Everyday enviro with Elise: going vegan for Veganuary (and beyond)

Everyday enviro with Elise: going vegan for Veganuary (and beyond)

By Elise Catterall  January 12th, 2021

More people than ever have signed up for Veganuary this year, will you be one of them?

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January is not only the first month of the new year, it is also the month of Veganuary — a campaign that promotes and educates about veganism by encouraging people to follow a vegan lifestyle for the month of January. This January is also my one-year vegan anniversary, which began with Veganuary 2020.

After becoming a vegetarian in the late 80s, I had a period veganism in the late 90s. It was short-lived and I went back to being a vegetarian (and went on deluding myself for another 20 years that the needs of my tastebuds were more important than showing kindness to animals). 

Whilst Veganuary was the catalyst for me to make a change, the awareness of what eating animals and, in my case, animal products (eggs and dairy) meant for animals, for health and for the earth was weighing on me. A few heartbreaking and eye-opening documentaries — DominionCowspiracy and What the Health — added even more weight. At just the right time, Veganuary came around and gave me the support and connection I needed to make a permanent shift. I have never felt better, nor more at peace with any decision I’ve ever made. As someone who identifies as an animal lover, I could no longer live with the hypocrisy of personally being part of the animal industry.

Now, after a year of veganism, I have no interest in going back to being vegetarian. I admit having qualifications in nutrition and health has helped smooth my path, but the tools and information available now make it perfectly achievable — especially thanks to campaigns like Veganuary and Meatfree Monday and resources like vegan collective (who I also write for) and livekindly

There is also a wealth of information that supports veganism and plant-based diets. (The former meaning a totally animal and animal by-product free lifestyle beyond just diet and the latter meaning not consuming animal products in any form.) Whether it’s information regarding the immense burden animal agriculture places on the environment (land-clearing for crops, water to feed animals, massive use of resources to process and transport the products), information about the intolerable suffering of animals through factory farming for meat, dairy and eggs, or information regarding the health benefits of plant-based diets, it all leads to one conclusion: eliminating — or even reducing — animal agriculture is a good thing and a necessary thing. Even David Attenborough agrees.

Me being a single vegan person hasn’t solved the problems of the world, but it feels like a relief to not be part of one problem. So, with Veganuary upon us, I’d love it if you’d try it out too!

For more information and to sign up for Veganuary, head here.

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Elise Catterall

Elise is a writer, photographer, and naturopath with a passion for nature. She completed a Master of Public Health in 2017 through the University of Sydney. Her photographic work focuses on flowers and plants as a way of celebrating nature. She has been writing for Planet Ark since 2017, sharing positive environment stories, personal environmental experiences and perspectives.

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