Ringling Bros to End Live Elephant Show

Wow! What a win for elephants & for all those who boycotted, protested, petitioned, and spoke out against the cruel and abusive treatment of elephants at the circus. Ringling Bros is expected to end their elephant shows by 2018, but what happens then?

 

While we are thrilled that the elephant acts are ending, it brings up an interesting question: Will people have as much exposure to elephants? For many people, their love of elephants stemmed from a childhood experience at the circus. Many kids take field trips to the circus in school, not as a fun activity, but as a type of cultural exposure.

 

After time, will people fail to recognize the majesty of the elephant?

 

Probably not – thanks to the good ole internet.

 

Luckily, elephants will no longer be subjected to cruel circus practices. Now… to work on the poaching and ivory trade….

 

Baby elephant & mom

Terrific Tuesday: Long Time, No Blog

By Megan Vick

 

Well, it’s been a minute since we last blogged. It’s shocking how life just happens and before you know it, it’s been 2 weeks! My sincerest apologies.

 

Over the last two weeks, here are few of our favorite things that have happened:

  • We signed up for Inspiralized.com emails! There are so many awesome vegan recipes (or veganizable) recipes using various veggies as noodles. Check it out!
  • The International Courts ruled in Australia’s favor regarding illegal whaling in the southern oceans. We’re big fans of Sea Shepherd, so this is a win for everyone – especially the majestic whales.
  • GMOs are becoming a popular topic for discussion for non-activists, politicians, and regular every-day folk. The more people talk & learn, the faster we can come to a resolution on labeling.
  • Veganism is consistently gaining acceptance and (dare I say it) popularity. Soon, there may be such a thing as mainstream vegan options across the country!
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier premiered to record numbers. The prevailing opinion at Shorganics is that it’s the best Marvel Avengers movie yet. We can hardly contain our excitement for Guardians of the Galaxy – due in August.
  • Game of Thrones premiered on Sunday, April 6. Although the episode wasn’t “The Rains of Castamere” (aka “The Red Wedding”), it certainly didn’t leave you feeling serene about the future.

 

With all of these wonderful things, plus the lovely spring weather which has finally arrived, 2014 is shaping up to be a banner year. Plus, we’ve been hard at work putting the finishing touches on our new line of Sugar Body Scrubs. Yummy!

 

 

That’s Not Vegan….

By Megan Vick

 

At Shorganics, and at home, one of the favorite sayings is “That’s not vegan…” Whether we’re watching a pride of lionesses hunt, or watching what’s-his-face devour some unseemly burger on The Travel Channel, it’s always said as a statement of the obvious and all in good fun.

 

But what happens you have a dish labeled vegan, but there is honey it (baklava, anyone)? What happens when you find a fashion brand who claims all items are vegan, but uses wool? These are some of the ambiguous situations people find themselves in everyday. I was once told by a “staunch” vegan, “of course I eat honey! Bees aren’t animals.”

 

Really??

 

While bees most certainly and irrefutably are animals, the argument remains, if the bees don’t get hurt in the harvesting of honey, what’s so bad? The same can be said for many other things. Have you seen an unshorn (unsheared?) sheep in the summer? They are not happy critters. Sheep need to have that excess winter wool removed to be happy and comfortable in the warmer months. The question is? What to do with all that wool? If the farmer shears the sheep in a non-threatening and harmless way and the sheep is not raised for wool, would you wear something made from that particular farm?

 

Don’t take “That’s not vegan” too seriously. The attempt to reduce and remove animal products from your life is wonderful and every little bit helps the planet. No matter what vegan conundrum plays out in your life, it’s important not to judge others who might incorporate wool or honey into their lives.

 

I do give you full permission to point out to anyone that bees are, and always will be, animals.

 

Namaste

A Vegan in Icleand

By Megan Vick

Shorganics Family

 

 

Just last week (December 8-12), I visited Iceland with my husband and parents. We had a phenomenal time! Iceland is a beautiful, desolate, and magical country full of shy, but wonderfully friendly people. We booked a package deal through IcelandAir (a few hidden fees – buyer beware!) and I started doing my research on where to find some vegan/vegetarian food.

 

 

 

Map of Iceland

 

We stayed in Reykjavik, the country’s capital. It was one of the most picturesque cities I’ve ever visited. I was nervous to visit Iceland because they still practice whaling (which as a vegan – and a HUMAN – I am thoroughly against), but when I dug deeper, I learned many Icelanders are also against whaling. Supposedly, whaling still provides enough money and jobs to make it lucrative in this tiny arctic nation. And yes, there are many restaurants that serve whale (and puffin, and shark, and sheep testicles, and horse – ew).

 

 

 

However, there are infinitely more restaurants – including many right in the harbor, which refuse to serve any “traditional Icelandic food.” I was pleased to see this; and so were my meat-eating companions who still wouldn’t touch puffin, whale, or horse. A quick Google search of “vegetarian restaurants in Iceland” yielded many blog posts by travelers and several vegans too. You will not be disappointed with the results.

 

Icelandic horses

Who could eat that??

 

 

Even if you want to wing it once you get over there, a quick walk down Reykjavik’s main downtown street offers a restaurant every few feet and every single one offers at least one vegan/vegetarian option. One of my favorite things about Reykjavik is that every eatery displays their menu outside so you can decided if it’s the right place to eat before even setting foot inside. No more awkward exits after realizing the veggie burger contains eggs…

 

 

 

 

A word of caution to the hard-core vegans out there: Icelanders LOVE their dairy. Granted, it’s hormone free, pasture raised dairy (I saw the pastures – no factory farm milking machines in this country!), but dairy is nearly everywhere. Whether is cheese on a sandwich, milk/cream in sauces, or a hot chocolate made with cream (topped with whipped cream): dairy is everywhere. Because Iceland must import nearly everything, it can be an expensive visit. Fresh fruits and veggies are not as common as they are in the states because very few things can grow successfully in the Icelandic climate. They do have several greenhouses throughout the small villages to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and other staple veggies.

 

 

 

Whether you’re veg or not, Iceland is one of the most amazing countries I’ve ever visited. When you’re there choose to spend your money on vegetarian food and whale watching. Iceland’s main industry is tourism, so how you spend your money will influence the paths taken by the business owners and government.

 

 

Stay tuned for my next post about the unique experience at Iceland’s Blue Lagoon. Namaste

Black lava rock beach

Can You Save the Butterflies?

By Megan Vick

 

For most people, butterflies hold a special place in our hearts as a symbol of beauty and freedom. Many children learn about Monarch butterflies in school because of their beautiful and epic migration patterns. Today, the Monarch population is declining at a dramatic rate. Many studies over the past 3 years indicate that the increased use of GM crops are linked to the decline of Monarchs. 

 

Monarch on Pink Zinnia

 

The most notable thing about GM crops is that they are touted as being “Roundup Ready.” Roundup is a herbicide produced by Monsanto which can be sprayed onto crops without damaging them, but it kills any weeds and unwanted plants around the crops. A common weed in many cornfields is milkweed, which just so happens to be the plant of choice for Monarch butterflies. The Monarchs lay eggs on milkweed plants because it provides the baby butterflies with a large plant to eat and then cocoon safely during the metamorphosis process. With more and more GM crops over the years, there has been a massive decline in milkweed plants leaving Monarchs to either lay their eggs elsewhere, or continue to prefer the milkweed plant only to have it killed in the crop-spraying process.

 

 

There are several ways you can get involved and help, but for most people, you can do 2 things: buy organic food (especially corn) and plant milkweed in your yard! When you buy organic food, you’re not only supporting a healthier lifestyle for your family by not ingesting pesticides and GMOs, but you’re also voting with your dollars. Each time you choose organic over conventionally grown food, you’re making a stand against GM crops and an industry that is shutting out family farms across the globe.

 

 

Butterfly Garden

In addition to buying organic, you can get milkweed seeds and plant a butterfly garden to help attract these beautiful creatures and encourage them to lay eggs on your plants. Butterflies are amazingly resilient. They only need a little help from us to restore their population while we continue to admire their beauty.

 

 

Make sure you include some butterfly friendly plants for your spring garden!  

 

 

Namaste!

 

Living in a Labeled World

By Megan Vick

 

Today, everything has a label. Everything, people included, is becoming so specific about what something is and what it isn’t, that we are running the risk of not being able to truly enjoy anything.

 

Humans, by nature, seem to be contradictory creatures when it comes to labels. If you say one thing and do another, that’s okay. We’re not here to judge you. Just remember to always be yourself and do what you feel is right. Societal expectations almost demand to fit into a category, so we keep coming up with categories as if these will somehow define ourselves and our neighbors.

 

Quit worrying about if “fit” the category of vegan/locavore/anti-GMO/fashion-savvy/healthy/out & proud – whatever. You are who you are and there is a place for everyone in this world.

 

Namaste.

Walking the Walk

By Megan Vick

 

Recently, I came upon a retailer who made natural cosmetics. I was merely a customer and she didn’t know I had anything to do with the same industry. As I perused her selection, I complimented her on her palm-free soap. She promptly responded with, “Yeah, that’s a big thing now. I don’t really care anything about the environment or animals, but this natural stuff is a hot seller.”

 

Naturally, my jaw dropped. I quickly composed myself, thanked her, and left.

 

The number of people creating and selling a product they don’t understand or believe in is growing every day. As “organic” and “natural” become buzzwords for the food and cosmetics industries, people are jumping on the bandwagon for their share. Just remember, if something is important to you – animal conservation, veganism, the environment, etc – make sure the person making the products understands and believes in the reasons behind the hot topic. Having someone behind a product who embodies the brand helps increase the quality of the item. Those people or brands who are just “in it to win it” won’t be able to truly connect with you and better the product over time.

 

Always ask questions about your products. You get to choose who is successful each time you make a purchase. Choose great companies who make great products you believe in.