Dublin Vegfest is back in September and All About Vegan Food is a media partner this year. As part of our support we’re interviewing the guests who will talk at the festival, happening September 23th and 24th 2017.
We had a chat with Earthling Ed, an amazing vegan activist spreading the world of veganism on YouTube and in the streets of the UK. He’ll be speaking to us at Dublin VegFest and we can’t wait!
This is a question I always ask: how and why did you go vegan?
I went vegan two and a half years ago after watching the documentary ‘Earthlings’. I had been vegetarian for about eight months before then but had no comprehension of what happened in the egg or dairy industry. After seeing ‘Earthlings’ I had to come to terms with the magnitude and severity of all the different ways we exploit animals and from that matter moment on I realised veganism was the only moral answer.
You have an YouTube channel focused on education. I do see education, online or in the streets, a form of activism. What are the best things about the channel and the challenges?
The main focus of my YouTube channel has always been education, I really wanted it to be a resource that would answer and refute all the main excuses and reasons animal eaters used for not going vegan. It became really clear that one of the best ways of doing this would be to actually go out and talk to non-vegans and use logic to debunk their excuses in front of them. What I’ve been particularly overjoyed about is the fact that vegans have told me that the interviews have helped them discuss veganism and given them the confidence and information they need to chat to their friends and family about being vegan.
One of the big challenges of the YouTube channel was trying to get it to grow, it’s difficult at the beginning to get viewers and subscribers and it requires perseverance and confidence as at times it can feel really challenging. I think one of people’s big worries about putting themselves online is that they are worried about the hate comments they will receive but it’s really important to remember that if you are receiving negative comments it means you are reaching non-vegans and that’s exactly what we need to do, so don’t be disheartened by any negative comments or messages, embrace them as it means you are doing something right.
Tell us a bit more about the recently released documentary ‘Land of Hope and Glory‘.
‘Land of Hope and Glory’ was really a culmination of months worth of work and a desire to debunk the argument that the UK treats animals in a humane way. As vegans we know that welfare standards mean nothing and don’t help the animals in the slightest, but many non-vegans simply aren’t aware of this, so my partner and I decided we wanted to shed a light on the truth of what happens to land animals that we raise for their flesh and secretions in this country. It was a hard film to make and at times felt completely overwhelming but it was so important to us that we told the stories of these animals and showed people why veganism is the only way to save them. We’ve received so many messages and heard so many positive stories from people who have showed the film to their friends and family and have encouraged them to go vegan as a result.
You’ll be speaking at Dublin Vegfest this September. Have you been to Ireland before? Do you know much about how veganism is around here? Do you have any expectations?
This will be my first trip to Ireland, so I’m really excited to come to Dublin VegFest and experience the vegan community that’s there. I’ve heard so many positive things about Dublin and have wanted to come for a very long time so it’s going to be such a fantastic and rewarding experience and I can’t wait to try all the delicious vegan products that will be there. For a long time I’ve been really impressed by the activism that takes place in and around Dublin and have seen lots of videos and images from outreach events and saves, it always fills me with so much hope and optimism knowing that there are activists in different cities and countries all around the world doing their bit and fighting for the animals, so it’s going to be such an honour to get to finally meet the activists that I’ve seen online.
What can we expect from your talk and will you be doing anything else on the day?
My speeches always focus on the importance of being active and why it’s essential we speak up and act on behalf of the animals, for me one of the most rewarding things about being a vegan activist is trying to empower others to believe in themselves and become activists. I see the job of a vegan activist to be equal parts inspiring non-vegans to become vegan and inspiring vegans to become activists, so I’ll definitely be covering activism. However, I also like my speeches to give people a more personal insight into my life and I like to use them as an opportunity to discuss experiences that i’ve had and the emotional impact they’ve had on me, so I’ll also discuss the journey I’ve been on and how I’ve changed both as a vegan and an activist.
A part from giving a couple of talks I’m going to be listening to the other speakers and spending as much time as possible chatting to people and sharing stories and experiences. Meeting new people is one of the most rewarding parts of being an activist and I always look forward to chatting to other vegans.