“It's World Vegan Day on Sunday 1st November, and I’d like to invite all FWBO Centres and Sanghas to consider taking part in GoVegan350.
“The idea is simply to go vegan for 350 hours - 15 days - with the support of a vegan buddy, starting whenever you choose. It's a perfect, do-able project that’s also a perfect opportunity to work on the first and second Buddhist precepts - and for vegans in our Sangha to support and encourage non-vegans!
“In Bristol we’re launching it today at Bristol's Free Vegan Food Fair, working in partnership with Climate 350, Bristol Animal Rights Collective and Bristol Vegan Buddies.
“Taking part is simple - all you have to do is find a buddy, choose your starting date, and when you’re ready, adopt a vegan diet, which means no meat, fish, dairy or egg to be eaten. Also take a look at your lifestyle, what cosmetics you use, bath and shower gels, toothpaste, the shoes and clothes that you buy, even the food and drinks you consume on a night out.
“You could even use it as a fundraising opportunity – pick your favourite FWBO charity, find them on www.justgiving.com, make yourself a page – and tell your friends to sponsor you! FWBO Dhammaloka (www.justgiving.com/dhammaloka) is raising money for Dhamma work in India and would be delighted to receive your donations...
“Why do this? The answer’s simple really, especially for Buddhists: the meat and dairy industry inflict terrible suffering on the animals in their care. And the two industries contribute to approximately 18% of the greenhouse gas emissions that will (unless checked) lead to a drastic change in our climate. A small action such as changing your diet will make a dramatic difference, as well as being kinder to animals and better for your health. This is increasingly being recognized - on Monday Lord Stern (author of the Stern Report) used an interview in the Times to call on the world to “give up meat to save the planet”!
“To help you through these 15 days there’s recipes, information, and links available on our website www.compassion-in-the-kitchen.org.uk. And of course your vegan buddy. Sadly, it seems there's still a lot of hostility about veganism - some people go into kneejerk mode when their comfort zones are nudged, but a lot of folk are at least getting interested and asking questions - and hopefully Buddhists (and others) can use their spiritual practice to examine such hindrances and give it a go... Onwards and upwards!"