Is it possible to be vegan AND natural AND pro conservation?

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  • I might move this thread, depending on how it goes.


    I guess this question is less about food and more about other animal products/uses?


    Like, if I eliminate leather and wool from my wardrobe, does not the increased use of synthetic material have a detrimental affect on the environment? Are there enough natural alternatives?


    Then there's the animal liberation issue ... things like releasing dozens of mink into the wrong environment etc? Could the long term effects of such actions be more detrimental to the conservation of other species?


    Do zoos do more good than harm - is the anti-zoo sentiment unhelpful when considering the destruction of natural habitats?


    They're obvious issues, but what about other issues like the preservation of indigenous or non-contacted tribes who hunt or depend on animal products for their livelihood? Would it be wrong to encourage them to live in other ways?


    Lots of questions - lots of grey areas.

  • i know vegans who will wear pre-loved leather in respect of the animal and in an effort not to purchase new synthetic alternatives. You can buy recycled plastic clothing (my partner collected coke points from bottles put out for recycling-used the bottles to make a greenhouse and got a tshirt for nowt made from recycled bottles) or invest in hemp replacements as old items wear out. Hemp is way expensive but at least you know that it will be completely biodegradable when it does eventually wear out.
    I think you just have to do what you can, when you can really...like vegan milk for example...if you can't recycle the tetrapack then is it any better than a bottle of cows milk? And soya is practically all GMO so is that really doing the planet a favour? Is vegan cheese wrapped in a biodegradable wrapper ? You can go on and on and on... We recently tried very hard to reduce our consumption of non recyclable plastics... So we buy a large single pack of crisps rather than a multipack, have a craft cupboard full of old packaging lol, try and cut packaging open very carefully so i can create plastic yarn from it (crochets up into fantastic pot scourers that last for ages), try and buy loose grains, cereals etc when pennies allow but fuckinell the government ain't making it easy right now...


    I think it depends on how much time you have to make the lifestyle changes..anything is better than nothing at all.


    Zoo's I will defend. Bristol Zoo and Longleat Safari Park have done alot to help preserve species and offer us a chance to educate ourselves about preservation issues. I know when they first began they were a hideous symptom of victorian curios obsession but i feel they have done alot in the UK within my lifetime to improve habitats and offer refuge to endangered species.

  • This is a source of much confusion for me so will be interested to hear peoples views/suggestions. I kind of feel like i need to move forward a bit from where i`m at and that might involve changing the way i think about certain issues which is scary! I`m trying to make small changes but i don`t think i do enough for the environment as it often doesn`t seem possible if i`m going to stand by my animal rights principles. It feels like a minefield that i`ve been avoiding for along time:S


    As far as clothing goes i now buy all of mine from charity shops / second hand apart from knickers an stuff. I`m trying to cut down on packaging too as best i can by cooking from scratch and my next plan is to learn how to make my own milk and tofu.


    Will definitely come back to this thread when i`ve more time :)

  • i think when being vegan you can end up valueing sticking to that label more than actually being fully environmental. but it depends why you are vegan. I remember when I was vegan on several occasions people making me feel crap by mentioning i had leather shoes on/plastic bangles etc. (though how they thought they had the right to critisize me when i was making an effort and they made none is beyond me). and there were times when i did eat nonvegan stuff. e.g. someone made me a cup of tea and put milk in it automatically. or a burger ordered came with mayo. what would i gain from throwing it away and getting another one? i know vegans who did this. i guess this is part of the reason i gradually slid away from veganism. sometimes it didn't seem to make sense. you could say the same with vegetarianism though i suppose if say your partner eats meat and has some left over and it will go in the bin should you eat it to reduce waste etc.
    i think with food, if you eat simply it shouldn't matter too much environmentally - organic, local. that's the big thing. from farm shops or local producers - less packaging, less miles. but more £££! so most of us can't live like that.
    I used to make my own soya milk. Lots less packaging! And far cheaper. 1kg of soya beans went a long way. There's no right or wrong with these things, you have to do what you can with what you've got.


    I think now, I probably won't go vegan again. I was gradually working my way back to it, but it's not going to happen I don't think. We do our best in other ways when we can afford. Most importantly I think is REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE. So I think if you buy yourself a second hand leather coat and someone says you're not vegan, you can explain to them that no, you are not defined entirely by one label, that you in fact choose not to eat animal products, and that you choose to buy second hand goods rather than new ones as this not only prevents that being thrown away but also negates the need of the production of another. Which, although some people argue you shouldn't because it is advertising - I don't know, you're not in vogue in your second hand gear are you? But then I disagree with faux fur because I think it's in bad taste but that's me personally. Like I said somewhere in this ramble, it's personal.


    i agree about zoos with sarah. some of them are sanctuarys which take in animals that yes shouldn't be in captivity! but were, like your minks. they shouldn't be released but they can't be send 'home'. and they're shot on sight in this country now. they shouldn't be in the wild here, they damaged so much, they are such a successful predator they outcompeted otters, but they don't deserve to be killed because we exploited them. :( there's a monkey sanctuary near us which has rescued monkeys - from ex-zoos, monkeys that were badly behaved in their zoos, monkeys from 'private collctions' etc. Zoos often reintroduce animals thay have bred on purpose for that. some creatures only exist in zoos too. so although it would be better if we had never needed zoos, and not killed so much of the wild habitats they lived in, we have, and so i do not thnk zoos are bad.


    i also think i want to add that 'natural' isn't necessarily good or better. cotton uses a ridiculous amount of water, and land. like all these things they can be made in excess. tobacco is 'natural' for e.g. but uses a lot of land. and do you reckon the plantation owners accommodate for wildlife in pretty hedgerows? i don't. :P but i don't know enough about the production of things like hemp. it's meant to be better. but it's on a smaller scale. i'm not saying i think synthetic is good. but none of it can be really, not on the scale that we need it. and go through it. people are SO wasteful it's disgraceful and disgusting. i wear thhings until they need to be binned and i rarely buy them new. i think this is more important than what they are made of to be honest. sorry for length and rambles!

    we reenact Noah's ancient drama, but in reverse, like a film running backwards, the animals exiting

  • Thing is, it's just over a month for me and I'm starting to encounter a little elitism ... For instance, someone told me that I should dispose of my leather shoes as "wearing the dead is unacceptable" .. my first thought was "fuck you" followed by "If it's gonna be like that then why should I bother?" (I don't have much leather anyway).


    So that led me to think a little more, and in all honesty I just don't know. Clearly I don't believe in cruelty, but my original conversion to vegetarianism 9 years ago was mostly about factory farming rather than about meat in general, and knowing that I'm an "all or nothing" kinda bloke it seemed better to quit meat entirely.


    Like you said, it seems unhelpful to be guided by a label when there are so many complex issues and grey areas.

  • ask them what the dead will gain from sending your shoes to landfill and buying another, the production of which damages the environment. :/ sometimes people are living up to the image of being a vegan and not thinking on a broader scale. i remember being suprised by vegans who smoked or took drugs like coke, or travelled round the world by plane - it didn't seem to fit in with the conservationy idea. but sometimes that's not what it is about for people. and that's fine obviously it is their choice! but if they critisize you point things out back to them that they do. it's good to keep people thinking from different perspectives!
    it's funny, the more you do, the more people critisize you for not doing enough.

    we reenact Noah's ancient drama, but in reverse, like a film running backwards, the animals exiting

  • Ok, I'm vegan, I don't have wool or leather (or silk) - I don't buy many synthetics. I usually buy cotton clothing and canvas shoes. My vegan Dm's have lasted over 20 years and are still going strong, I'd like to believe that I'm doing least harm. I don't support zoos, they work in conjunction with laboratories and breed animals for vivisection. I do support sanctuaries where animals are re-introduced into a natural environment, or where they are placed temporarily before rehoming.
    It's very hard to get caught up in the huge world wide scenario, there will always be places in the world where the locals are very limited with their resources and have to use what nature provides. This isn't the situation for us or indeed vast areas of the world where most of the population live a vegetarian life. I've lost count at how many times people have used the deserted island question or the 'what about the eskimos?'. I'm not an eskimo and I'm very lucky that I am able to live a well balanced life in an environment that enables me to live mainly cruelty free. It takes a little while longer, lots of reading and constantly updating of info, but for me, it's the right thing to do.
    Paul, you will find your own level where you are comfortable with what you are consuming. No-one is 100% vegan as society is not a vegan friendly place and they sneak animal parts into things that you would never suspect. All you can do is try, I'm really glad that you're asking these questions as a lot of people are to scared (or lazy) to. So many people live their lives with the blinkers on, it's so easy and they never have the problem of conscience or evaluation.

    We come with justice and fire. We come with honour and ideas. We come with decency and desire. We come now and we come as unstoppable as the rain

  • I totally agree with what Pooka said. It's an unvegan world, so we do what we can and what our conscience allows. For me, the title of Flux Of Pink Indians album "Strive to survive causing least suffering possible" is an apt way to sum up my concept of veganism.

  • i also think i want to add that 'natural' isn't necessarily good or better. cotton uses a ridiculous amount of water, and land. like all these things they can be made in excess.

    Exactly, I think cotton production also needs a huge amount of pesticide?


    ask them what the dead will gain from sending your shoes to landfill and buying another, the production of which damages the environment.

    Which I did do. There was also a comment about buying cheaper man-made shoes, but it occurred to me that the cheaper stuff is often the price it is because of sweatshop labour. Companies like Primark are nowadays worse than sports brands like Nike.


    I have no idea if there's any way to compare the impact of synthetic/plastic production ... I mean, we know oil isn't good for the environment, and doesn't typically degrade - but what is the offset against cruelty?


    I don't support zoos, they work in conjunction with laboratories and breed animals for vivisection. I do support sanctuaries where animals are re-introduced into a natural environment, or where they are placed temporarily before rehoming.

    Is this true? Do you have any links to confirm this with regard to British zoos?


    there will always be places in the world where the locals are very limited with their resources and have to use what nature provides. This isn't the situation for us or indeed vast areas of the world where most of the population live a vegetarian life.

    As you'll see in the "post a recent photo" thread, I was privileged to meet an Amazonian tribesman on Friday who, along with his friends, was wearing a very ornate feather headdress. He's here to teach people about his way of life and encourage protection of the rainforest, so I think it would be insane to start evangelising about his use of feathers, but there is definitely a trend for tourists to buy stuff like this and bring it home with them, or even for it to be exported for the trendy alternative types who inhabit places like Camden. These people are often victims of western civilisation ... so is it wrong to discourage the sale of such items when they bring money to their villages?



    All in all, I think there are just too many people on the planet and nobody likes being told that they shouldn't be breeding!

  • yes unless you buy organic cotton its production uses a lot of pesticides :( these harm the workers, can destroy the entire ecosystem, and the run off into rivers can destroy aquatic life too. some of the nastiest chemicals we've made are used on nice natural cotton. which is then bleached, and dyed, before we buy it in the shops. cotton production destroys massive amounts of wildlife and land, cotton plantations are wastelands. WWF says that 1kg of cotton needs 20,000 l of water to be produced. :/ People rant about coca cola and nestle stealing water in places like africa (and quite rightly!!!) but you don't really hear people talking about it in regards to cotton production. the cotton produced even in usa is then sent to china where we have issues re labour and safety.
    I don't know enough about synthetic production. But a quick google tells me it is energy intensive, requires a lot of crude oil, releases nasty gases(inc. acid gases)/volatile organic compounds, is treated with formaldehyde (although so is cotton! unless organic), and the factories that produce them are considered hazardous waste generators. nice.


    i found some interesting stuff on the used clothes market here though http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1964887/ and altohugh lots of people (well it's about americans) use 'thrift stores' there amount of clothes that are discarded every year are so high that they're exported - and because women discard clothes so much more than men there are seven times as many womens clothes in the used clothes market than mens wow!!! i mean i knew that was true but to have that figure. it's ridiculous. i think people often feel it's ok to buy a load of new clothes they don't need because they'll give some old ones to charity. why aren't we educated at school about clothes production? surely it's important?


    the 'good' choices for clothes i found inc. organic cotton, organic wool, hemp, bamboo, linen and recycled polyester. hemp and flax(linen) are more tolerant of 'pests' so don't need so much pesticide. but you have to specifically look for undyed/bleached organic cotton or even this is often.


    so in conclusion i think i agree with myself originally. second hand stuff is best, who cares what it's made from.


    --


    re. zoos and vivisection?? is there any evidence to back that up pooka? i had a quick search and i found claims that animals in zoos are bred and sold to circuses but it's illegal to use animals in circuses in the uk now. i don't know about other countries practises. i saw some very unhappy animals at a circus in eastern europe (just going past it not in)
    i correct myself i just found this http://www.captiveanimals.org/…dustry-and-animal-testing this suggests animal testing of some degree HAS taken place in zoos in the UK recently :(


    --


    as for too many people paul! yes that is completely true. before i had baby i thought having children was selfish. not only from an environmental standpoint but - well, the worlds not really very nice anymore either. and i still think that's true - having babies IS selfish how can it be anything else (well it could be an accident i suppose). some of my environmentally friends when i told them i was pregnant all looked at me like, how could you lol, it's the worst thing you can do to the planet.
    I guess one way I look at is - if everyone who cares about the environment and wants to change things for the better (actively rather than just passively sitting back and hopinh someone else will) stops having children, and only people more ignorant, or not equipped, or uneducated,(or people who want lots of children to populate the world with 'their kind' - i read a book by a jewish woman, who wasn't even a practising jew, who had several children because she said it was her duty to bring more jews into the world??? even though she said she didn't believe in god. :/) continue to have babies the next generation will not stop damaging this world. whereas if some people bring their children up to care and respect the planet, those children may have an impact, may help educate other children who do not know about these things.
    now, this arguement is flawed. one, it's a bit egotistical (an assumption that i can bring my child up well), two, possibly insulting (though people who bring their children up to drop litter, start smoking age 9, kick animals and shoot birds etc, need insulting imo), three it's biased because i have a child and would like to justify it and feel better. but i am aware of that and i am not planning on having anymore children. but you weren't asking me to justify myself. and it is true that many people get very defensive. because they love their children more than anything else and so do not want it to be implied that they shouldn't have had them! sometimes emotions come before rationality. though that's ok. as long as they don't chuck mcdonalds wrappers out of their car windows :'(

    we reenact Noah's ancient drama, but in reverse, like a film running backwards, the animals exiting

  • Thanks for finding that link Elfqueen, I'm still looking. The internet has been tidied up it seems. There was definitely zoo stuff going on a while back too. I somehow ended up with all the documentation regarding xenotransplantation, which later became the uncaged campaigns -diaries of despair, and it was certainly going on then. I'll trawl through my resources and hopefully find something relevant.
    Regarding the 2nd hand clothing thing, we do that too! We also dabble in the historical pastime of repairing, up and re-cycling and not actually buying too much stuff that isn't really needed.

    We come with justice and fire. We come with honour and ideas. We come with decency and desire. We come now and we come as unstoppable as the rain

  • See i knew this was a mine field i`m going back into my vegan bubble :whistle:


    The reproduction point is an interesting one that rarely seems to be confronted through fear of offending people. I`m actually quite proud of the fact that i haven`t brought another human into this world and often use it to try to justify taking the odd flight somewhere :p


    Animal sanctuaries or rehabilitation projects am definitely behind but i think it`s time that we moved on from zoo`s as they are really only a small step above circuses in my opinion. The vast majority of captive breeding programmes don`t release animals back into the wild and many species are over bred in zoo`s to increase revenue from baby animals. Most zoos are businesses at the end of the day..

  • Aw Emma, I came to veganism via direct action and have always been pretty full on. People find their own level and as long as they are open to the information and are willing to engage then that's fair enough.
    There's some horrendous stuff about zoos breeding rare breeds and the killing the young when they are not so cute and interesting http://www.independent.co.uk/e…l-to-be-kind-2207350.html it's important to remember that they are in it for the money and not purely in the interests of the animals.
    I've also elected not to reproduce, I made this decision as a young woman and nothing I have witnessed since has made me question that. Sorry to be so full on with all of this, but opinions were asked for and I am willing to share mine. :0

    We come with justice and fire. We come with honour and ideas. We come with decency and desire. We come now and we come as unstoppable as the rain

  • it's good to hear your opinions pooka. if we can't be open and discuss things, there's not really any hope at all! we won't always agree and we will occasionally offend each other but as long as there is no nastiness it only makes you think and that's good.
    thanks for sharing that stuff on zoos; i had assumed we were above that now. but then on the news today, i half heard a story about putting lions in circuses in wales again. it mentioned somewhere only up the road from me. :S i'll have to look it up as i didn't hear it fully though.

    we reenact Noah's ancient drama, but in reverse, like a film running backwards, the animals exiting

  • Going back to the original question i`m not convinced that it is possible to be vegan and pro-conservation...if the veganism comes from an animal rights stance that is...


    I`m a big supporter of The Sea Shepherd as i love their direct action tactics and they also promote veganism. However they make it clear that their reasons for this come from an environmental angle and not an animal rights one. Are there any groups out there that have both a strong animal rights and a conservation agenda?? So much conservation work seems to be tied up with hunting, shooting, culling etc and that`s something that i can never support :S