So, how is everybody this weekend?
My freezer is jammed with vegan Indian dinners that I got at Trader Joe’s before Friday the 13th, when a declared national state of emergency sunk in (and Tom Hanks got COVID-19: that was a big yikes! moment for the jetsetters of the Philly burbs). Suddenly, frozen items started selling out as fast as staffers could stock the freezers.
Starting yesterday our local vegan restaurant SuTao closed its doors for two weeks.
Vegan restaurants are generally small, independent businesses, and will be hit hard. Their staffers are unlikely to receive any of the federal government’s weirdly patchy emergency paid leave. (The bill, just passed, guarantees sick leave only to about 20% of workers. Staffers of big corporations including McDonald’s and Amazon are left out. Staffers of companies with fewer than 50 people will be left out because of exemptions. And the bill simply wasn’t drafted with independent businesses, tip-earning workers, high-turnover sectors, or artists and educators in mind.) Point is, most vegan-run businesses are taking a heavy hit. Kindly support them when they reopen.
I’ve had to stop work on planned public presentations as the college events aren’t happening. But I’m not the worst-off here. People who sell their goods where people meet – vegan festivals or physical stores – could go out of business.
So, on top of fear of the virus itself, vegan craftspeople, vendors, educators, writers, and creators have the agony of watching event after event get cancelled around the arrival of Spring and the month of Earth Day and we have to find the ability to connect with people through videos, Zoom interviews, or the written word. The people at Patreon, which now enables all my vegan advocacy to happen, have been wonderfully supportive and caring. I mean the people running it as well as my patrons. If you are a vegan educator, writer, or artist I recommend Patreon not only for its platform but also for its efforts in creating a sense of community.
What COVID-19 TELLS US ABOUT OUR COLLECTIVE FUTURE
Speaking of community, we human apes need to find ways to share our prosperity, or we’ll share our inability to survive. Real “resilience” in the face of changes in climate, and land and ocean health, must mean we become capable of widely empathetic responses. And real resilience must involve asking deep questions about why the climate, the land, and the waters are changing.
We can’t simply conquer the coronavirus threat. Consider our interconnected, sprawling population, and the way infections will evolve with the climate crisis. There will be more of this. What are we going to do about it?
Well, veganism will help, insofar as it means:
- Living a low-carbon, resource-frugal life.
- Stopping the farm run-off that compromises the oceans and kills off marine bio-communities.
- Halting deforestation and human incursions into the space of the free-living beings (i.e., staying out of the way of “wildlife”).
I think we have to think of self-isolation in terms of letting up on our continual invasions of nature. Have we given some thought to this?
Stay well if you can, live simply if you’re not already forced to, and keep up your outreach.
Love and liberation,
Banner image: [Friday 13 March 2020 1700 local time] at Trader Joe’s grocery in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Restaurants are shut, and vegan Indian dinners are getting hard to find!