Sunday, April 24, 2016

Purely vegan

One of the many things we love about living in Los Angeles is the incredible vegan food scene.

We knew about many of the amazing vegan establishments before moving here, yet I don't think we had a grasp on how far-stretching the food scene was, and how we would just love being right in the middle of it.

We have literally had dozens, if not over 100, vegan meals in a restaurant or at a food truck since moving here last July.

I bring all of this up as recently in LA there has been news that the owners of some of the more popular vegan restaurants here have decided to slaughter animals at their farm and to sell the animal flesh.

I am definitely disappointed.

I have believed for a long time that if a person decides to become vegan for animal rights/animal cruelty issues, they will most likely always be vegan. I personally can never imagine not being vegan.

I don't expect every vegan I know or hear of to always be vegan.

I digress. I call myself vegan. I'm not sure I am purely vegan, or a pure vegan. I suppose these terms mean different things to different people. I have not purposefully consumed animal products in over 20 years.

There is a lot to think about in regards to whether or not I continue to eat at their establishments.  Their chefs, especially those at Gracias Madre, do an impeccable job at showing the world how delicious vegan food is, and that makes a difference to me as someone who fights for the voiceless animals.

What I keep coming back to while paying attention to this news are the vegan places I love that are vegan because of the animals, because of compassion. First on the list are my friends at One Veg World in Pasadena. Compassion hits you like a loving embrace when you walk in, and it continues through their wonderful staff sharing and preparing incredible vegan food. I am grateful for places like One Veg World that add so much to my life.

I was at One Veg World today and will be back soon.

I also have  a few places we have found in LA that are not entirely vegan but do have amazing vegan dishes. I will continue to go dine with them too. As some in the discussion of the recent news have pointed out, and I understand, restaurants like these have never purported to be vegan or having a food vision based on compassion or animal rights.

More to come on this.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Taking action

I have always thought that if something bothers me, I need to take action to change it.
This thought pattern is up front and center every day while I drive around Los Angeles. Yes, I'm paying attention to the political race, the state-sponsored bigotry in states like Mississippi and North Carolina, racism, the hungry and the homeless and the huge amount of kids living in poverty in the US to name a few.

Yet one thing that I come across constantly and feel like I do have the power to change is the vast amount of litter throughout LA. No matter where I drive, I see it.

Not that big of a deal? Maybe not. Some would say there is nothing I can do, that in a county where there are close to 11 million people, there is going to be litter.

To accept this would mean that I would need to think that most people who live here don't give a shit. They don't give a shit about litter that makes an area look terrible and litter that has an affect on the environment and wildlife.

From my favorite beach to hiking trails, entrances to the highway and along the street in whichever part of the city I might be driving in, litter is everywhere.

As I think of this and of everything else there is going on in the world, I think of little victories. What does a little victory around litter look like? Maybe seeing the flowers on the side of the road instead of litter. We are in southern California after all where there is an abundance of natural beauty. Maybe it's watching the dolphins of of Zuma beach knowing that the bag of litter we cleaned up that morning was not going to make it into the ocean. By the way, the Algalita Foundation here in SoCal estimates that 80% of marine debris comes from human activities on land! Maybe it's being at the on ramp cleaning up litter just to show others that, like them, there are people who give a shit about where they live.

I see myself making a trip to Home Depot for garbage bags and gloves. Nothing ever changes if we don't take action.

As I create a plan on what I can do to clean up LA, remember that there is metaphorical litter everywhere. From you state legislature to city hall to those who torture animals and spread hate among humans, there is enough of that type of garbage out there to keep us all busy.

Take action.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

1 in 5 children in LA County live in poverty

This is a series of several blog posts I am writing regarding poverty.

There is no where better to start than right here where we live.

When we moved to Los Angeles in July of 2015 I took my time looking for a job and in August landed the perfect one. My past job in Denver was fundraising for an agency that serves youth experiencing homelessness and this new one is fundraising for an agency that serves neglected and abused children in the LA County foster care system.

I immediately jumped into learning about the children my new agency serves and the numbers are stark. One word that came up right away was the word poverty.

1 in 5 children in LA County live in poverty. This number blows my mind. No matter what type of activism you are involved with, this crazy poverty rate affects you. From hunger to homelessness to violence to liberation and economic inequality, it's even more difficult to find even a small success when poverty, and in many cases extreme poverty, is part of the problem.

Welcome to this journey into exploring poverty. I'd be thrilled if you joined me.  What is the child/poverty rate where you live? What does poverty look like within your activism? How does poverty affect how we engage around veganism, liberation, animal rights and politics?

Thank you for reading. And thank you for all you do to make the world a better place for all living beings.