Meet America's First Vegan Superhero - The Adventures of Vivian Sharpe, Vegan Superhero
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Vegan Street: The Community Web Portal of Marla Rose and John Beske

Vegan Living
Vegan Street's All-Star Wishes for a Happy New Year

Happy 2015, boys and girls!

Here at Vegan Street, we have a lot of exciting things up our sleeves (including this project) and as I am writing this, I don’t really know how we are going to pull any of it off but we will give it our best shot. Dreaming big is always part of the process here, and then gently whittling these big, ambitious plans into more reasonable, humanly possible goals as we go; that is also how we approach the New Year and all the baggage around it as well. While neither of us is a big fan of resolutions, we are goal-oriented and understand how important inspiration is (from Latin inspirare, literally "breathe in") to creating positive change so we thought we’d talk to some of our favorite vegan trailblazers and learn of their hopes and goals for 2015. We hope you’ll find a fresh perspective and some great motivation on your own goals for the year ahead.

“What would you like to see more of in 2015 and how will you be focusing your own efforts?”

Kathy Freston“I'd love to see more cooking at home in 2015!  I think we tend to think of cooking -- especially vegan -- as a pain in the arse, but if you keep it super simple, it's wonderfully easy. When planning, I just think: ok, what's my protein, what's my veg, and what's my starch? And once in the swing of it, when your pantry is stocked, it comes together quite effortlessly. I soak and cook beans twice a week. I make rice in the rice cooker two or three times a week so that I have it ready for breakfast or dinner, or even a snack. I have a farm box delivered once a week, and supplement that with frozen veggies. And with a little bit of salt, olive oil, and garlic it's always pretty great! Instead of trying to follow recipes (which sometimes overwhelm me), I lean  into cooking by keeping things very basic. It's good for my body, and great for the soul!”
Kathy Freston, bestselling author

lauren Ornelas“I would love to see more heart and a holistic stand for equity, justice, and compassion for all -- a recognition that the links that connect us to wanting to work for justice and fight oppression should be extended to all living beings. Note I say, ‘recognition.’ I am not asking those in the animal movement to give up their fight for non-human animals, but to do their best to not subsidize industries that support the exploitation and slavery of humans -- such as in the chocolate industry.

It would also be great to see animal activists put their efforts into tangible campaign goals. The animals need concrete changes to improve their lives, not just the hope that if we keep doing the same thing, maybe it will make a difference for them.

My efforts will continue to be focused on Food Empowerment Project’s goals to help people go and stay vegan, to promote our chocolate list as a resource for buying vegan chocolates that do not support the worst forms of child labor, and to keep assisting the needs of farm workers who pick our produce and drawing attention to the inequality of access of healthy foods in communities of color and low-income communities. I will also continue Sonoma County Chicken Save to make sure that the public is reminded of the lives that are being taken at that slaughterhouse. And, as I have always done, I will continue to support those efforts outside of F.E.P.’s work with activists who run smart and consistent efforts against injustices faced by human and non-human animals.”

lauren Ornelas, Founder and Executive Director, Food Empowerment Project

Matt Ball“I stopped eating animals over a quarter century ago. At the time, I never dreamed of restaurants like Veggie Grill or Native Foods. I never dreamed Bill Gates and other billionaires would be investing in vegan food companies. I never dreamed of presidents going vegan. Most of all, I never dreamed the number of animals killed in this country would decline by hundreds of millions every year since 2006, even while the population increases. We’ve changed the world so much in the past 25 years -- far more than I ever dreamed!
The next 25 years could exceed our dreams even more. Of course, we are on the right side of history. But more importantly, we are stronger and much, much smarter. We are equipped with better tools and a growing dedication to optimal advocacy. More and more, we are realizing we don't have to settle for the attitude of “do something, do anything.” We no longer have to settle for advocacy practices that were popular twenty years ago. Now, in 2015, we can pursue modern outreach like video that leverage the latest technological advances and psychological research. These new tools and insights mean our efforts and our donations can have the biggest possible impact for the animals, in 2015 and beyond.”

Matt Ball, author and Senior Advisor, VegFund

Mikael Nielsen“Through my job I have the pleasure of working with activists all over the United States and Canada. I have been a volunteer coordinator for a while now, and 2014 was without a doubt the year in which I saw the greatest number of volunteers getting active for the animals. Young people, older people, whole families, athletes, liberals, conservatives, and people from all walks of life have been inspired to take action. It is truly a sign of the times and shows that animal protection is becoming more and more mainstream. My goal for 2015 is to get even more people involved and bring us closer than ever to a society in which all animals are treated with the respect and compassion they so rightly deserve.

If you are ready to take that next step, please fill out one of our volunteer forms here, and let’s get to work!"

Mikael Nielsen, National Volunteer Coordinator, Mercy For Animals

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau“Well, it's cliche, but I'd like to see more compassion - compassion for animals, compassion for one another, compassion in our speech, compassion in our actions. Lack of compassion can manifest itself in seemingly insignificant ways, but I believe that even the slightest hint of harshness in our words, our thoughts, our behavior gathers and grows exponentially until we're all seeped in it. I think we dwell too much on what makes us different from one another rather than on what makes us connected. When we see ourselves in another, we are inclined to do no harm. That's what I'd like to see more of in 2015: less harm, more connection, and thus more compassion. I strive to practice this myself every day: it might mean not saying something snarky or judging someone else. It might mean reaching out to someone I may have hurt. It might mean seeking out ways to help someone (human or non-human) directly. I have the opportunity every day to do the right thing, and if I fail one day, I always have the next. There's always the opportunity to create more compassion in the world, and 2015 is as good a time to start as any!”

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, best-selling author, speaker, and podcaster

Carrie LeBlanc"In 2015, I would like to see more compassion. More compassion toward animals, toward people not yet awakened to the fact that animals deserve compassion, and toward other vegans and activists with whose opinions we might not agree. I believe that is step one to making real and lasting change.

I was blessed in 2014 to have the opportunity to launch my own nonprofit, CompassionWorks International. My 2015 will be spent continuing CWI's work to facilitate effective community-based activism for animals, particularly around issue of the use of animals in entertainment. In the coming year, we will also be launching a new program designed to help "veganize" communities, which we believe will reduce recidivism. For me, it is a simple equation: compassion + community = lives saved. I look forward to doing everything possible to assist others around the country make a better day for animals (and people)!"

Carrie LeBlanc, Co-Executive Director and President, CompassionWorks International

Will Tuttle“I’d like to see more emphasis on the intersectionality of oppression within our animal liberation movement, with a greater awareness of how important it is to realize that all forms of exploitation and oppression are interconnected. As part of that, to help our movement recognize that effective advocacy for animals is not just about knowing all the facts and spreading information. Rather, being an effective advocate for vegan living and compassion and justice for animals calls us to deep inner transformation so that we are living in alignment with vegan values of caring for all. We become the message rather than trying to convince people.

For me, this means making an effort to treat other humans with kindness and respect under all conditions, and overcoming my tendencies (injected by my upbringing in a violent herding culture) to be judgmental, dismissive, competitive, proud, etc. And it means for me increasing the time I spend daily in inner silence and meditation. In inner silence, the mind can expand beyond the boundaries of cultural conditioning and glimpse the true nature of itself, and the eternal blessedness of being, and from this foundation, every day becomes an opportunity to express lovingkindness, gratitude, joy, and creatively work to help others. What a refreshing gift! Opening consciously to the big picture, that life is brief and precious and calls me ever on, is what I feel beckoning to me in the upcoming days & months. Deep thanks to everyone in this movement for contributing your unique piece!”

Will Tuttle, musician, speaker and best-selling author

Jack Norris, RD“In 2014, the vegan movement made big strides. We saw a vegan mayo backed by Bill Gates and competing fiercely with the more traditional Hellmann’s, a US senator tweeting about the joys of a vegan diet, and Vegan Outreach activists giving out over one million booklets in a single semester.

My goal for 2015 is to give my honest all to make sure that we see even more gains. As the Executive Director for Vegan Outreach, I’ll work to ensure that VO’s outreach efforts expand in the US and overseas and that our outreach materials create maximum change.

There’s never been a better time to push the ball forward for animals than now, and we at Vegan Outreach are thrilled to further accelerate veganism in the coming year. But we can’t do this without you! Please contact us so that together we can make 2015 the best year yet for vegan advocacy.”

Jack Norris, RD, Executive Director, Vegan Outreach

Victoria MoranI love New Year’s – partly because I’m a total kid about the whole Thanksgiving/Hanukkah/Solstice/ Christmas/Kwanzaa/Epiphany complex, but also for its own sake. New Year’s is a fresh start, all bright and unspoiled and full of promise. I always expect that this time next year will be a great deal better than this time this year.

Looking out on 2015 as it's yet to reveal itself, I have some personal aspirations and more far-reaching ones. As for the big picture, I’d like to see the number of committed vegans double – at least. (I was a caught off-guard when the Macy’s Santa asked what I wanted for Christmas – I thought only children got that question – and blurted out: “2 million more vegans.” He said, “I’ll work on that.”)

And I want us to get along. We’re not a monolithic movement, with each of us seeing everything the same way. Some of us favor animal welfare incentives on the way to universal veganism; others don’t. Some of us keep oil out of our diets; others are fine with it. Great. We’re all vegan. Until we get to be as big as Protestantism after the Reformation, we can’t afford to split into denominations.

In my own life, I want this year to live more Ayurvedically. That may be a little like the guy who spent a year attempting to live by every Biblical precept, and the woman who sought to get through 365 days doing only what Oprah professed, but I’m ever more taken with the good sense of the Ayurvedic daily routine or dinacharya. It includes getting up early (before 6), doing yoga, meditation, and self-massage, eating the biggest meal at lunchtime and finishing dinner three hours before an early bedtime – with a second meditation in the late afternoon.

When I was younger, I fancied myself quite the artiste and Bohemian. My favorite quotation came from the musical, The Fantasticks: “Oh, God, don’t let me be normal!” I’m still not in the market for “normal” exactly, but for living more in line with nature’s rhythms. For letting the emails build up in the inbox while I tend to other morning obligations. To live by a few rules set by somebody who wasn’t me. To generate more energy and use it to make things at least a little bit better.

Victoria Moran, author, podcaster and Director of Main Street Vegan Academy

2013, 2014, Vegan Street

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