By Andy Tipp
Superheroes evolved out of a very simple idea: if we had super powers – or in the case of Iron Man and Batman, a super bank balance – we could stand up for justice. We could protect the weak. We could save lives. We could save the world, and inspire people to be better and do good themselves.
Well, it turns out you don’t actually need to be super powered or super rich to do all that.
You just need to be vegan.
Here’s why going vegan essentially makes you a superhero…
1. You get an origin story
There are lots of superhero origin stories: bitten by a spider; injected with super serum; exposed to radiation that makes you all green and angry…
Vegans get origin stories too.
Some people go vegan overnight, maybe after watching Dominion or an inspiring talk on YouTube. For others, it might take years. Some make the journey to veganism alone; others have mentors to guide them.
Whatever your backstory, once you go vegan you unlock a super new identity for yourself. But it doesn’t have to be a secret identity. And you don’t need a costume.
Because not all superheroes wear capes.
2. You get to save lives
Most superheroes save lives with their super speed, strength or stealth abilities.
But vegans save lives as well, simply with the ability to use their supermarket app of choice.
A lot of lives, as it turns out…
Did you know that going vegan for six months could save the lives of 180 animals? And if you went vegan for the next 40 years, you could save the lives of almost 15,000 animals. (Source: The Vegan Calculator).
Holy cow, Batman, that’s a lot of… er, cows. And pigs. And chickens and sheep and… well, you get the idea.
3. You get to save human lives too
Traditionally, superhero stories focus on saving people.
But going vegan can save humans as well as animals!
Well, for a start the majority of animal agriculture is factory farming. And factory farming creates the perfect breeding ground for future pandemics. I don’t think I need to explain why pandemics are bad.
Factory farming has also been linked to antibiotic resistance, which is thought to cause the deaths of over 700,000 people a year. By 2050, it’s estimated 10 million people a year will die from previously preventable diseases due to antibiotic resistance.
So by going vegan and ending the practice of factory farming we could potentially save millions of human lives a year.
Even the Avengers would struggle to beat those numbers.
4. You can save the world
Elite superheroes like Dr Strange and Wonder Woman protect the Earth from existential threats, like galactic overlords or trans-dimensional beings.
But we’re actually facing our own self-made existential threat, in real life.
I’m talking about the climate crisis.
Wouldn’t it be great if some hero could save us from a future of rising sea levels, deadly heatwaves and all the other dangers of climate change?
Well, you can be that hero. Or, rather, we all can be. Because the single biggest way of reducing our impact on the environment is to avoid meat and dairy.
That’s right: recycling, renewable energy and cutting down on plastic are all good things we should be doing, but none of them come close to the positive environmental impact of adopting a plant-based diet.
And we’re not just talking about reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A plant-based diet uses less land and water. It causes less deforestation, pollution and species extinction.
Going vegan isn’t just super for animals and humans, it’s super for the planet too.
5. You can fight for justice
Matt Murdock (Daredevil) takes to the courtroom by day and the streets by night to fight for social justice. But that isn’t every superhero’s thing.
And just like superheroes, not all vegans are about actively fighting for social justice. Some of us are content to simply save lives when called upon, for example by heroically choosing a vegan burger over a beef burger on Deliveroo.
But if fighting for a more vegan world is your thing, there’s a lot of super work you can do – from political lobbying and supporting sanctuaries to disruptive protests and direct activism.
Why do vegans do this?
Well, why does Matt Murdock do what he does? He does it to stand up for the weak, and protect those who can’t protect themselves.
It’s exactly the same for some vegans and animal activists: they stand up for the very weakest and most defenceless beings in our society. They speak up for the rights of animals that don’t have a voice.
That’s pretty super in our book.
6. You can inspire others
Iconic superheroes become symbols. They represent ideals, and inspire us to be better. Superman literally has the Kryptonian symbol for hope as his insignia.
Now, we’re not suggesting you design your own iconic vegan superhero costume. (Although if you want to, you totally should; I’d suggest a giant green “V” on your chest.)
The point is that every vegan can be an example of a kinder and more compassionate way of living. Vegans believe that we should treat animals as ethically as practically possible, and by sharing those values with others we can change the world – one step at a time.
Yeah, I know. It’s a bit cringe. But so’s wearing red underpants over the top of blue leggings.
7. You can team up with other heroes
Some vegans choose to live like Batman, brooding in a man-cave surrounded by technology and an old man who brings you meals.
But you don’t have to be alone in the dark.
If the idea of veganism and the whole global vegan community feels a bit abstract and overwhelming, why not join the SCC Vegan Staff Network? Yes! That’s right: this is what we’ve been leading to this whole time!
Our network is full of super friendly and super supportive vegans and allies. We’re a diverse ensemble, united by our empathy for animals, people and the planet. In fact, you could argue that empathy is the true vegan superpower: the simple ability to care about all sentient beings.
Featured image by Joey Nicotra