Why A Vegan Human Ecology?
Veganism is at the core of our human ecology
Green Vegans is our organization’s name because a vegan human ecology changes our relationships with all species and ecosystems. Green Vegans is an offering of answers, not dreams.
Earth requires veganism. Ecologically, it is not an option. The foods we decide to eat and refuse to eat are either morally and environmentally sustainable or not. Our meals create consequences for and establish relationships with ecosystems and individuals from other species. If we want to see songbirds, bees, frogs and elephants thriving and living naturally as they adapted over eons to native ecosystems, then we must make conscious decisions to make that possible. It will not happen without you adopting a vegan life, a necessary choice among many elements of the new human ecology.
Veganism has a well-documented history of its inception and evolving definition that has not strayed all that far from the original idea founded in 1943.
Green Vegans advocates for a more expansive definition of veganism that acknowledges its role in our human ecology. Veganism is a lifestyle of nonviolence and justice that includes not only other species beyond our own, but also the ecosystems they need.
As vegans, we must recognize and tell others that if we do not protect ecosystems that provide food, shelter, water, safe spaces and overall physical and psychological well-being, they will suffer and die. We must protect the ecosystems that provide these needs to be vegan.
Human ecology is a consideration of the whole of human behavior. Through its lens we see how human overpopulation is destroying those ecosystems and crowding out species from their homes, species who then suffer. Through human ecology’s lens we also see how economic systems that devalue the true worth of ecosystems inevitably destroy the plant and animal communities which opens the door to suffering, death, and then ecosystem collapse. These issues overlap and all stem from the behaviors we choose as we define our human ecology. In Green Vegans and its Seven Goals, we are describing a new human ecology that is consistent with veganism’s pledge to justice and nonviolence.
Veganism responds to our modern understanding of where we fit into ecosystems
At present, humanity still insists we can continue to our impacts as hunters, pastoralists, and fishers. This foolishness fails to acknowledge that these predatory identities have been superseded by the far greater environmental impacts we create by our other behaviors such as clearing land for highways, houses, crops grown for animal agriculture, the dams we build, the greenhouse gasses we spew creating climate change—all of our environmental impacts.
With those behaviors we kill more animals and plants, create more extinctions and destroy entire ecosystems than our species ever did by raising and killing as hunters, pastoralists and fishers. We have replaced our ancestors’ predations with the neo-predations that come from the environmental impacts we now impose over the entire Earth. For instance, clear and reflective glass on tall buildings kills an estimated 34,000,000 birds during fall and spring migrations every year in the urban cities north of Mexico in North America alone. We didn’t hunt them but they are dead nonetheless.
With the cotton we wear, our transportation systems that include highways and greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks, the resources we take to build and heat or cool our homes, and the astronomical impacts we create through animal and botanical agriculture are all multiplied by 7.5 billion of us consuming ecosystem services at an unsustainable rate.
We can and must use organic and recycled materials, prevent waste, choose rational and sustainable public transportation, build smaller, more efficient homes in higher densities, reduce our population, and make better use of what we already have, but it will not be enough to be sustainable—not even close. Veganism and the parallel ending of hunting, animal agriculture, and fishing will end the immoral treatment of individuals of other species and destruction of ecosystems.
As noted by the Food and Agriculture Organization in 2006, “The livestock sector is by far the single largest anthropogenic user of land.
The total area occupied by grazing is equivalent to 26 percent of the ice-free terrestrial surface of the planet… the total area dedicated to feedcrop production amounts to 33 percent of total arable land…livestock production accounts for 70 percent of all agricultural land and 30 percent of the land surface of the planet…. Livestock now account for about 20 percent of the total terrestrial animal biomass, and the 30 percent of the earth’s land surface that they now pre-empt was once habitat for wildlife. Indeed, the livestock sector may well be the leading player in the reduction of biodiversity, since it is the major driver of deforestation as well as one of the leading drivers of land degradation, pollution, climate change, over-fishing, sedimentation of coastal areas and facilitation of invasions by alien species. In addition, resource conflicts with pastoralists threaten species of wild predators and also protected areas close to pastures.”
Several findings since then continue to document the impacts caused by animal agriculture. One recent and detailed study found it to be responsible for 51% of anthropogenic greenhouse emissions while others believe it to be 18%. As a green vegan who advocates for Green Vegans–the organization– you understand the hunter, fisher, and pastoralist models of the old human ecology must end now.
Our responses must not be passive. Green Vegans advocates and campaigns a reformation of our human ecology that is defined by our behaviors. Each of us can purposefully create the new human ecology this very moment by changing our personal life. That is where it starts. That is where the power lies.
Green Vegans is working to get that message out and identifying the other sources of empowering information for your use. It all comes down to who we have become and now, who we choose to be. We are arrogantly out of control and a threat to all life on Earth.
Most importantly, the new norms of behavior required and implied by this new human ecology empower YOU to be the change agent. This is your job as much as it is ours.
Changing our behaviors to create a new human ecology is about joyous discovery and taking personal responsibility for the reality that afflicts the poor and least powerful, human and non-human alike.
As a species, we need to remember the examples of our altruistic potential, the good we have accomplished and continue doing. The Green Vegans’ New Human Ecology is not the complete story. This is just the beginning. In proposing just Seven Goals, we do not want to infer that is all we must accomplish nor that all of it is easy. Some of it is complex and tough and will require billions of people to figure out how to achieve the Seven Goals in ways relevant to their cultures.
There will be no end to the work and passion to which we must commit ourselves to live up to who we claim to be as humans. Our task here is to gain your consensus and engagement that our current worldview and strategic approaches to achieving the Seven Goals must be in the context of a comprehensive, New Human Ecology. We have never been here, in this state of the Earth, before. Therefore, our human ecology must also be nothing like we have done before now.*
*Portions of this website are excerpted from This Is Hope: Green Vegans and The New Human Ecology.