This post was originally posted on November 1st 2019. It has been updated for freshness, accuracy and completeness.
Celebrating 76 years of veganism! On November 1st the world will celebrate World Vegan Day and November is officially World Vegan Month.
Together, the vegan community all over the world will celebrate the phenomenal growth of veganism which has taken the world by storm over the last five years. Let’s take this opportunity to share the movement and our message with others in a positive, engaging and fun way.
The concept of veganism started in ancient Indian and Eastern Mediterranean times. The term “vegan” became official around 1944 when David Watson and Elsie Shrigley created the Vegan Society. The organisation is now the world’s leading organisation within the vegan industry. The Vegan Society aimed to move beyond the vegetarian diet and avoid all exploitation of animals, in diet, clothing, home, lifestyle and entertainment. They expanded vegetarianism to offer this definition:
“A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”
Is World Vegan Day and Month only for Vegans?
Not at all. World Vegan Day and World Vegan Month are open to any individual that wants to try veganism out and learn more about the movement. The two special observances aim to open up the dialogue, share information and teach people the issues surrounding animal agriculture including animal welfare, the environment and personal health.
How to take part in World Vegan Month?
You don’t have to go full vegan to get involved. Even if you’re just a little bit interested, we recommend giving it a go and learning what it’s all about. World Vegan Month and Veganuary are the perfect opportunities to try veganism and get all the support and guidance you need along the way.
- Host a vegan dinner party: Host a vegan dinner night or make it a potluck with a meat-free theme. How about a fun dress-up dinner? Ask people to attend dressed as animals and use animal themed plates and serviettes. Use the opportunity as a fun way to enjoy vegan dishes. Social eating is always fun and festive—a great way to share a great cause.
- Host a movie night: For most vegans, the trigger to finalising their transition was an informative film. The most popular vegan films are Earthling, Cowspiracy, Eating Animals and more recently, Game Changers on Netflix. There are, of course, many more. It’s an excellent way to gain more insight into why vegans are so passionate about their vegan movement, articulating points on a more scientific and educational way.
- Buy only vegan household and beauty products for the month: What differentiates veganism from plant-based diets? Veganism is more than just what you eat. It’s also about what you wear, the beauty products and the household products you use daily. While a lot of these products use animal-based ingredients, an overlooked part is animal testing. Unfortunately, testing in animals is still common throughout the world and completely unnecessary. Moving to ethical products is an excellent step towards living a kinder, more compassionate life. Try replacing used products with eco-friendly, vegan and cruelty-free products.
- Donate to vegan charities and support organisations that rescue factory-farmed animals: Amazing people and organisations are working hard to make changes to the law or to save animals from factory farms directly. Please support them with your time and donations. Every bit helps.
- Opt for vegan snacks this month: Supermarkets have been making massive changes recently and finding vegan snacks and treats has never been so easy. There are alternatives for most snacks these days, and with veganism so popular, there is a lot of money invested in making them taste great. Take Vegan Magnums, for example. The only difference is your mind knowing it’s not dairy milk, but they taste amazing!
- Become involved in activism and outreach programs: For those that are vegan already and want to do a little more this month, there are some fantastic outreach programs you can do such as Volunteer for Vegan Society, be a part of Earthling Ed‘s team or partake in an Anonymous for the Voiceless.
- Organise vegan themes lunches at work: A great idea to share the movement or start your own journey is by sharing it with people at work. It’s a great way to create some fun in the workplace and make meaningful connections. It’s also a fantastic way to learn. When more people are involved there is more learning to share with one another. Be sure to make it fun and positive as to engage your colleagues.
- Make dinners meat-free every night of the week for November: Instead of focusing on all meals going vegan, you could make just one meal of the day vegan. Include the whole family, invite friends and reconnect with your partner while trying new recipes out. Plant-based is not as limited as what people think, especially when thinking about different world cuisines that offer plant-based options.
- Is it your birthday this month? Have a fully vegan birthday, including a vegan cake. Vegan baked goods have come a long way and now you can have amazing cakes or cupcakes for your special day. Eat out at a local vegan eatery and suggest vegan and cruelty-free gifts for your birthday. Better yet, ask friends and family to donate some money to the vegan charities of your choice.
- Go for a family or friends day out to an animal rescue farm instead of a zoo: There are fantastic animal sanctuaries around the UK that rescue farm animals from intensive farming. They devote their lives to giving these animals normal lives free of fear and pain. Why not uncover the hidden secrets of common farm animals.
Why Go Vegan?
There are a million reasons to go vegan and we couldn’t possibly list them all in this short blog post. The biggest and most important reason to go vegan is for the animals. Over the last 10,000 years, we have commodified, exploited and used animals for our own pleasure. What was once a way to feed our world and guarantee our species survival, has turned into complete domination. Each year, humans kill over 78 billions farm animals, 1.2 trillion marine animals and unmeasurable amounts of wildlife. Animal agriculture is “the second largest contributor to human-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions after fossil fuels and is a leading cause of deforestation, water and air pollution and biodiversity loss”.
Ultimately, we no longer need to use animals to live long, happy and healthy lives. Millions of vegans all over the world are proof of this. For those of us who do have the choice to go vegan, it’s the very least we can do for the animals, our planet and ourselves. Animals and our planet needn’t suffer for us, we all have the power to make that choice.
It’s not about being perfect, it’s about doing what you can, where you can.
Veganism is the belief we should not use or exploit animals in any way, shape or form. Once you commit, it’s a commitment to the animals.
In 2020 there is more support than ever for those who want to try veganism. Restaurants and supermarkets are catering to the vegan diet and lifestyle. Every social media platform has hundreds of vegan groups dedicated to everything from transition to meal planning to activism.
If you want to sample the vegan life, take your time. Don’t feel pressured to be perfect. Do what you can, where you can and when you can. Eliminate meat and dairy by the products you consume less to then eliminating the ones you find you consume the most. Introduce alternatives while you phase the others out. Try different brands to find the alternatives you like the most. Allow for some compromise and adjustment. Take it as a positive experience. At the end of it, be it a month or six, you will, in the end, be living a more compassionate life towards animals and securing a healthier, safer planet for the future.
Vegan Events for World Vegan Day and World Vegan Month
Below is just a handful of incredible vegan events that are happening this year on World Vegan Day and during World Vegan Month. (Please note that due to coronavirus, some of these vegan events may get cancelled or go virtual. Check out the event websites for more information)
- Veganism and nutrition webinar for health and nutrition professionals – Wednesday 28 October 2020
- Virtual Global Vegan Business Expo 2020 – Friday 30 October–Sunday 1 November 2020
- Portsmouth Vegan Festival – Sunday 1 November 2020
- Grand Opening of Rudy’s Vegan Butcher in London – Sunday 1 November 2020
- Bath Vegan Winter Festival – Saturday 7 November 2020
- Manchester Vegan Winterfest – Saturday 14 November 2020
- Climate Change Eco Fair – Monday 23 November 2020
- Witney Vegan Fair 2020 – Saturday 28 November 2020
- Rochester Vegan Christmas Market – Sunday 29 November 2020
- Great Yorkshire Vegan Winterfest – Sunday 29 November 2020
Happy World Vegan Day and Month From The Dolma Team