Ultimately what I've learned from this is that you can't please everyone, and veganism is a touchy subject for us all. If you're loving to everyone despite their lifestyle choices, some people think you're not standing up for the animals. If you speak strongly about the realities of animal abuse then some people think you're too harsh. If you explain the benefits of the veg diet and how they've improved your life then some people think that you think you're superior and judging them. I started this discussion because I wanted to know if there was an way we could all just get along (emotionally), and right now it doesn't feel like we can...unless we all go vegan! Just kidding...well, sort of. ; )
There are many many reasons why I chose to go vegan and why I have stayed that way. I am a vegan because of compassion for animals, health, environment, and because it just feels right for me. It has evolved so much since September 2003, now 7.5 years later. It seems like I learn something new about it everyday, whether it's something I wanted to start or stop eating or using, or a new way to talk about it to others. Veganism is a journey.
I strongly believe in compassion to all living creatures no matter what. Of course it pains me to know about the animal suffering that happens as a result of people consuming any animal product, but it is not up to me to decide how humans live their lives or judge them for why. Of course I don't like learning that some people use animal products, but I will not make assumptions about why they're not ready or willing to stop. It is my passion to educate people about veganism (and sustainability) through my journalism on this and other sites. As of now, my method is to do it in a subtle, fun, sweet, easy-going way with occasional moments of intensity. I have amazing friends who have different ways of promoting veganism and I support them all the way and acknowledge that some prefer their method over mine. The vegan community is diverse and strong because of that - there isn't one best way to advocate it.
Looking at the majority of the responses I received from non-vegetarian/vegans yesterday the biggest theme was judgement and superiority. It is my goal to find ways to promote and encourage veganism, meal by meal, in a way that anyone can feel comfortable with. It's a process and a lofty goal, but for now, that is Eco-Vegan Gal.
Thank you all for reading and sharing your thoughts and perspectives so openly. Even those who express concern over how I come across - without that I can't grow, so keep it coming! I love all of the passion from everyone, positive or negative - this is what creates a change and this is what makes us human.