I. The Single-Issue Vegan Model is Elitist and Fatally Flawed
Our critical analyzes have exposed radical flaws in the mainstream vegan outreach and vegan abolitionism approaches. We have emphasized the real threat of global ecological crisis which they have ignored and failed to link to veganism. The scientists have warned humanity of impending crisis that will change everything on this planet, and this message has been ignored by governments, media, society in general, and the vegan communities as well. Veganism has been confined to a white upper and middle class enclave.
It is clear that existing vegan models have reached an impasse and are fatally flawed in design and concept, and that a radical new vision is needed to rescue the importance of the vegan message for global crisis and situate it in its full social and ecological context.
We introduce here a radical new model, vision, and approach, which we are calling “deep vegan outreach.” We have major projects underway, such as involve producing a “social cookbook” which emphasizes the crucial role veganism can play in healing the earth and will be a vehicle for reaching communities hitherto ignored by the vegan movement (see below).
We are at a world-historical crossroads, where we choose breakdown or breakthrough, collapse or sustainability. All progressive movements must move this issue to the forefront of attention, recognize a common threat, and integrate veganism into human, animal, and environmental issues.
The movement either takes a giant leap here and now, or it continues to degenerate into irrelevance and marginality. We refuse to allow this to happen. We cannot let dogma, complacency, a narrow single-issue worldview, and elitism to thwart out potential any longer.
We urge everyone to recognize that we hold one of the most important keys to the future, and that we must adopt new visions, models, and tactics.
We need you to join this new effort and help develop a holistic vision for the 21st and a world in crisis. We need your help to promote a comprehensive vegan outreach approach that includes all people and cultures.
We have exciting new ideas and strategies available to kick start a new movement. The initial response to our request for contributions has been enthusiastic and overwhelming and we welcome everyone’s continued input and support.
II. General Principles of Deep Vegan Outreach
1) Crisis-oriented: recognizes the severity of ecological crisis and heeds the warnings of world scientists and policy experts.
2) Pro-active: with a sense of urgency lacking in the complacent vegan community, this approach works to forestall an imminent ecological crisis and emphasizes the importance of a vegan paradigm shift for the entire planet.
3) Extensive outreach: unlike the dominant model, deep veganism engages people beyond affluent and privileged white communities. This approach addresses:
- Economically-disadvantaged individuals and families, and racially and ethnically diverse populations.
- Developing nations shifting to a meat-based diet; above all, we emphasize the crisis implications of the shift to meat consumption in China and India — the world’s most populous nations — the enormous implications of which have been completely overlooked by the vegan community.
- Eminent scientists and governmental bodies such as the United Nation (UN) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which sending out a wakeup call to the world and whom we hope to persuade to emphasize the global need for a vegan diet ethic. Build bridges and alliances with social and environmental movements, as we emphasize commonalities of oppression and the crucial importance of veganism and animal liberation for ecological sustainability, human survival, and moral-spiritual growth.
III. Immediate Projects and Short Term Goals
1) Engage the existing vegan community: spread awareness of the need for deep vegan outreach and a global ecovegan movement; build new webpages, social media profiles, and so on.
2) Production of “The Social Cookbook: Recipes for Renewal”: gather recipes; emphasize world cuisines, ethnic diversity, and affordability of vegan food; write a comprehensive introduction; publish and distribute.
3) Letter Writing Campaign: outreach efforts to major climate scientists (e.g., James Hansen) and policy experts to encourage them to emphasize veganism as crucial for avoiding runaway ecological crisis and renewing the earth and all its inhabitants.
4) Building Racial and Ethnic Diversity: taking steps to move veganism from its current marginalized status in its limited appeal to privileged whites to a diverse and inclusive social movement.
Dr. Steven Best