?You Gather? Vegan and Climate Activism (for Heroines and Heroes) #7

!Hello all you heroines and heroes, tragic characters all. We live in tragic times. Tragic times require heroic responses.

The Well Gathered Workbook is coming along. I’ve done plenty of work on the Climate Science & News spreadsheet this week. I’m rating tens of climate science and climate news sites -the most useful ones I’ve denoted ‘Hot!’ and the super-useful ones I’ve denoted ‘On Fire!’ I’ve also labelled which sites I think are the most useful for tweens and teens to start with, and Earth knows we need our youth to take a keen interest in climate science, starting now. The listed ‘On Fire’ sites so far are https://climatecrocks.com/, http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/, https://www.desmogblog.com/https://skepticalscience.com/, and https://climatesight.org/. This last one is the personal blog of UK-based climate scientist Dr Kaitlin Naughten -an Antarctic specialist who started blogging when she was sixteen. Very inspiring for girls who are into science and want to pursue it further. 


Yesterday, on Thursday 21st February 2019 -although already it feels like a week ago- Devon County Council declared a ‘climate emergency’. However they failed to set a zero carbon target date. A 2030 date was proposed by a Green councillor and was accepted by the left-wing third of the council,  but predictably the Tory majority voted against it. The motion for climate emergency was passed with no date ostensibly, but it was after the ramblings of an old Tory who referred to the IPCC 2050 zero carbon target as a reasonable target (which it isn’t, relying as it does on unproven, undeveloped atmospheric carbon capture technologies). I knew that the failure to adopt the 2030 motion was partly due to entrenched livestock farming interests in Devon which would make the necessary land-use changes very difficult.

This decision came after many impassioned speeches from the public gallery, including from friends of mine, urging the council to act on the global emergency. Exeter students spoke, and a young girl spoke, daughter of a friend, telling the adults that they have had their time to get fat off the land, but now they must pay for it.

I sat in the public gallery and listened to the whole debate. This was after sitting through hours of other County Council matters. Outside County Hall it was a great atmosphere of festivities and resistance, on a warm and bright February day. Colourful Extinction Rebellion banners, as well as anti-Brexit banners, abounded. Students and children were everywhere. Some young girls, head high to my waste, proudly proclaimed to my friend that they were members of Extinction Rebellion. They held their signs of Nature and resistance. It was moving. Meanwhile, the cops trained their cameras on me. No surprise there. I joked with an old friend who I hadn’t seen in a while that the police were probably making all kinds of fantastical links between us that didn’t exist.

Earlier I had enjoyed a tense pause as I waited for my friends in Magdalene Street cafe in Exeter -where some but not all of their cakes are vegan. 

Inside the public gallery it was stifling. I removed my coat and my funereal shirt underneath focused my attention on the action that could be immanent. I fingered the personal attack alarm in my pocket nervously, and pinned on my XR patch, following the lead of my buddy next to me. If the council voted for 2050 we were to jump over the barrier separating the public gallery from the floor, and storm to the front of the building, locking on to each other with arms and legs.

It didn’t happen. Some of us were deflated, but we had stuck to our plan of no action for no zero carbon date.

After huddling round with the others in a circle on the grass outside, the debrief and the grief, the anger and resolve, I turned on my heels and walked back to the bus-stop a little darker, a little more determined, a little more free than before.


Today’s rebel music track (for the tragically heroic) is Put The Message In The Box by World Party. They would have changed the lyrics to ‘Put the box onto the bike…’ had they known…

As always, feel free to comment or contact me with your vegan and climate activist dilemmas on epictomorrows@gmail.com. I will do my best to find the answers for you. Also feel free to sign up to my posts by email, by clicking the button in the Epic Tomorrows sidebar. Finally, if you would like to order your copy of the Well Gathered Workbook, let me know. Thanks.

4 thoughts on “?You Gather? Vegan and Climate Activism (for Heroines and Heroes) #7

  1. “Put the message in the box” was a favorite song of mine from back in the day. At that time, lots of kids were riding bikes and driving cars around the world, but the existential threats had other names.
    I recently watched a video of one Extinction Rebellion protest day on five bridges in London, I believe. You’re doing good work to raise public awareness, but as your post says, people are still unwilling to do the heavy lifting required for dramatic change.
    Going vegan in a meat-eating world is a tough sell indeed. Tofu can only take one so far, and soybean farming has its own downsides.
    In solidarity we keep going, supporting the youth who must take up the fight for their future world. Chin up, brave warriors!


    1. I agree, I agree! I was there on the bridges. I was one of the first to be arrested which meant I missed the party! As for veganism, focusing on veganism is partly a business choice for me for this blog. I am passionate about veganism, but at the same time I am not as militant as some. Indeed re-wilding the country and living more sustainably would involve eating some game (especially deer), whose numbers can be problematic to biodiversity, as they have no wolves to keep them down (although best thing would be to have wolves again, despite farmer’s complaints.) I don’t eat soy. Veganism isn’t just about soy!!! But I understand your point. 🙂

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      1. Hi again,
        The tofu comment comes from my experience as a cook for a popular vegan restaurant in the city where I live. I lasted about 5 months, prepping untold amounts of tofu for the different dishes they served to happy vegans. After the first month I started to tire of that menu and by the end I couldn’t look a veggie burger in the eye.
        I suppose you’ve read David Fleming’s work, since you’re there close to that group of folks?
        So much to say about it all!
        Cheers and keep your chin up amidst the craziness of the brexit mess.


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