Part II: WARM Memories
Continued from WARM Memories Part I by Andy Glick…
In 1991, my dream was realized, and I opened The WARM (Woodstock Animal Rights Movement) Store here in Woodstock. To the best of my knowledge, this was one of the very first “Cruelty-free, Vegan, Socially Conscious, Environmentally Friendly” store in the United States. At first we relied heavily on PETA’s Cruelty-Free shopping guide to help us find products for the store. We also attended trade shows and picked up things that were appropriate to sell. The term “cruelty-free” was quite new back then, and even health food stores were not featuring or promoting cruelty-free products. Most personal care items were not yet labeled to show if they were tested on animals or if they contained animal ingredients.
In the book/library section of the store, we had a TV and video running all day of John Robbins’ video “Diet for a New America” alternating with Dr. Michael Klaper’s video entitled “Vegan Nutrition”. I received permission from Dr. Klaper to give out audio cassette copies of three or four of his great “bootleg” lectures at the time. Eventually we must have given out over a thousand copies of the “Vegan Nutrition” lecture and hundreds of copies of his other lectures about Veganism and ethics and the environment. He was certainly one of the most passionate, inspiring, and compassionate speakers of all time, and he was the prime reason I became so interested in the nutritional importance of veganism, not for just ethical or animal reasons, and this has remained with me ever since.
We finally have so much medical and nutritional data proving the benefits of a plant-based diet. And, of course, there is a “new” awareness of the effects of animal agriculture on climate and global warming. I say “new” in quotes because much of this was written about in the mid 80’s by John Robbins in his prophetic book, “Diet for a New America“. I’m sure that many of you have heard facts like:
*2500 -5000 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef
*15 pounds of grain is fed to a cow to get one pound of beef
*50% of all the water used in the US goes to animal agriculture
*50% of all antibiotics and pesticides are used for animal agriculture
*70%+ of all grains grown in the US goes to cattle
*5000 gallons of water a day is used up by a person on a meat centered diet
* 300-500 gallons of water a day is used up by a person on a Vegan diet
All of the above facts were disclosed by John Robbins in “Diet For A New America” twenty-five years ago. The only thing missing then was the specific connection to greenhouse gases, an idea that is finally getting the public’s attention.
After a few years in our first location, the very small WARM Store needed a new home and we moved to a larger building close to the center of town. The store remained open until 1999. Later, I was asked to serve on the newly revised and energized national board of Earth Save. During the first few months, the board members were asked to come up with ideas that would help Earth Save gain more national recognition. I brought up the idea of the “MeatFreeZone”. This was something I had been thinking about for a few years and was saving up for the right moment. The Earth Save board liked the idea but decided not go ahead with it. So, with the help of my then partner Jerry Cook, we proceeded with the campaign on our own. Part of our mission was to offer MeatFreeZone signs to people for their homes and workplaces and to have the logo be a symbol of their lifestyle and movement to be identified with. We also aimed to have the signs be displayed in the windows and interiors of all Vegetarian and Vegan restaurants. Again, to be a recognizable symbol of this lifestyle and all it represents.
The MeatFreeZone website was meant to be more of a nutritional site as opposed to an Animal Rights site. I compiled a very comprehensive list of articles called “Health and Nutrition” for the site. It goes from A-Z and includes tons of articles about Vegan diets, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dairy, fats, and most major diseases and health issues I could find. Most of the articles were written by plant-based medical doctors (such as Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Dr. Michael Klaper, Dr. Esselstyne, and Dr. Barnard) and many plant based nutritionists such as Brenda Davis. I’ve been told that the site has become an invaluable resource of information for many people.
A few years ago, I attended a school for Holistic Health Counseling in NYC. Even though the school wasn’t Vegan, my goal was to become a Vegan Lifestyle Coach and focus on that aspect with people…keeping this somewhat separate from the animal and environmental aspects of Veganism (at least on the surface). This has been a slow start but I’m optimistic and hopeful to see Veganism increasing. It’s obvious that it has become much more mainstream than when I first got involved over 20 years ago. To learn more about what I’m up to these days as a Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Animal Rights Activist, you can check out VeganLifestyleCoach.com.