We’re continuing our series of network posts getting to know our members and their relationship to veganism. This time, we’re meeting James Roberts and finding out about his vegan journey.
What do you do at SCC?
I’m a Content Analyst as part of the Digital Content Team. My role involves analysing data across all SCC owned sites by producing dashboards and working with site owners to extract useful metrics and figures about their website’s users. I have only been in the role for just under two months, but I was placed in a similar role as part of the Suffolk Rising High Internship program (2021).
Where are you with veganism?
I haven’t yet taken the plunge in becoming a fully-fledged-vegan. However, in recent months I have been made to question my morality and have realised that veganism is something that is not only doable nowadays, but highly feasible. Since my internship and during the beginning of my time as a full-time employee at SCC I have taken strides towards a plant-based diet.
Why are you interested in veganism?
Veganism is one of those things that has been on my radar for a long while. I have vegan and vegetarian friends and I’ve always been conscious that it is probably the right thing to do.
It wasn’t until I began talking to Andy, Co-Chair of the Vegan Network and my line manager, about the moral and philosophical arguments against eating meat when I began to question everything about my lifestyle.
I began to explore all the reasons for going vegan and one of the reasons that really resonated with me was the fact that veganism is the single best thing you can do to reduce your own carbon footprint. I care so deeply about the climate and our impact on it and finding out that veganism could dramatically reduce my impact on the climate made me very keen to lead a plant-based lifestyle.
How are the changes you’re making going?
Although my ambitions were big at the start of the year as I wanted to start by going vegetarian, I found it challenging to suddenly change my eating habits overnight. Therefore, I decided to follow a phased approach, slowing swapping meat products for veggie alternatives, and building a repertoire of veggie meals. This has been hugely successful as I’m more conscious of my meat consumption which has enabled me to more than half my meat consumption.
I consider this a huge milestone and a big step in the right direction, especially in an environmental sense. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last year suggested that we should all be aiming to reduce our meat consumption by at least 30%, and I feel a huge sense of pride to have not only met that target but surpassed it.
My aim now is to continue to reduce my reliance on meat and dairy products until I make the final jump to be a fully-certified-all-round-herbivore.
How do you talk about veganism with other people?
Veganism is often seen as a sensitive topic to bring up to people. As soon as the V word is mentioned, defences go up, random scenarios involving pigs and desert islands are fabricated to trick the vegan into eating meat, and a stigma lies in the air.
However, in recent years I’ve noticed a shift in this perspective. More and more people in my life are not only talking about veganism more openly but many of them are simply becoming vegan. We are entering a time when people care about where their food comes from, it’s impact on the environment and the morals that are involved in that. It certainly feels like I have joined in on this conversation at the right time.
I’ve had many amazing conversations within my team at SCC and with friends and family about veganism, busting misconceptions both myself and others believed and learning about something that isn’t as scary as so many make it out to be.
What does it mean to be part of the network?
Through the network I have met so many amazing people who have completely shaken up the stereotype of a “vegan”. Gone are the days of viewing vegans as scrawny hippies who shout, “meat is murder” and chain themselves outside McDonald’s. I have learnt that Veganism is more than just not eating meat, it is a revolution. A revolution that sees animals as equals. A revolution that can slow the progress of climate change. A revolution that can make people morally better!
I have loved getting involved in the network by engaging in healthy debates, being asked to present on the environmental impacts of the meat industry, and cooking recipes shared in the teams channel.
Although I am not, as of yet, a vegan, I am making strides towards being plant-based and through learning and talking to likeminded people I have come to learn that it doesn’t have to be as scary or challenging as I first thought.
So… this is the beginning of my journey to become a revolutionary. To become a vegan.
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