First Berkeley Vegan Earth Day A Success

It may come as a surprise that Berkeley of all places has never had a Vegan Earth Day. On Friday, April 20, this was changed by Karine Brighten Events. The night started out with various vegan organizations promoting their goods. The food sold may have been vegan, but the quality was in no way affected by the restrictions. Sugar Plum Vegan Bakery displayed a variety of organic cupcakes ranging from Red Velvet to Carrot Cake. The room holding the vendors was crowded with people, an obvious sign that the event was popular. This was confirmed by Karine Brighten, who said that the event was sold-out, and that there would definitely be another one next year.

Sugar Plum Vegan Bakery selling cakes and giving out free samples.

Bay Area Locals Raw Daddy's displays their delicious and health-conscious fun cones.

After visiting the vendors, attendees were ushered into a lecture hall for a screening of the feature film, “Call of Life: Facing the Mass Extinction”. The movie is particularly striking because it not only addresses the issue of the widespread species extinctions, but it also explores how society has contributed to this impending disaster. Subjects such as exploitation of resources and the extravagancy of American consumerism served as thoughtful reminders of how fragile our planet is, and how we must work together to protect it. According to the film, half of all plant and animal species will be extinct in a few decades if no changes occur to the current path we are taking.

The audience before the film; a panel with the guest speakers after the film.

The movie was followed by a panel discussion which gave featured experts an opportunity to discuss current environmental problems. Each person had around ten minutes to deliver a short speech and the session was finished with a brief Q&A. The moderator, Rose Aguilar, is not only a writer, but a journalist and radio host. She urged the audience to bring awareness to issues by using the local media. The first of the panel to speak was the executive producer of the film, David Ulansey, who shared that only one-tenth of the species on earth have been catalogued, and with current extinction trends he fears that we will never learn about many of them. Lauren Ornelas, the founder of the Food Empowerment Project, disagreed with the film’s portrayal of “over-exploitation” and vehemently urged that any sort of exploitation is wrong.

Speakers: (Left) Call of Life producer David Ulansey and (Right) Founder of the Food Empowerment Project Lauren Ornelas.

Speakers: (Left) Hope Bohanec of In Defense of Animals and (Right) Alex Eaves, owner of STAY VOCAL. All photographs by Diana Li.

She stated that for many vegans, animals are not numbers, but rather individuals. If even one animal dies it is a tragedy. Currently working for In Defense of Animals, Hope Bohanec stressed the importance of diet in making in impact on the environment. According to Bohanec, if everyone went vegetarian for one day, the United States would save 100 billion gallons of water and 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide would not be omitted. The owner of STAY VOCAL, a re-use apparel brand (because “recycling is failing to re-use”), Alex Eaves rather succinctly summed up the night’s emphasis on taking care of the planet. He quipped, “If there’s no planet, who the heck cares if you’re vegan?”

Christina Kowalski
BARE Reporter

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