forsake leather hiking boots

Controversial Vegan And Sustainability Topics: Part 1- Animal-Based Clothing

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Everyone thinks that sustainable and not sustainable are two very black and white categories. It’s either yes, it’s green. Or no, stopping buying it. While some things are very obvious, others fall into a gray area. I wanted to address a couple of the more controversial topics in society and my life.

But first, I want to preface this post with this statement:

Because I turned towards a plant-based diet due to sustainability, a lot of my actions are propelled by the green factor (also health), rather than animal rights. While  I have come to appreciate the animal cruelty argument, sustainability is my top priority in my lifestyle choices. I also applaud others changing their thought towards a sustainable mind over a vegan stance. Those are my personal beliefs (and would I love to hear others thoughts!), and I have outlined my opinions below.

So with that, I would like to dive into the first topic (of three in a mini series) that I would like bring up:

forsake leather hiking boots
I received leather hiking boots as a gift well before I went vegetarian. Instead of looking to replace these items after going vegan, I still keep them in my closet. They have lasted a long time despite wearing them to work, to the ski hill, and on trails.

Animal-Based Apparel

A true vegan lifestyle will completely cut out wool and leather, as these products stem from animals. The quality of life for most of these animals are very poor, which relates to the animal cruelty. I see this point of view, but I want to elaborate how I justify owning wool and leather products.

These new wool and leather items are usually mass-produced, which could be considered unsustainable because the clothing industry is one of the biggest contributors to green house gasses. This is the one reason that I buy thrifted items 99.9% of the time.

But what about leather and wool secondhand items? Isn’t it better to keep these items in a loop rather than throwing them into the landfill? Isn’t buying a wool or leather product better for the environment? It lasts longer, so you won’t have to buy more in the future. Plus, isn’t a natural fiber better for the environment than a synthetic plastic fiber (that most fast fashion clothes are made of)? But what is the environmental impact of housing and raising these animals? As long as people are buying by-products of the meat industry, shouldn’t we be using all of the animal rather than wasting precious natural resources?

These are the questions I ask myself when trying to validate my consumer choices… While I have switched to a vegan diet, I personally do not follow a vegan lifestyle. I have leather boots for hiking. I own wool socks for skiing.  And I was gifted merino wool leggings that I love and wear every single week. Just because you are vegan, doesn’t mean that you need to immediately throw out non-vegan items that will honestly last you a lifetime.

Final stance: look for secondhand wool and leather items and don’t feel the need to immediately replace non-vegan items with vegan items

leather birkenstock sandals
Birkenstock offers vegan leather options, but instead, I bought these second hand to keep natural items in a loop I stead of buying new synthetic items.
Birkenstock offers vegan leather options, but instead, I bought these second hand to keep natural items in a loop I stead of buying new synthetic items.

Your full-time plant-eater, and leather-boots wearer,

AJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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