Vegan lifestyles are frequently called cruelty-free, as those who follow the diet generally apply the same food-consumption ethics to what they wear and other products they consume. Unfortunately, getting ethically made clothing, food supplements, and buying vegan shoes can sometimes rack up a huge bill. But there are many ways to promote cruelty-free living that have more to do with the things you don’t do and don’t buy, as well as how you treat the Earth our animals inhabit. Here are ten easy ways to incorporate cruelty-free ethics into your lifestyle!
1. Reduce your waste
It takes a lot of energy and resources to manufacture and transport new products. Industrial growth uses more land, expands into more natural territory, and contaminates more soil and water as we demand more goods (which, in turn, can hurt animals). Reducing our waste is an easy way to lessen the burden on the Earth. Food waste in particular is a huge issue in North America, the reality is staggering. So, in order to lesson our violence and overburden on the Earth, making an effort to not waste food is an important step to take. A fun way to reduce what ends up in our garbages (or compost preferably!) is to eat our apple cores. In fact, James Hamblin believes that apple cores are a myth, and his financial analysis of what we are losing by not eating them is worth checking out.
2. Recycle, recycle, recycle
Recycling, especially certain products is super important. Plastic is a huge factor in marine animals and birds’ safety. It’s not only what we consume and use that needs to be cruelty-free, but how we cycle those products, and dispose of them. Nothing ever really goes “away” — and if you’re really going to take ecosystems to heart, it’s always important to remember this.
3. Don’t buy water bottles
In the same vain as number 2, water bottles are an environmental disaster, harming both the earth and animals, and, in addition to this, water bottles are saving you no money. It’s a very simple cruelty-free act to stop buying water bottles, and the collective conscience is certainly heading that way, as San Francisco recently banned the sale of plastic water bottles on public property. Making collective decisions like this can encourage others to think about other actions that might be harming the Earth.
4. Check your cosmetics
Frequently, when looking for cruelty-free cosmetics and personal care items, vegans look for certain key ingredients to avoid, such as bee-derived products. Unfortunately, the issue is much more complex than this. Many products are also tested on animals, or as Greenpeace’s recent campaign on Head and Shoulders demonstrated, include ingredients such as unethical palm oil, which deforests animal habitat. In order to avoid dithering about which products to buy, have a few in mind before looking for your next cosmetics. Check out our lists of shampoos and conditioners and read our guide of finding cruelty-free products. Even if you don’t have the money to go buy expensive alternatives right away, educating yourself is an important first step.
5. Practice empathy and non-violence
Cruelty-free can apply to our own emotional and personal lives. In order to avoid inflicting unintentional violence or harm onto others in our lives, empathy can be a useful tool. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines empathy as “the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions.” This particular character trait is a reason why many people become vegan; because they connect with animals. Extending this sense of understanding to every living being can help make the world become a more cruelty-free place to live. Interested? Start with these three steps to mastering empathy.
6. Think about your real needs
A lot of what we consume that is unethical is not even a necessary purchase or action. Thinking about what we really need before making decisions can help put things in perspective and limit our burden on the planet. Need convincing? Read the six reasons to wear less makeup. In having discussions with others when making decisions, you can also share this way of thinking with others.
7. Eat seasonally and/or locally
While it’s easy to buy imported, out-of-season fruits and veggies to spruce up smoothies, desserts, and salads, it’s not the best for reducing one’s environmental impact. Seasonal food, however, is less intensive in terms of fossil fuel use, and other pollutants, and therefore more cruelty-free for the Earth and animals. Being careful with these purchases and buying local can actually be less expensive than getting expensive mangos and avocados, not to mention it’s super important and healthy!
8. Use social media to promote cruelty-free
While many call our age of online petitions “clicktivism” or “slacktivism,” bringing awareness to an issue is never a negative thing, even if the petition itself never gets anywhere. What’s important is that you continue practicing what you preach offline. So, get tweeting, posting, sharing, reblogging…whatever it takes, but share those stories that shed light on our incredibly cruel, inhumane, and unsustainable way of interacting with the Earth and her inhabitants. Then get out there and act on it. Want to get involved? Head on over to the Lazy Activist site to see what you can do.
9. Get cooking
…or preparing, dehydrating, blending…however you prefer to eat! In short, take matters into your own hands and create that amazing cruelty-free lifestyle that you’re so dedicated to. When showing others what amazingly delicious food you can make without hurting other beings, you’ll be sure to win people over.
10. Share the love
Whether its knowledge, recipes, delicious foods, or your great cosmetic find, share your knowledge about the cruelty-free life and encourage others to do so. Making a more cruelty-free world seems more attractive to people, and not an impossible feat. It can only help others to become more conscientious in their lifestyle choices. Just remember to be patient, understanding, and compassionate – in short, cruelty-free!
Have great, inexpensive ideas on being cruelty-free? Leave them in the comments!
Image source: Ranveig / Wikimedia Commons