Murry Christmas!!! (Note: by Christmas I am referring to the secular traditions that have come to define our American holiday. Thus I am addressing everyone who is taking a little time off from the grind to be with their friends, family, or themselves to just relax and have a little fun). I hope that everyone is warm, well, and enjoying the holidays. Here in New York/New Jersey, it is still a relatively white Christmas, with snow from last week’s blizzard still here for our mostly aesthetic enjoyment. It is Christmas day, in the morning (sort of), and I am sitting, cozy in front of my computer, wrapped up in fleece. No it’s not a Snuggie, though I wish I had one… not the cheap kind, a plush one from a fancy store like Brookstone… yeaaahhhh.
But I digress. Recently, world leaders convened at Copenhagen to talk about slowing greenhouse gas emissions. They came, they argued, they agreed on a few little things, and they didn’t get nearly enough done. Unfortunately, that’s how it seems to go when large numbers of politicians get together and try to work something out for the common good (see U.S. health care reform). For a good recap, read the New York Times editorial about the talks.
While this is a blog about vegan shoes, I think that the underlying beliefs that drive me to write (and few people to read) this are rapidly converging, intersecting, and becoming inextricably intertwined (you like that alliteration?). One one hand, veganism is motivated by compassion for animals, while environmentalism is linked to a connection with our natural world. Both are in the same sphere of general hippie-dom, but the two have remained in separate camps and have often come into conflict with each other. But it is now becoming clear that they aren’t mutually exclusive. We know that animal agriculture destroys the environment, and scientists are telling us that animal farts may cause more global warming THAN ALL THE CARS, TRUCKS, AND PLANES IN THE WORLD. There is so much new research and people reporting on this now that I will just link to this great blog post (see 1-3) and this article. Put simply: not eating meat is good for the environment, so treehuggers and vegans can agree on that at the very least (let’s hold hands).
Meanwhile, Christmas-time is here, and the rampant consumerism that has arguably come to define the holiday is as bad as ever. Stores and malls are crammed with people, even on Christmas eve, in order to get that last bit of shopping in (gotta get your dog a Snuggie too). The news is filled with consumer confidence and retail sales reports. Then I wonder if I am part of the problem. After all, this is a blog promoting things to buy. First, the production of any commercial product is damaging the environment to some extent. Shoes are no different. It takes energy to make and ship and buy stuff. The less stuff you buy, the fewer things that are dug out of the ground, and less gasoline burned to transport the damn thing. So, here I am, evangelizing shoes, sneakers, kicks, what have you. So am I roundabout becoming what I despise?
I hope not. I think I can justify my actions. I am trying to do my part to offer healthier, more ethical alternatives to the vast majority of shoes that are out there. These shoes, many made out of canvas, some out of organic and recycled materials, are often better for the environment outright. Also, the fact that animals were not used in the production prevents the release of some heat-trapping gases, and of course… an animals wasn’t killed to make it. Finally, I am only providing you, my loyal readers, with information. What you choose to do with it – make a purchase, don’t make a purchase, tell someone else about it – is your call. I know I don’t have the money or energy to be a sneakerhead like some people out there. But I guess that is what the holidays is about in a way – live your life how you want to, have fun, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and respect the earth and everything that lives on it!