By Gretchen Chlebowski
It really struck me how vegetarianism was not celebrated in the environmental movement in the past, but it is now! A friend of mine said people at these types of environmental events often responded to vegetarianism with hostility in the past, but that has changed now and is no longer the case.
When we would receive a question about the environment (e.g., “what does water have to do with vegetarianism?”), we were delighted to be able to answer and then give them a VRG water brochure. But usually the questions were about nutrition and cookbooks.
George Novak of Novak Electric Sign Company created a banner for us as a donation to VRG (he is a vegetarian). We had a three panel poster board featuring slides about livestock’s impact on the environment, with Vegetarian Journals and the VRG Save Our Water brochure in front. Most people were interested in picking up free items and browsing through cookbooks. On Sunday I stood to the side of the poster board and had some interesting discussions with people.
One woman turned out to be an ecology professor from Loyola University in Chicago who teaches a food systems class. She said her class is popular with the students and very well received by the school. I told her the slides were going to be available in a PowerPoint presentation on VRG’s website, and she seemed very interested in having access to that. She said environmental issues are extremely popular with the kids, and they are really responsive to any information related to that. I think the public’s increasing awareness about environmental issues will encourage many to explore vegetarian diets as part of the solution. It will be interesting to watch this unfold.
Thanks to Gretchen Chlebowski, Ashley Huser, Wilson Hur, Susan Hogan, Bruce Jones, Ross Kennedy, MSNW, RD, Julie Conry, Daniel Dunbar, Renee Dippel, and Eric Sharer, MPH, RD for volunteering for VRG at Chicago Green Fest!