When I began doing interviews for Pacific Roots Magazine in June 2019, I let people know that I would eventually be establishing a podcast. I knew that even after doing written interviews with many of these people that I would want to circle back for live recorded dialogue and more questions. Farmers, researchers, authors, activists, artists, educators, chefs and more. The list of written interviews grows as does the list of those I hope to have a podcast session with one day.
One of the basic motivations I had when establishing Pacific Roots Magazine was to explore issues I was curious about, that were in some way connected to environmental and sustainability issues. Sometimes these were issues that I know very little or nothing about. Veganic agriculture, for example. This is an issue of critical interest to me. I am intrigued and grateful that the practice indeed exists at farms across the planet, truly challenging traditional concepts of agriculture reliant on manure and other animal outputs. In my perspective, veganic agriculture truly offers an important example of one way we can transform our relationship to the environment. But I am not a farmer- I don’t even currently have a garden! But the thirst for knowledge about veganic agriculture, to have the opportunity to connect with farmers and to share the stories and interviews on a public platform, is vital to me.
The “I don’t know” factor is in fact essential in a few of the themes I cover. “Zero waste” is another one. I used to often just bypass this term or almost anything associated with it, perhaps perceiving it as both intimidating and just too radical. Eventually however, a sheer exasperation with the amount of plastic and other waste our household produces weekly led to a readiness to finally look into what it is all about. I quickly learned that even many within the Zero Waste movement itself recognize the very concept to be not a goal but a guide to gradually reforming habits towards a lower impact lifestyle.
When I post articles on social media about, for example, environmental degradation due to plastics, no where I am saying “I am perfect and plastic free.” It is about awareness. One of the issues I do observe in the digital realm is that without the cues of tone of voice and expression, people can sometimes be quick to offend (I’ve been there myself!) or feel themselves the target of judgement, where none was intended.
When I post about animal abuse and maltreatment within animal agriculture, for example, there is indeed often an element of deep grief for these animals and what they endure (sometimes anger too), but as a consumer I do feel a responsibility to pay attention. How do we collectively address problems and effect change without being aware of the problems even existing?
I believe that there is a lot of psychology at play with all of these issues and fundamentally with the path we take to continuously learn about the world and our role in it. As an ethical vegan of five years now, I am no stranger to the discomfort and sometimes conflict that can arise in conversations about consumption and lifestyle habits. Many people respond to veganism with curiosity, some with irritation, perhaps believing it to be a “trend” or self righteous and restrictive path.
As the years have gone by and I have been able to engage in fascinating dialogues with vegans and non-vegans alike, I also have stumbled through my fair share of conversations where trying to convey the philosophy behind ethical veganism. For some, the term carries a stigma, perhaps because it inherently challenges mainstream consumption. Additionally, issues at the heart of the movement, concerning our relationship to and treatment to animals, can be very unsettling and disturbing. I often refer back to my pre-vegan days when I would actively avoid literature and media on maltreatment of animals because I knew it would bother me. Certainly, you don’t have to be a vegan to be familiar with the reality of challenging dialogues surrounding beliefs or life practices or with the reality of addressing violence in the world.
I made an active decision to not brand Pacific Roots as a “vegan magazine” (and not every feature relates to vegan issues at all), but naturally, many of the themes of the movement are at the heart of this site. Ethical veganism is about much more than diet, but concerning the rather fascinating food aspect, plant based eating is an entire culinary universe in itself which I aim to convey when I feature chefs and restaurants here.
I admittedly do not have the emotional or energetic bandwidth to work with all the issues that I, along with others, recognize as in need of change. Like anyone else, I choose what I find purpose in working with and try to keep my mind open to the range of issues people are involved with for better lives, societies and healthy environments.
Pacific Roots Magazine is a hub of developing insights, a window into people’s work around the globe, often with environmental issues in mind. I believe that if we can come to the table ready for dialogue and open to learning at any age, we can shed feelings of being judged for our habits and practices or feeling resistant to change and really open our minds to problems and scenarios we were not even aware existed.
I am committed to dialogue, in fact it is evolving as a mantra in my media work as I strive to continue developing Pacific Roots Magazine as a platform for compelling, innovative and thoughtful written content and hopefully soon- video and audio as well.
“Cause everyone is big enough, big enough to do something.” Daniel the Tiger