Why Environmentalism and Veganism Go Hand in Hand.

Published January 20, 2012 by vegansloveanimals

While companies may claim ways in which to make animal exploitation more “environmentally friendly”, there is absolutely no way in which to make environmental exploitation “animal friendly”…this is why I feel quite strongly that ethical reasons to become vegan should be based strongly in environmentalism AND respecting the rights of non-human animals.

This is the basis for anti-civ vegans, and I’m absolutely sick of being written off by other vegans because I am a green anarchist (though I personally distinguish between this and a primitivist, as I don’t condone hunting in any way). I am able to think for myself, and I certainly don’t blindly follow Derrick Jensen or John Zerzan or anyone else, though I may feel they have some very valuable things to say.

Clearcut forest–ask yourself, what do the animals think of this?

The exploitation of the environment (logging, mining, factories spewing all kinds of toxic chemicals from their smokestacks, cars and their roads, cell phone towers, planes, coal, oil drilling and oil pipelines and refining oil for our cars, etc etc etc) all DIRECTLY cause harm and exploitation to non-human animals. So just being vegan and driving a Prius doesn’t make us non-contributors to the direct exploitation of animals.

Strip mining for coal–how many animals lost their homes? How many died?

I’M NOT PERFECT. I know many of you vegans will scoff and say,”Well there you are typing away on your laptop, using electricity!” Yes, and I also have a cell phone, which contributes to the death of millions of songbirds each year. I also have a car, which was and is destructive as the materials to build it were mined and refined and manufactured, as the roads I drive on were paved over where once pristine habitat for wild animals existed, as the oil I use to power my car was drilled for and sent through pipelines or on polluting ships, as driving causes toxic, unhealthy emissions for both human and non-humans everywhere. But at least I am able to admit how destructive civilization is, for humans AND for animals. DIRECTLY.

With the human population nearly hitting the 7 billion mark, what would happen if every one of us did indeed go vegan? Would animal exploitation stop? Of course it wouldn’t. We’d still have to have massive agriculture, which means acres of land plowed over and replanted with crops for people. Water would have to be diverted from natural streams, rivers, and lakes for our agriculture. The food would have to be shipped to people living in cities, so roads would continue to exist, even continue to be built! Only a few examples.

Yes, people should ABSOLUTELY be vegan for animal rights and liberation. But they should also realize that environmentalism and animal rights go hand in hand, paw in paw, feather in feather. I am an abolitionist through and through. I am always against the exploitation of animals, and I am always against the exploitation of Nature, because they are inexorably linked.

Go vegan for the animals. Go vegan for the Earth, so that all who live upon the earth can live. And realize that even vegans do not have all the answers.


4 comments on “Why Environmentalism and Veganism Go Hand in Hand.

  • Do you mean you ‘do not’ condone hunting i any way? because you said you ‘do’

    What are “anti-civ vegans” ( sorry I don’t know what “civ” refers to)

    You said “I am an abolitionist through and through” so I have a question for you, and I don’t mean ‘any’ disrespect by asking this question and I’m not sure to what extent you may have thought this through already, how do you feel about cadaver dogs that do search & rescue work, or guide dogs.

    Thanx 🙂

    • Thanks for the heads up–I indeed do NOT condone hunting!

      “Anti-civ” is short for anti-civilization, meaning I find civilization to be inherently destructive to all life on Earth, and I ultimately could not find a good reason to not celebrate it’s downfall. I certainly am not advocating killing everyone on the planet–though corporations and governments are doing it anyway, though generally pretty slowly yet on a massive scale, through pollution and rampant over-development, habitat loss, savage raping and pillaging of the oceans, forests, etc, etc.

      As for dogs who are bred for search & rescue, guide dogs, etc–I am generally against this. I am against BREEDING dogs for our human needs, and I am against using them as if they do not have their own desires and needs. However, I am not opposed to training dogs–but I would like to see them RESCUED. In America we euthanize millions of dogs every year in shelters–why are we breeding more of them? Why not rescue dogs in shelters who have the right personality for certain kinds of work, like search & rescue or with the disabled? The dogs who are good in these fields need to be treated like worthy, sentient beings, though. I just read an article recently about a german shepherd who got loose in an airport or something, now missing, who was on his way to a rescue after almost being euthanized–he had been used by the military to sniff out bombs for X amount of years, and then they were just going to kill him? It makes me absolutely sick, and is inexcusable. I am also not comfortable with dogs being used in professions where they could be killed–like law enforcement or military work. However, if they were rescue dogs who were otherwise going to be killed in shelters, and who clearly enjoyed their work/tasks, and who were treated as companions and living beings worthy of love and respect–well, I would definitely be more receptive to it!

      • Thanx for taking the time to tell me about your stance on abolition. Whenever someone says they are an abolitionist, relative to non-humans, it makes me wonder just what is it that they are really saying. By way of an example you said… ” In America we euthanize millions of dogs every year in shelters–why are we breeding more of them? Why not rescue dogs in shelters who have the right personality for certain kinds of work, like search & rescue or with the disabled?”…I agree, breeding is not only wrong but cruel when as you point out there are animals in shelters that are very capable of carrying out those assignments.

        I have to say it’s refreshing to read an article/opinion that while coming out against the abuses and the ravaging of the environment and the ‘other’ citizens of this planet, that you ‘temper’ your words with …”However, if they were rescue dogs who were otherwise going to be killed in shelters, and who clearly enjoyed their work/tasks, and who were treated as companions and living beings worthy of love and respect–well, I would definitely be more receptive to it!”…Thank you, for ‘that’ caveat!

        I feel compelled to say that ‘I am a ‘humans first’ vegan, so that does put me in the crosshairs of traditional vegans (because it makes me speciesist) and welcome any critique of my position, Having said that, I am also in agreement with you to some extent about the human race/big business that is dessimating the environment, not only for it’s negative impact on non-humans but ‘us’ too.

  • EcoEthicalVegan:
    Thank you for the reply–I think I posted it then got distracted by something else. It was such a thoughtful response that I wanted to reply now, even if I am months late! 😛

    Even within the “abolitionist” movement regarding animal rights there are conflicts, so you are right in wondering exactly what the term means. Some people who call for the complete abolition of all industries and practices that use/exploit animals feel that the only way to achieve their desired objective is through peaceful, legal means. Some people, such as myself, feel that it would be best to use any and all means in order to free animals from exploitation. Historically, I feel it is EXTREMELY dishonest for anyone to claim that radical social change can be achieved through non-violent means alone. I would LOVE if protests, letter-writing campaigns, disbursing vegan outreach pamphlets, and phone calls to senators (etc) would guarantee rights and liberation to non-human animals–wouldn’t it be great? But to think this was is deluded, as far as I am concerned. Women’s rights, ending the slavery of blacks in America, civil rights–none of these causes (and MANY more throughout the world) made strides without a diverse range of tactics–including the use of force.

    We are privileged enough as humans to have these sorts of debates–but what do the animals really want? What does the Earth really need? How will forests be saved? How can we stop entire species from being wiped forever from the face of the planet? How can be stop industries from completely destroying the oceans–filling them with floating plastic islands of garbage, toxic waste from our sewage and agricultural runoff, emptying them of all life (dolphins, tuna, sea turtles, sharks, whales, mind-boggling assortments of incredible species of fish….)—ETC ETC ETC!

    I have gone off a bit on a tangent that you hadn’t explicitly brought up–excuse me! 🙂 But–your comments made my mind wander a bit!

    You are correct–a ‘humans-first’ outlook is speciesist, and I appreciate the honesty. I feel it is a shame that the cast majority of humans always assume our species is number one, our interests come first, our needs come first–and so often our mere WANTS come first–almost always at the expense of non-human animals and the Earth. In truth–humans are animals. No matter how desperately we try we cannot change the fact that we NEED the Earth, we NEED all the other species who have evolved to be able to live at the same time with us, alongside us. Our species is NO MORE IMPORTANT than cats, cows, wolves, coyotes, sloths, Redwood trees, snails, elephants–we only THINK we are more important, and it is nothing more than human supremacy. I find that heartbreaking, and no less destructive than white supremacy or any other form of discrimination/bigotry.

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