We spent most of today walking from Willow Grove, through Hatboro, and up to Warminster, places Mom had long wanted to see. As we were walking along York Road under the Pennsylvania Turnpike, we stopped to tweet a photo, as it's probably about halfway between the Liberty Bell and New Hope. Felt like a real milestone!
As we were leaving Willow Grove in the morning, we did encounter some repaving work, so the exhaust of the trucks, the noise of the machines, and the general dirt and dust did not make for a very pleasant mile or so. A lot of the workers were eyeing my orange vest, perhaps not sure of whether I was supposed to be working with them, or maybe wondering why it said VEGAN PILGRIM on the back, or possibly even wondering why I was wandering away from the worksite with a woman hanging on my arm.
We stopped for at late lunch at a pub in Hatboro, talking about a number of things, including how this walk came to be and how important the cause of Farm Sanctuary is. When she left to use the bathroom, I got to thinking about where veganism is headed. Is it a kind of fad right now? Or, is it destined to grow? If so, by how much? In April, I conducted a poll in which the highest number of respondents believed 10% of people will be vegan in the year 2050. Others predicted 25% or 50%, and I got to wondering today whether that will be possible.
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I don't know that it's impossible. How prevalent was smoking in public places forty years ago? How about now? How many cars had air bags 40 years ago? And how many do now? Though the answers are obvious, I don't mean to suggest that 50% or 100% of the population will be vegan forty years from now. Rather, I'm just kind of stuck on the fact that widespread awareness and wide-scale change can indeed come about in just a few short decades.
Like me, do you sense an air of youth, of optimism attached to the vegan movement now? Have you noticed that children are educating parents—and grandchildren are educating grandparents—that going vegan is the most direct, tangible, simple, and immediate way we can help reduce the suffering of animals, improve our health, and contribute to the preservation of our planet?
Anyway (apologies for the digression—I'm a little tired and sore), on the way back to the train to drop Mom off, I'd hoped to be able to point out the famous Blue Sage Vegetarian Grille in Southampton, PA, as its nondescript, strip-mall facade belies the vegetarian mecca inside: Large portions of creative dishes, succulent desserts, and tables close enough together that it's not unusual to end your meal in a conversation with the vegans or vegetarians at the next table. Unfortunately, we didn't have time. But we'll get her there soon!
Tomorrow: New Hope, and arrival at the New Hope-Lambertville Free Bridge finish line at 1pm. Thanks, everyone, for all of your texts, e-mails, tweets, and posts of support these last few days. Keep them coming. They're keeping me going!
Please remember that it's not too late to donate! If just 17 of you will support Farm Sanctuary with a $20 gift, we'll reach our $2,000 goal before the end of the walk this Tuesday. Please visit my fundraising page to make a secure donation if you haven't yet had the chance to do so, and thanks again to all of you for your support!