarded as nothing more than property or a resource to be exploited.
It is a case that old habits die hard. And never was that truer than with humanity’s addiction to animal cruelty and exploitation. Virtually every human society and culture has held that anthropocentric view-point and that iron grip has always been so tight.
But never give up and never compromise your vegan conviction one fraction. For every day you stay vegan, every day you promote or get active about the lifestyle, that iron grip on the animals lessens, fraction by fraction, bit by bit, slowly, steadily and surely.
And while the slope to climb is almost unbelievably lengthy and steep for us vegan pioneers, take heart from the fact that we have scaled the mountain higher than anyone could have imagined before. So we will be the inspiration for the next wave of vegan pioneers, in even greater numbers, to continue the vegan ascent to the ultimate goal – a fully vegan world.
Keep climbing pioneer.
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|Sleeve length, cm||18.4||19.7||20.9||22.2||23.5||24.8||26||27.3|
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|Sleeve length, cm||62.9||62.9||62.9||62.9||62.9||62.9||67.9||67.9|