The other week I attended the Grassroots to Global dinner, the brainchild of Vegas’ very own vegan powerhouse, Diana Edelman. The panel, hosted by Vegenation (one of my all-time FAVORITE restaurants) and moderated by Kelly Bennett, featured an amazing three course meal paired with a stimulating, engaging conversation with some amazing vegan movers and shakers.
The panel featured:
Diana Edelman of Vegans, Baby
Taryn Rasgon of Vegetaryn
Carly Bergman and Brenden Fitzgerald of Sustainable Duo
David Anthony, aka PETA’s Sexiest Vegan Next Door of 2018
The conversation was focused on meaningful ways to make positive change in this world. And oh man, am i ever inspired. Here are my main takeaways from the night:
Everyone has their own journey.
Once you go vegan and wake up to the truth of animal suffering, the environmental degradation of factory farming, and animal products’ damaging effects on health, you’ve essentially reached that ‘click.’ And once you’re no longer in the dark, the first instinct often is to shake others out of ignorance until they too, reach that moment of realization. The thing is, aggressive tactics of forcing that click in others aren’t the only (or necessarily the best) way to go. But I get it, once you make the switch, it’s easy to be angry, and aggression is an understandable reaction (I’ve been there, and still am there most days), but coming from a place of understanding also has its own power. Don’t forget where you come from. Not everyone goes vegan overnight or in the same way. Extend compassion and empathy to human beings, too.
Lead by example.
Non-vegans, as someone on the panel referred to as “pre-gans,” often just need to see that a happy, healthy, positive vegan life is not only possible, but also accessible. Through Vegans, Baby, Diana works to make veganism as relatable and as fun as possible with fun events, a comprehensive guide to vegan life in Las Vegas, and even new vegan food tours for an in-depth experience of DTLV’s best plant based eats in the company of like-minded others. Personally, I’ve had the most success inspiring others to change their eating habits when i’m positive, supportive, and a friend above all else. Be the cool token vegan friend, not the jerk one, and pretty soon you’ll build a community of plant-eaters around you.
“Never compromise your ethics to make other people comfortable.” – Carly Bergman
With a seemingly never-ending barrage of negativity out there, it’s important to not add to it. Cliche as it may sound, you’ve really got to be the change you want to see in the world, and put out the energy you want to receive back. That’s the real deal. Staying true to your values- especially in the face of difficult situations or people- takes constant work, but it’s worth it. Positive intentions will inspire positive change.
By the end of the dinner and conversation, I was left with renewed inspiration to build the compassionate world I want to live in- starting with doubling down on efforts to build community and using my story to help others change their story. Kindness goes a long way, and compassion shouldn’t be reserved for just animals, but rather for all living beings.