Lonely? Try Talking about Cow Flatulence

By Bellamy Dryden

This past Saturday, April 29, I celebrated an important milestone with 5,000 strangers at the Peoples Climate March in downtown San Diego. After that same march in 2014 I adopted a vegan diet, cold turkey, so to speak. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Three years later, I’m healthier and happier.

2017 People's Climate March

2017 People’s Climate March. Photo courtesy of SanDiego350.

What better way to celebrate than with a perfect stranger holding a sign that says “Cow Farts are Destroying the Planet”?

I changed my diet for two reasons. One: it’s an easy and useful way for me to help combat climate change. Two:  it meant that I would never, ever, EVER have to eat a cricket burger with a side of mealworm “fries.”

Why not celebrate such an important day with friends and family? Well, I’m the only environmental vegan in my circle. Besides, my family and friends are far flung, so we use Facebook to keep in touch. The friends and neighbors I see in real life like me just fine, but online, it’s really lonely being the dietary outlier, the green sheep, the tree-hugging vegan.

Sure, my banana-raspberry “nice cream” post might get a few pity likes, but if I share a recipe for seitan chili, the faithful church-goers in my circle are likely to form a prayer chain on my behalf…and then send me a barbecue “turducken” recipe.

Family and friends might be more understanding about my dietary choices, though, if I hadn’t already annoyed them with other forms of advocacy. (I have a lot of feelings…about a lot of important causes.)

For instance, when someone shared a “patriotic” post about the Founding Fathers and the Pledge of Allegiance, I sent her a message: “Actually, the Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892, long after all the Founding Fathers were all dead…”

Because who doesn’t love a good “Actually…”?

When someone posted a photo of a new truck, I was outraged. That thing costs, like, $60,000 but the price doesn’t include a plug-in electric motor, solar panels, OR a Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor?

Angry face emoji!

When someone promoted a story that just didn’t add up, I helpfully pointed out the differences between real journalism and click-bait fake news. In fact, I’ve called out a few of these stories (“Texas Town Ebola Quarantine,” “Welfare Queen Rakes in $300k in Gov Benefits,” and “Something Something Homophobia,” etc.) I’m pretty sure those family members have “un-followed” me now, although I can see we’re all still “friends.”

People on the move

People on the move. Photo courtesy of SanDiego350.

I’m trying to do better, I swear. Recently, someone posted a photo of Colin Kaepernick and asked me to hit the “like” button if I, too, was super glad that a fellow American is unemployed after his peaceful, lawful protest against police violence. I fumed for three days. In the end, out of respect for this normally thoughtful person, I refrained from pointing out the hypocrisy, anti-Americanism, and racism inherent in that post…this time.

No, it’s not comfortable in my Facebook “family and friends” bubble. Fortunately, I can always head out my front door to meet up with like-minded people “IRL” (in real life), like at the Peoples Climate March.

I felt a wonderful sense of belonging at the march. I met a lot of people as aware and alarmed as I am, as fearful for the future of our planet as I am, and yet still as hopeful as I am.  If we come together in order to find solutions, we will “actually” find solutions.

Whether you’re just lonely online like me, or are lonely in real life, I urge you to check out your local resistance. There are groups that meet weekly, monthly, or occasionally, no matter what color your county is on maps broadcast by the “mainstream media.”

If not, form your own group. You might be surprised who shows up to talk about methane emissions from factory farming. Nothing sparks a rousing environmental conversation like cow farts.

Bellamy Dryden writes sci-fi for fun, along with killer content and outstanding ebooks for clients. Follow the fun on Twitter @bellamy_dryden. Agents and clients, let’s mind meld via bellamydrydenwrites@gmail.com.

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