You may have already heard of the book How to Create a Vegan World by Tobias Leenaert. It’s getting a lot of press these days, not to mention social media attention. If you’re one of Kat Von D’s six million Instagram followers, you would have seen her recent pic of this book, along with a pretty glowing recommendation.
The author of How to Create a Vegan World is Tobias Leenaert, a blogger at The Vegan Strategist as well as the co-founder of the Center for Effective Vegan Advocacy (CEVA) and ProVeg International, a pro-vegan food awareness organization. In his book, Tobias takes a pragmatic approach to veganism, rather than an idealistic one. As he puts it, it’s “about reality rather than rules.”
I can see how some folks in the vegan community might have a problem with this book, mostly because of the focus on reducing meat consumption rather than trying to get people to “go vegan”. The idea is that many meat reducers together may change the system faster than a few vegans, and that reducers are actually responsible for fewer animals being killed than vegetarians and vegans combined.
As vegans, we want to reduce animal suffering, reduce killing, and reduce injustice. So shouldn’t we be open to this pragmatic approach if it gets us closer to our goal? Even if the reason people are reducing or giving up their animal consumption has nothing to do with morality, shouldn’t we be happy they are doing it, regardless of why?
No less than 84% of vegetarians and vegans return to eating animals and animal products at some point. How to Create a Vegan World makes the point that we should focus on supporting each other and making veganism as easy as possible for the most people, instead of harder or even impossible for the smaller few.
If more people read this book, perhaps we can accomplish what it sets out to do, which is to develop a more relaxed concept of veganism in order to ensure long-term success. As Tobias says in his book: “The more effectively and eloquently we communicate and advocate, the more progress we’ll make.”
How to Create a Vegan World also offers some advice on how to be a nonjudgmental vegan, following the principle belief that impact isn’t about being right or winning an argument. Impact is about actual change: “It’s not just how we speak or write but everything others might see and experience relating to us. Communication is what we post on social media, our behaviour in restaurants, how we cook, what we eat, how we shop. It’s what we read, what we watch, what we share. It’s the clothes we wear and how we look. It’s our general attitude, especially in certain circumstances. (Are we cheerful or miserable?) It’s everything.”
If you’re interested in learning more about Tobias Leenaert’s pragmatic approach to veganism, you can find his book, How to Create a Vegan World, in bookstores now. You can also check out his blog, The Vegan Strategist.