Erie Vegan and Vegetarian Society

by Lindsey Douglass

Erie has another green organization to keep up with, and they are using literal greens! The Erie Vegan and Vegetarian Society has been on the scene for over a year now hosting and tabling at a variety of events. Soon, on August 5th, is their Veg-Out, a casual event to enjoy vegan food and meet with speakers or to have group discussions. They host book club meetings every other month and offer their free Veg-Outs the first Friday of each month. And no, you don't need to be vegan to attend. Co-founder, Lisa Casler, says, "We welcome everyone to our events - vegans, vegetarians, and the veg-curious!" From veg-veterans to the newly interested, everyone can attend.

This organization's mission is to promote the benefits of being vegan or vegetarian and create a community where like-minded individuals can come together. Since 2015, Craig and Lisa Casler, the founders of The Erie Vegan and Vegetarian Society, have been working to reach out to those unfamiliar or misinformed about veganism and explain the lifestyle. The veg-lifestyle has endless health perks and benefits for animals; however, less known is the impact on the environment it has.

How can changing your diet help the environment? According to the EPA's website, the agricultural industry, which is largely composed of livestock and feed for livestock, produces more greenhouse gases than all our transportation combined globally. Pollution is not the only concern when it comes to animal farming. The rearing of livestock takes a tremendous amount of land, energy, and water compared to crops. About 30% of the land mass on Earth is used for grazing or growing feed for farmed animals. Creating pastures for livestock is responsible for 70% of rainforest deforestation. These pastures reduce the amount of land that can be used by native species and is often overgrazed and eroded by livestock. Unfortunately, demand for meat is expected to increase which is a pressing concern for environmental stability.

Currently The Erie Vegan and Vegetarian Society are preparing for their VegFest on September 24 th which will be their biggest event of the year. This event will boast nationally recognized speakers and a variety of vendors and exhibitors. Even more incredible, admission will be free, making it a great opportunity to see for yourself what this organization is all about. The VegFest and their many other events are great opportunities to learn about veganism and how it affects the environment. There are endless effects that our diet can have on not just our bodies but on the planet. "Learning about the impact we can choose to have on animals and the environment just through our food choices has been mind-blowing," Lisa Casler shares. That is the reason The Erie Vegan and Vegetarian Society is here. To help people learn more about diet options available and to help those on their vegetarian and vegan journeys!

See their upcoming events on GreenEriePA's event calendar or The Erie Vegan and Vegetarian Society's Facebook page. Visit their website to sign up for their newsletter or to volunteer.

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Image courtesy of The Erie Vegan and Vegetarian Society.