Rebecca Fox is another speaker that will be appearing at VegFest London’s Vegan Activists Summit on Saturday 22nd October. Rebecca is part of the team behind the blog Reasonable Vegan (www.rvgn.org) – ‘Promoting skeptical inquiry in vegan spaces, confronting irrationality everywhere.’ I caught up with Rebecca this week, and here’s what she had to say about VegFest (and vegan cheese!).
What are you most looking forward to about speaking at VegFest London?
I’ve been attending Vegfest for a few years now and have always thought of it as a place to try out new foods and products, (I have in the past threatened to bring my own extra-long cocktail stick to reach through the crowds to the vegan cheese tasters!) but also as a place to be exposed to new ideas and reinvigorate my commitment to veganism.
So, I am looking forward to presenting ideas that are new to many in the vegan community but will support and inspire people to be better advocates.
When I’ve spoken to groups of vegans about critical thinking skills in the past I’ve found them to be receptive and thoughtful (which is probably why they became vegan) so I also look forward to meeting and connecting with compassionate people and discussing how we approach the world as reasonable vegans.
…and what do you hope to achieve from it?
I’m hoping that my talk at Vegfest will give me the opportunity to share my passion for veganism and give the audience the opportunity to learn some of the critical thinking skills that I find useful and important. I want to empower vegans to use reason and evidence to support their message of compassion and make our movement stronger.
I’m also hoping to try some new brands of vegan cheese!
When and why did you become vegan?
When I was ten years old I realised that meat was made from animals, well, I kind of knew that before but at age ten I think I began to understand what that really meant. And so I became a vegetarian.
I was a vegetarian until in my mid twenties I was introduced to scientific skepticism, which is basically a method for understanding the world built on the principles of reason and evidence. I realised that a lot of things that I believed about the world and myself were ‘unreasonable’ (not based on reason and evidence). So I started thinking about my beliefs one by one and changing or discarding the unreasonable ones.
Then I came to my vegetarianism… and I realised that the reason I was vegetarian was because I didn’t want to cause unnecessary harm to animals… but there was plenty of evidence that the dairy, eggs and other animal products I consumed did cause unnecessary harm.
So I had to give them up, and I became vegan.
It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be even though at the time I was living in Australia and had to negotiate many a barbecue somewhat awkwardly. As a vegan I’ve travelled through many different countries and I’m finding it’s getting easier with every day as I learn more about food and as more and more people learn about veganism.
Recently I was at a vegan braai in Cape Town and couldn’t help reflecting on how far I’d come from those first awkward barbies where I often found myself drinking too much on an empty stomach!
What are your future plans for ‘Reasonable Vegan’?
RVGN started as a blog, my partner a few skeptical friends and I dreamed up as a place to host articles by and for reasonable vegans. We’ve published a lot of interesting articles and interviews over the last few years and met a lot of fellow reasonable vegans.
We’ve been discussing what we think the vegan community needs and what we can do to spread the vegan message. We have decided that we want to focus on giving vegans the opportunity to hone their critical thinking skills in order to make them better advocates and presenting a solid evidence backed resource to help convince non-vegans to go vegan!
So our new project is building a site and maybe an app that will help vegans become more reasonable and reasonable people become vegan. It’s in the very early stages of development (in fact you are among the first to know) but you can keep up with our progress by following us on twitter.