After the incredible report that was released this week from the UN in regards to the urgent dietary change becoming a prerequisite for slowing/reducing climate change, the vegan jokes have flooded in. Whilst the vegans have long been the butt of many stereotypes and jokes often labelled as ‘whining hippies’ who just want to complain and make noise, something now seems to be a little off about this assertion.
Vegan jokes have long been a light-hearted way to poke fun at something that to the mainstream is different and certainly inconvenient for them, and perhaps that was fine to a degree for a point in time. What is interesting to note now, is that when these jokes are made, they don’t really hold true anymore.
Novak Djokovic the World’s number one tennis player eats a vegan diet, Liam Hemsworth the Hollywood heartthrob eats a vegan diet, Presidential candidate Cory Booker eats a vegan diets and the list goes on. What Mic the vegan points out in his recent video is whilst these jokes are ‘easy’ and low hanging fruit for comedians and commentators they now appear to be wearing thin, as the stereotype of a vegan has evolved and moved on.
The real concern is that the threat of climate change, environmental damage and other global effects is real, and we need to change the way we look at those wanting to make a difference. Those wanting to make a difference are the vegans, and not because they want to extol virtue on themselves or act self-righteous, its because their diets ARE actually helping the planet and that should be commended.
When Andrew Bolt recently ridiculed teen activist Gretta Thunberg he further highlighted the problem that has happened throughout history and that is resistance to a threat to lifestyle, or a changing of the guard if you will. When we found out that cigarettes were bad for us, industries lobbied and created smear campaigns to keep us smoking, and smokers were happy to believe the lies. No one wants to give up on a belief or assumption they have long held close and smokers refused to believe something they loved so much could be ‘that bad’, I mean cmon everyone smokes right?
What we are about to go through will test us. The data has told us, we need to give up meat and dairy to keep the planet spinning, and climate under control, yet to give up on our lifestyles seems like something we aren’t willing to compromise on lightly. The question is why not? Plant-based meats are flooding the market and Youtube clip after Youtube clip show hardcore meat eaters unable to distinguish the difference between plant-based or animal flesh-based patties. We have plant milk alternatives, Ben & Jerry’s dairy-free ice cream, vegan chocolates and anything you can imagine. So why are we so adamant on ‘vegan bashing’? The reason isn’t veganism, its the same thing a petulant child or teenager often experiences, it’s being told what to do! We don’t need to be told we can’t do what we have always done, even if we now know it’s destroying the planet. As a society, we need to address the issue and decide what we want the future to look like. We can’t be selfish and dogmatic about this, a change is necessary and we are responsible.
The arguments of a lack of good vegan food have been quashed, the argument that vegans are deficient and weak destroyed, and the credibility of data is now proven by the trusted scientists of the UN. What’s left now is individual responsibility to make urgent changes in the way we eat. Meatless Monday, Meat-free May and Veganuary are all incredible initiatives to get people started, but they aren’t enough.
We need to start taking responsibility for our choices for the sake of our future.
Let’s Go Vegan!