A Polite Introduction

By Michael Parrish DuDell   |  19Comments|

I hope this isn’t rude, but who are you?

That was the question the reporter at Experience Life magazine opened with when interviewing me for The New Vegan – a piece written on the neo-traditional approach to the plant-based lifestyle appearing in their May issue.

I laughed. It was a totally fair question. Every other “expert” being featured was a published author or had a successful line of products. And then there was me. “Who are you?” The question echoed in my brain for days after.

For the record: I am Michael Parrish DuDell – the senior editor at, the co-founder of and the founder and executive director of the brand spanking new nonprofit organization Citizens for a Compassionate Planet. Oh yeah, and chances are you’ve never heard of me.

You see, I’m the new guy on the block – the friendly neighbor who through a series of random events has somehow inherited this great big house and is now trying to fix it up just right.

I guess the first thing people notice about me is that I’m freshly 26 (which to me feels light-years old, but to others generally elicits rolled eyes and comments ending in the word “baby”). The second thing you might notice is that I love what I do more than just about anything in the entire world.

I’ve been vegan for 8 years, but spent most of those basically silent about what I chose to eat. It’s strange, really. In every other aspect of my life I’m brazen and strong, but when it came to veganism I was constantly afraid of turning people off or rocking the boat. And then something happened…

The year was 2006. I had just recently graduated from college and was volunteering at Farm Sanctuary’s 20th Anniversary Gala. It was the first animal event I’d ever been to and I was immediately blown away by how many people shared my passion. Each speaker seemed to say exactly what had been on my mind for all those years. You mean there were other people who felt this way?

Finally Alicia Silverstone came on stage to accept an award and said something that would change my life in a big way. Silverstone confessed that some people find her annoying because she speaks about veganism at every chance she gets. Still, she said, it doesn’t matter to her what they think because she’s certain her words have inspired even more people to change their life. And suddenly it hit, “Oh my God – she’s right!” It was nothing profound, but it connected the pieces in my brain and all of sudden things seemed clearer. I decided then and there to be more active in my community and never afraid to speak my mind about an issue I find so important.

Some months later I saw an ad looking for writers for Ecorazzi – a blog that spotlights all the fantastic things celebrities do for green living, humanitarianism and animal rights. I had never written professionally, but knew my way around a keyboard well enough to feel confident submitting a few samples. And the rest is history. After a year of writing for Ecorazzi, the owner, Michael d’Estries and I decided to launch

So that’s me…almost.

During the fall of last year I decided that I wanted – no needed – to do more. The joy I get from writing for thousands upon thousands each week is mind-blowing. But what I love — what I really, really love – more than any amount of hits on a webpage is knowing that what I’m doing on a daily basis is inspiring others to help make the planet a more compassionate place. OH MY GOD! I’ve got it!

All of sudden it hit me. Citizens for a Compassionate Planet. I HAVE TO START IT! And so I did.

On March 16th, 2009 I officially launched Citizens for a Compassionate Planet – a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the health, environmental and ethical benefits of a plant-based diet through the establishment of advocacy and public education programs within local communities.

Through a series of support programs, outreach initiatives and educational presentations, my goal is to inspire the young people of the world to make long-lasting, positive change towards a healthier diet and a cleaner planet.

As I march to battle to the sound of an optimistic drum beat, I am reminded of the famous quote that Maragret Mead once uttered: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”

So no – it isn’t rude.

My name is Michael Parrish DuDell and I’m here to help create something wonderful.

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15 responses to A Polite Introduction
  1. completely inspiring. i cant wait to hear about all the awesome things citizens will be doing.

  2. I know who you are and you are awesome! Congrats on the new venture.

  3. I look forward to watching your org grow! Great article.

  4. I love that you can sit and articulate just who you are. I wish like hell I could have done that at 26. I cannot wait to see that non-profit grow and I pray that soon everyone knows your name. What a sheer force of nature you sound like. So it is nice to meet you Mr. Parrish. Enjoy the joy of changing the world it is more addictive than green juice. Hugs. Callie and the BasicMissions Crew

  5. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Michael Parrish DuDell.

  6. Sade said on May 21, 2009

    your writing is great! cracks me up…and awesome project…can’t wait to learn more!

  7. i love this michael. How can I meet you in person? I want to marry you.

  8. I love vegdaily and ecorazzi! Awesome sites and an awesome bio. I enjoyed reading it!

  9. I love your work, have been a fan for a LONG time. :)

    Keep up the amazing work!


  10. All- Thanks for all your kind words. I look forward to sharing more great news in the future! Until then.

  11. I am proud of you – proud of who you are and what and whom you will allow yourself to stand up for. You are a force to be reckoned with and I believe this is just the beginning of so much success in the world for you.
    Love from my heart

  12. Hello Michael from Max and my human. We rejoice in your writings here in my home. You Rock! We have been avid readers of yours on Ecorazzi and are thrilled with your new website! We wish you much luck with your new venture, not that we think you will need it. The animal world thanks you for your effort on our behalf. And we love you for it!

  13. nice post.. Keep going with it… Thank you for information in your article. Wish you want to change a link with me..,,please…Contact me at if you are interest..thank you..

  14. Nice to meet you ;). Keep on inspiring…!

  15. That is so great that you started Citizens for a Compassionate Planet. You are a great inspirations to others that are looking to start a nonprofit organization. My sister in law works in the marketing department of a local non for profit, and she says that she would never go back to working for a for profit company. Non for profits do such a great job of educating the public. I look forward to reading more about it.