By Horisun Antunee
I have a friend who always tells me the same joke: How do you know someone’s vegan? They tell you. I am vegan, and I do bring it up a lot. So, he’s probably right—I might have a problem. But I’m going to talk about it here too. So, let’s just go with it.
Eight months ago, I stopped eating animal products, and started eating a vegan diet. Up until then, I never really ate vegetables or fruits or legumes or nuts or anything else that could be considered healthy in any way.
I probably started eating vegan for a few reasons. I’d like to believe that my decision was solely based on altruistic motives, but it probably had something to do with my health, at least, initially. At the time, I weighed 356 pounds (no—that isn’t a typo). And I was starting to have health issues related to my weight. But, beyond that, I didn’t want to eat animals anymore. I had reservations about it for many years. And I finally decided that I wasn’t okay living in a way that hurt other living beings.
So, now, I eat plants. And I don’t even like doing that. I do it because if I didn’t eat something I would die. I’m here, and I need to eat to survive. But that doesn’t mean that I believe plants have less value than any animal, including a human being. I might feel that it’s more morally correct to eat plants, but that doesn’t mean that I believe plants have less worth. It just means that I feel like it’s less wrong to eat them. That might sound like a contradiction, and logically, it certainly is. But it comes from a place of feeling. And feeling rarely connects to logic.
I don’t believe that it’s right. It’s just more right. It’s just justifiable. But it’s only justifiable because I do it out of necessity.
When I follow my logic, I come to a place where I have serious moral issues with certain elements of being a writer. If I write a book, and intend to publish it, then I will be doing something that will lead to the death of an insurmountable number of trees. If I publish a book in a traditional way, then my work is contingent upon death. The only question is whether death is a necessity in that case—whether death for writing and reading is justifiable? And for me, I don’t really think it is. I love to write and read, but I don’t need to. My life might be worse without those things, but everything will still be able to live, myself included. I don’t know if this is true for other people. Maybe some people do need to read and write to survive. I’ve heard the testimonies; I know that some people cite those activities as their saving graces. So, I guess the real question is whether or not you need to read and write?