Be the Change You Want to See in the World

The other day I got a comment on my blog that suggested if I’m not a vegan, it doesn’t matter if I don’t use animal products in my designs, and my response is even though I am not a vegan, I still think I can have a big impact on the lives of animals.  I don’t believe, at least not today, in 2011, that most of our world is going to become vegan, but I strongly believe that together we can make a difference.  If I can inspire one person to buy a linen sofa instead of a leather one and that person inspires someone to buy cage free eggs and chicken and that person convinces someone never to buy fur products again and so on and so on, then a difference WILL be made.  Just think, twenty years ago most of us had never heard the word recycling and now most of us do it every single day!

So instead of buying an Alpaca fur pillow for $99.95…

why not buy a faux fur pillow for $9.99?  No one would know the difference!

Or how about a blanket and throw from Bedford Cottage made of 100% polyester, but feel so soft and cozy you would never guess they weren’t real!

They are one of my favorite accents in our home.

And instead of buying a brand new leather purse…

why not buy a bag from Alchemy Goods, a company that makes purses out of recycled bicycle tire inner tubes?  Great for the environment and animals!

Plus, they make wallets like the one I bought for my husband for Valentine’s Day…

It was only $25.00 and the stitching on all of their products is gorgeous…what could be better?

Instead of leather flip flops…

…you could get some adorable flip flops like the ones I found from Dizzy at Tuni’s for $22.  Washable, inexpensive and neutral enough to go with any outfit!

When it comes to rugs, many of them are made of 100% wool and even though the sheep are not slaughtered, often they are kept in the harshest of conditions, their skin is cut and scarred from the sheering process and in worst cases they can even lose parts of their faces from rough handling so I encourage you to buy natural fiber rugs like these from Overstock.com:

They work with almost any style of decor!  Another great option is using outdoor rugs inside.  They can stand up to rain, dirt, and direct sunlight, so if you have children or pets at home, they are almost impossible to ruin – no more juice stains or pet accidents, and they come in tons of colors and varieties.

Even though I don’t eat red meat or pork, I do eat poultry and fish, as well as eggs and cheese.  I hope one day to become a vegetarian (again), but I don’t think I would ever become a true vegan because I believe the world can and should live in harmony with animals and from my experience, many of them love to be given jobs and feel needed by people.  That’s why one day I hope to live in a barn on a big piece of land, so I can have chickens and cows that can provide milk and eggs for our family, as well receive the same love and respect we give our dogs.  I have spent time working with dogs in need and I have the goal of starting a dog rescue on our property because I have seen first hand how much good animals can bring to the world, especially to people in need.

Like the seeing eye dogs from the organization The Seeing Eye that help give independence to the visually impaired.

Or horses that are used to help adults and children with disabilities ranging from autism to down syndrome to drug addiction and physical injuries like this one from the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association.

And pets taken into nursing homes that help give life to the elderly who may feel forgotten or can give strength to children fighting for their lives…

Whether you are a vegan or a volunteer, a vegetarian or a consumer of humanely raised products, I believe we can all do a small part to make this world a better place.  As Ghandi so wisely said, “Be the change you want to see in the world” and even though this is just a little blog about home design and decor, I hope it can do a little good in spreading the word about something I am truly passionate about.