Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Hi good morning everybody

  • So this talk is indeed called how to create a vegan world and that's the title of my book

  • "How to create a vegan world"

  • and It's been called a book that everyone should avoid

  • by the vegan police and this is an actual quote

  • I didn't invent this.

  • This is actually somebody calling himself the vegan police.

  • But what I want to show with this is that, I'm sometimes

  • a bit of a devil's advocate within the movement

  • and some people would just simply say I'm the devil.

  • But so before I give some of my

  • perceptions about the vegan movement and what we can do better,

  • let me just say

  • very simply that I think that vegans of course are awesome. I was ...

  • Yeah

  • Yeah, and in United States where I just was at the conference, we would say like give yourself a big round of applause

  • We're not gonna do that here

  • So umm... vegans are awesome

  • Why? because you have to deal with a lot of shit, you are

  • swimming against the stream, you're doing a thing that's really awesome

  • That's really great that has so many benefits for so many things and you're doing it in spite of the fact that

  • 97% of the people or something is against you and is criticizing you and ridiculing you so that's why it's really

  • recommendable to be vegan of course.

  • So that being said, let me explain some things about what we could do better. In my book,

  • I used a metaphor I use a metaphor of the track to vegan ville

  • A hike to vegan ville, vegan ville is the village where we want everybody to live, we want

  • everybody to live in that village to be vegan, a vegan world right

  • and

  • I have

  • Subdivided the book in different part different chapters. It's about the first one is about getting your bearings

  • Where are we... the second one is about the call to action? What are we ideally going to ask people to do?

  • Third one is about motivations. What are the arguments we're going to use?

  • Then the environment is about like how do we create an environment? That's facilitating people's ...

  • evolution

  • Then I have a big chapter on communication

  • How do we communicate best with people like in an engaging way...

  • That like really motivates and stimulates them, and then finally there's a chapter on sustainability about how to keep on doing what we're doing

  • Both as vegans and as activists,

  • but today

  • I'm going to talk about another metaphor, and I'm going to use the metaphor of ingredients, and I'm going to talk about

  • four ingredients that we need

  • for a vegan world, four things that we need more of in our movement

  • And you can think more than four, of more than four things, but I'm going to just discuss these ones

  • open-mindedness

  • empathy

  • rationality

  • and positivity

  • Those are the four ingredients that I see that we can use some more of.

  • So let's start with open-mindedness

  • if you like me you were

  • for a certain part of your life you were in a certain box

  • We could call it the box of "Carnism"

  • It's an ideological box, and it made you think that like Melanie joy says meat-eating is normal, natural, necessary,

  • you were just inside your safe box, and you were okay there

  • But then all of a sudden,

  • you get a bit... (you see the box move) get a bit restless inside the box

  • and then the light goes on the box opens and you jump out

  • as a vegan.

  • Right? and you start talking about all these things, and you start realizing all these things, these..

  • What.. what.. meat eating or animal products consumption is connected to..

  • environment, health, and so on.

  • and then what happened to me, is that I found that I was

  • all of a sudden

  • finding myself

  • To a certain extent, in another box.

  • In the box of veganism

  • and I was

  • Noticing with myself that I wasn't listening very much

  • anymore to others to non vegans and I was thinking I had found the truth.

  • and I was just repeating the same things all the time.

  • So I was saying things like veganism is this! And you're not vegan if you do that! and

  • vegans are that!.. like all kinds of things that were given to me that were like..

  • that I wasn't questioning anymore. So for instance this cartoon illustrates very well like if there's so I'm mostly vegan

  • But and the other person here says there's no you're not vegan if there's a bot

  • Right so there was no questioning anymore, and I I agreed with this and I don't think today

  • That's a good thing and I was always also going back like I see many people do going back to the definition of veganism

  • This guy Donald Watson invented veganism so many years ago

  • And we go back to his definition and his and that's that's a bit like a religion like going back to the original

  • scripture and and

  • I found myself doing that again and again, and here is a good test like to see to check your open-mindedness

  • This is an article actually. I thought it was a pretty good article. Why vegetarians or vegans should be prepared to bend their own rules

  • How do you feel about reading this title

  • are you motivated to read this article or are you saying like?

  • I'm gonna not gonna read that shit

  • You know, that's how you can test your own

  • open-mindedness. Or can you imagine that maybe it's a little bit more complicated than this maybe this serves for purposes of external communication

  • but when we think about it it may be a little bit more complicated so what I want to say is um..

  • You can be liberated from the carnist box

  • But you can end up in another box and just let me be clear if you're in a box

  • It's much better to be in this box than this box

  • Okay, but still it's better to be not inside any box at all and the way I put it sometimes is being vegan

  • means giving up animal products, it doesn't mean giving up thinking

  • So beware of dogma what's wrong.. Dogma is like not questioning things anymore

  • Taking things for granted and what's the problem with Dogma is that Dogma doesn't allow ourselves to improve.

  • Okay, and we have to constantly improve because there's so much work to do and we have to get ever better at it, okay, so

  • Open-mindedness these things can help you like think about questions like have I thought about this thoroughly?

  • Have I really thought about this or am I just?

  • Repeating something that I've heard all the time

  • Think about what information you might be missing. Think about what your own biases are when you talk to people etc and

  • I

  • See it like this practice slow opinion slow opinion is about being slow in forming an opinion

  • Not like on Facebook like right away saying like it's like this, and I think like this

  • I think this or that no just take a break and think

  • Like maybe I haven't thought this to me by need to think about this a little longer

  • And you say like for now I have no opinion or this is my preliminary opinion and it may change later

  • Okay, that's how you I think practice open-mindedness

  • The second one is empathy and

  • We are, as vegans, we are typically very good at empathy. This is Anita Krajnc

  • I never know how to pronounce the name. The woman who started the safe movement in the Toronto

  • And she's feeding. She's watering a pig here. I think it's a very nice symbol or icon of empathy and

  • Like I said we um.. opps..

  • Yeah, we're very good at empathy

  • especially for these pigs and these cows and these um..

  • Chickens but

  • We're not so good as empathy for meat-eaters or

  • for hunters or

  • for bull-fighters

  • you know

  • so

  • You could say

  • Really, do you need, do we really need empathy for these people? No? like seriously?

  • So I take Gary Yourofsky here as an example of somebody who's like really in your face, and who doesn't really

  • Take reactions of the people he's talking to that much into account. He just says it like straight like it is and

  • and um..

  • There's this. I mean on the opposite side of Gary Yourofsky you have something somebody like Thích Nhất Hạnh

  • Do you know him? He's like a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, and he's vegan, and he's spreading veganism

  • He's almost.. he's.. he won't be with us very long. He's he's very sick

  • He's a wonderful person. He's very compassionate. He's like a monk

  • He's like very zen, and he won't like scream in your face etc

  • I'm not saying either one of these approaches is the right approach. I'm saying like for myself

  • I'd choose usually a more soft a more calmer approach

  • And I think it is actually applicable and appropriate or useful in almost any situation

  • and

  • I can imagine that there's people thinking here like oh, there's definitely some people we don't need empathy for

  • People who are really really not nice

  • Can you think of some people like that they were recently in the news?

  • These people right do we need empathy for them?

  • Well, I think it might be useful, and I just want to illustrate

  • With this guy this is Daryl Davis. He's a black guy and

  • He um.. he grew up outside of America and he came back

  • To America when he was 10 and he had no experience with racism whatsoever and he was walking into a March

  • And he was the only black kid and all of a sudden people were throwing things at him. It wasn't a 1960s or 70s

  • throwing cans and bottles and bricks at him and

  • He just didn't understand. He said what is this about and?

  • He found out about racism

  • and he wondered like how can these people hate me if they don't even know me and

  • What he did was he went to Ku Klux Klan people and he befriended them

  • and he spoke to them and he listened to them and

  • He was open to them and he showed empathy towards them and the result was that he was able to get 200 people

  • Outside of the Ku Klux Klan he got them to give them their capes their robes to them to him and they left the Klan

  • So empathy worked for him

  • He's actually, this is a documentary about him on Netflix if you want to see that

  • So I think empathy or compassion and listening is never out of place

  • So it's about having an open mind, listening to people asking questions. It's about building a relationship

  • I think this is one of the

  • Most important things we can do if we want to influence other people, is to build a relationship with them

  • It's not to accuse them not to guilt-trip them not to like show no empathy for them, but build a relationship

  • Trying to understand them

  • So to be more, some tips to be more empathetic

  • You can under, you can try to understand the situation we are in, so some people know this this quote from me

  • Why do most people eat meat? Most people eat meat because most people eat meat right so this is a situation

  • We're in a situation where we're doing what everybody else does and it's quite kind of

  • Understandable that people are doing the wrong thing when so many people are doing the wrong thing so that's that's a situation or a condition

  • we have to take into account and

  • You have to realize that to a certain extent you are special

  • This is the adoption of innovation curve or model and it divides people into

  • into different sections from innovators to

  • laggards. So for instance if you had a smartphone

  • 15 years ago already you were an early adopter or an innovator if you still don't have a smartphone. You're like on that end

  • Okay

  • And that's the way it is it's going to be with with vegans and with meat-eating with animal products consumption. You are the early

  • adopters and other people come later into the game and to a certain extent

  • We can say that you or we are the low-hanging fruit

  • The low-hanging fruit in the sense that it was easy to reach us

  • It was easy to reach us with these moral arguments. We heard about animal suffering and more or less rapidly we went vegan

  • With other people it's not like that. They need more than just moral arguments

  • So understand that you're not the same as other people

  • Secondly understand when you are dealing with people that you don't have all the information

  • I give you a very good trick to be more empathic and to be more calm like suppose

  • That this happens like somebody crosses you like like this guy on a motorbike like races past you on the highway

  • 160 kilometres an hour when that happens to me I go like ...erghhh

  • Because they're like very unsafe, and they're like yeah

  • I get very aggressive about that and the thing that helps me is to think like well

  • Maybe he's on his way to his mom in the hospital

  • Who is dying or something like that that like really immediately shifts my my attitude?

  • I had it on the way coming here actually and I

  • I have to remind myself of my own strategies, and I did it and it calmed me down of course

  • It's going to be more difficult when they pass you like this. Okay, so it doesn't always, it doesn't work for everything

  • and

  • thirdly remember that empathy works remember that guy Darrell Davis with the Ku Klux Klan if

  • You find it difficult to have empathy remember that it's also question of effectiveness of creating results for animals

  • Rationality is the third thing. So rational

  • There's a lot to be said about it one recent example of where we were not entirely rational or not entirely

  • evidence-based or scientific was apparently the movie "What The Health" which has

  • Dealt with a lot of criticism of people saying like well

  • This is not scientific, and this is exaggerated etc and kind of like to a certain extent it backfired

  • Even though a lot of people were convinced by the movie

  • But I would say one aspect one aspect of being rational is like not to exaggerate vegan claims

  • And I say like when you when you when you do that when you present

  • Veganism as the solution for everything in the world for every problem you do, you are a vegalomania

  • So so let's try to keep it real a lets tried to not exaggerate the claims for veganism

  • but the most important thing that I want to talk under the flag of

  • rationality is

  • Purity, and I wish there was a day. I wish a day would come when I don't have to address this aspect anymore

  • But it remains apparently so necessary, and this is the most controversial part of what I have to say so we have these

  • Questions and discussions all the time about who is vegan and what is vegan right and I want to suggest

  • This I want to suggest three things

  • I want to suggest that there are people who are a hundred or two hundred percent vegan, they they are there um..

  • I want to suggest that people who are 99 percent vegan, who make small exceptions like very small

  • Exceptions that it's okay that they call themselves vegan, and we shouldn't like question that I'll explain it in a minute

  • And I also choose that suggest that there is a thing like 95% vegans people who are ninety-five percent vegan

  • Let me explain these things so first of all vegan 100% vegan

  • It's not

  • Easy to see what a hundred percent vegan is

  • okay, there are by definition almost fuzzy borders like if you look at this scale here it goes from like big ingredients to

  • Micro ingredients like like things that you can't even see the question is how far are we?

  • Going there, and at what point is somebody vegan. Okay, so you could?

  • You could say that you're only vegan if you have

  • Studied by heart this little book with 300 pages of possibly non vegan ingredients, okay?

  • This is hard to do

  • I guess nobody is vegan, but somebody could learn the book by heart, and say I'm the true vegan okay

  • and so you can have a situation where for every vegan there's another vegan who is more vegan and

  • We can all tell each other you're not vegan and this person tells the other one you're not vegan etc