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Gentle World is a non-profit organization and intentional community, providing vegan education and inspiration since 1979. 

With visitor centers in Hawaii and New Zealand, we offer a unique educational experience which inspires people from all over the world to transition toward vegan living.

Gentle World is staffed exclusively by volunteers, and we always welcome assistance from individuals who are enthusiastic to contribute to our mission. If you are interested in volunteering your time to help support our educational program, please contact us.

Image: Graeme Weatherston / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Is Your Alcohol Vegan?

Confused? Many people, vegan or not, are surprised to discover that there is a plethora of animal-based products that can be found in alcoholic beverages. Also see: Is Your Champagne Vegan? Wondering what these unappetizing byproducts are doing in your drink? Most are used for “fining”* or coloring, although there are plenty of vegan options for filtering and coloring out there. The main culprits making it into our drinks today are: Isinglass, carmine, gelatin, egg whites, seashells, honey, milk, ...

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No Innocent Bystanders

The following article appeared in the book Circles of Compassion: Essays Connecting Issues of Justice, a collection edited by Will Tuttle. Every year in New York City, thousands gather for a widely publicized event called “Meatopia,” which is described as “a Texas-sized two day weekend of meat, mirth, and the celebration of animals and the way great chefs prepare them.” Founded and hosted by TIME magazine food columnist Josh Ozersky, Meatopia has been called, “a meat-lover’s paradise” (New ...

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Why I Love Vegans

I love vegans, first and foremost, for their heightened sense of justice and compassion, in choosing to avoid, as far as possible, products and businesses that exploit anyone's body, in any way, for any reason. Akin to abolitionists of human slavery who believe that it is morally wrong to force living, breathing human beings into slavery, vegans have taken that belief one step further, by including living, breathing non-human beings... and for this, I love them ...

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Finding the Right Vegan Cheese

Okay, so you’ve decided to ditch dairy. Good for you! Your body will thank you in a myriad of ways, not to mention your conscience. Believe it or not, giving up dairy products is one of the very best things you can do to demonstrate your commitment to living gently on this planet, as well as protecting your own health for the years ahead. Now what do you do about that pesky little problem called cheese? If you’re like many people, giving ...

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Legal Slavery in the 21st Century

While animal welfare has been a concern of many civilizations throughout world history, its beginnings in modern Western civilization can be traced back to early 19th century Britain with the utilitarian philosophy of Jeremy Bentham and the establishment of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1824. Since then, there have been thousands of animal welfare organizations created, countless attempts and billions of dollars spent to pass laws and regulations to ...

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What's Wrong with Wool?

Wool often tends to be overlooked by many animal advocates because its cultivation does not necessitate the death of the animal, unlike meat production or leather, for example. However, the cultivation of wool is far from the pastoral idyll one might imagine. Wool production is an industry. Like any other branch of animal agriculture, it thrives by commodifying animals and objectifying them as resources for human consumption. It converts sentient creatures into units of production, thereby ...

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Don’t Tell Me What To Do

I don’t have any problem with your way of life. I respect your point of view. You are entitled to your opinion, and I am entitled to mine. Don’t get me wrong. I admire people with strong moral values. I just don’t like them being shoved down my throat. I, for example, see nothing whatsoever wrong with slavery. Some people were born to serve others. It’s just the way it is. You don’t have to own anyone, if ...

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Do Our Bodies Require Animal Products?

As our awareness continues to grow about the detrimental effects of animal foods on the human body, it has become evident that eating a plant foods diet is beneficial not only for non-human animals and the planet, but for human health as well. For those who might be concerned about meeting all their nutritional requirements with just plant foods, rest assured that even the mainstream and conservative Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic ...

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A Beginner’s Guide to Traveling as a Vegan

Traveling can seem intimidating to those of us who are new to it. From jet lag, to language barriers, to culture shock, there’s a seemingly endless list of things to worry about. Being a vegan may seem like yet another challenge – but it doesn’t have to be! Although it’s important to do your research and plan ahead, most issues can be very easily resolved if you keep in mind that it is your own responsibility ...

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8 Tips for Going Vegan on a Budget

One of the myths about the vegan lifestyle is that it’s too expensive for the average or low-income family. Perhaps this is because many people relate the term ‘vegan’ or a plant-based diet to pre-packed vegan spreads, meat alternatives, vegan dairy substitutes and the cost of some fruits and veggies*. While it is important to note that veganism is not a diet, but rather a life philosophy, we all have to eat and a plant-based diet is an ...

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Burying the Past

The earth was heavy with moisture and thick with trailing grass roots. Still, with each shovel full of dirt my resolve to finish what I had started grew. On the ground, next to the hole I was digging, lay a new woolen shawl, a pair of leather shoes, a leather belt and some sleeping tablets made with milk. It took me some time to fight through the grass roots and water logged earth, but with perseverance, ...

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Mariolana: Life Lessons from a Goat

Along my journey to veganism, I have been moved by number of animal teachers. One of the dearest of these friends was a goat named Mariolana. She was part of a group of about 16 goats that, through a work exchange program, I found myself herding in the Italian countryside. It was fall and the forest was rich with chestnuts. One of the jobs I was given was to watch over the goats as they ate wild ...

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A Newer Age

Two score and seven years ago, young people brought forth to this nation a new consciousness, conceived in love, and dedicated to the proposition that all men and women are created with one purpose... to evolve. It was the first time in history that a whole generation dared to defy the established order, by refusing to take part in its violence, injustice, bigotry and lies. Instead, they bravely set forth in search of a saner way. In ...

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The Colored Entrance

Jazz singer Billie Holiday was one of the greatest female vocalists of her time. In 1948, Holiday sang to a sold-out crowd in Carnegie Hall. The venue broke its own record, with 2,700 tickets sold in advance. When she began to sing, she was met with “one of the most thunderous ovations ever given a performer in any concert hall.” Music critics called her “possibly the greatest singer of the century." In the late 1930s, Holiday ...

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Beginner's Guide to Veganic Gardening

Vegan-organic gardening avoids not only the use of toxic sprays and chemicals, but also manures and animal remains. Just as vegans avoid animal products in the rest of our lives, we also avoid using animal products in the garden, as fertilizers such as blood and bone meal, slaughterhouse sludge, fish emulsion, and manures are sourced from industries that exploit and enslave sentient beings. As these products may carry dangerous diseases that breed in intensive animal ...

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The Power of Ahimsa

Ahimsa: this word means so much to some people, and so little to others. To me, Ahimsa is the most powerful word in the universe. Although Ahimsa, a word derived from Sanskrit, means “nonviolence” when directly translated, it has been interpreted to mean many things, including “love”, “forgiveness”, “sacrifice”, “truth”, “the absence of enmity”, and “strength.” Prescribed by wise sages throughout history as the most effective way to temper the bestial nature in man, taking the vow ...

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43 Year Vegans

... Light and Sun are the co-founders of Gentle World. Last month, their profile appeared as part of a collection of long-term vegans, put together by Butterflies Katz. How long have you been vegan? We have been vegan for 43 years. Our decision began with an epiphany, while attending a movie in which the slaughter of a bull is shown. How and when; the details of your "aha moment" of becoming vegan: Our "aha" moment came in 1966, with the realization of what ...

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An Irrefutable Truth

Before I became vegan, I felt that everything I knew could be refuted. My opinions could and would be challenged by anyone who knew better or whom I thought knew better.  In those years – all through college and law school, when I earned my tuition by working as a bartender, substitute teacher, maitre d', shoe salesman, bellhop, plus various other jobs – I always had the feeling that I was kind of 'winging it', and ...

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Bruno: A New Perspective on Happy Cows

Sitting in my office in downtown Boston, I stared out the frosted glass and dreamed of Italy. A small farm filled with animals wandering in green pastures, clucking at my heels, waiting eagerly to have grain and hay thrown into their troughs. One more month, and I would be volunteering on a small organic dairy farm nestled in the pristine Italian countryside. While I had been a vegetarian for five years at that point, I loved ...

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Good Nutrition for Healthy Vegan Dogs

Good Nutrition for Healthy Vegan Dogs

Contents Introduction Putting Together a Basic Meal Protein & Carbohydrates Enzymes & Beta-carotene Taurine, L-Carnitine & B12 Oils & Essential Fatty Acids Conclusion Resources for Information and Supplies Introduction Many people are surprised to learn that not only can dogs enjoy vibrant health on a vegan diet, but just like people, their physical condition can actually improve as a result of eliminating animal foods. By genus, dogs are classified as carnivorous, but metabolically, they are actually omnivorous. This means that their nutritional requirements can be adequately ...

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The Vegan Evolution

The vegan ethic embodies the most universal of spiritual and ethical aspirations – non-violence, harmlessness, reverence for life, and the cultivation of compassion toward the innocent. For those of us who recognize veganism as being the practical application of these values, it is cause for celebration that we actually have the ability to bring such noble qualities down to earth by simply eliminating from our lives the products and practices that require exploitation. And still, even ...

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25+ Vegan Sources of Calcium

We have all been taught that calcium is an essential nutrient for maintaining bone health (although it has many other uses, including balancing body pH.) There are also a number of other factors that influence bone health, such as an individual’s level of physical activity. What I want to talk about today though is the myth that animal milks (especially cheeses) are the optimal source of calcium. As explained by The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM): "Although ...

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10 Things You Should Know About Animal Testing

"I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn't. ... The pain which it inflicts upon un-consenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further." ~ Mark Twain The term "animal vivisection" refers to the practice of using live animals as involuntary test subjects in experiments performed by scientists and researchers. Animal vivisection ...

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Vegan: Easier Than You Think

Living as a vegan, especially for those of us in the developed world, is much, much easier than it is commonly perceived to be. During the past several years, the call to reduce our consumption of animal products has grown tremendously. Vegan recipe blogs have proliferated into the hundreds, if not thousands. Both the number and the variety of vegan items available in stores and online are increasing annually. New vegan businesses are opening and thriving more ...

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Should You Be Eating Eggs?

“The sad reality is that, no matter how well treated laying hens may be in their foreshortened lives, they remain the product of enormous and intentional cruelty that is inflicted only because people want to consume eggs.” ~ Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary A new educational pamphlet titled “What’s Wrong with Backyard Eggs?” is the latest release from Peaceful Prairie, a farm sanctuary that provides shelter to animals rescued from cage-free, free-range, small-scale and family farms. Yes, despite the prevalence of the modern myth that family or ...

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What's Wrong with Backyard Eggs?

Vegans are accustomed to being asked certain questions:  How can you live without cheese? (Easily and with clean arteries); Where do you get your protein? (Ask a gorilla); What if you and a pig were stranded on a desert island? (....what?).  But we also get asked just as frequently (though somewhat less facetiously) about backyard chickens being kept specifically for eggs. Initially, raising backyard chickens may seem to address a number of problems from the perspective ...

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Freedom’s New Frontier: A Guide to Animal Rights

The movement for animal rights is perhaps one of the most misunderstood social phenomena of the 21st century. Despite the sincere efforts of an increasing number of individuals willing to speak up on behalf of the animals who suffer at the hands of humans, our cause continues to be misconstrued, misrepresented, and maligned. Admittedly, the blame for this lies partially with the movement itself, or at least with certain organizations and individuals perceived to be at the ...

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The Yogic Path

We recently received a remarkable letter from a friend of ours, who became a vegetarian in 1974 and for the past 24 years has lived the vegan understanding. Paul, a doctor, sent a recording of a presentation advocating for spiritual veganism to "Tom" a highly qualified yoga instructor with decades of experience who had lived in India, and still makes annual month-long trips to further his studies. The reply he received is below, followed by Paul's response, ...

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The Last Fish

When I was a child, I was taught that killing fish was supposed to be relaxing. It was a time to bond with family and friends; a game, or rather a sport, called “fishing”. Thankfully this lesson didn’t stick and even before I became vegetarian and then vegan, I realized that any activity that ends in watching another animal die cannot be called a game or sport; for any true sport requires all players to ...

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Why?

Every human being is a complex, multi-layered conglomeration of genes, experiences, interests, opinions, beliefs, talents, skills, and rules for living that are uniquely different from all others. We differ in so many ways, that if each of us painted a picture of the way we see what we call the "real world," we would likely be very surprised at how unreal each looked to the others. Even those that appeared to be most like our ...

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Veganism Defined (written by Leslie Cross, 1951)

Recently the Vegan Society adopted revised and extended rules which among other things clarify the goal towards which the movement aspires. The Society's object and meaning of the word "veganism", which have until now been matters of inference and personal predilection, are now defined as follows: "The object of the Society shall be to end the exploitation of animals by man" and "The word veganism shall mean the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals." The Society ...

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Keeping Animal Bones Out of Sugar

Sugar… It seems to be found in everything. People of all ages and backgrounds can be brought together by something sweet; in the kitchen and around the table. We can all remember the floury hands, huge messes, and wonderful smells created along with loved ones in the hope of sharing a smile over some scrumptious confection. We regard it as a treasure to be used somewhat sparingly, and even call each other "sweet" to show ...

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Let Your Conscience Be Your God

"Of all the creeds be taught or lands be trod, Man's conscience is the oracle of God." ~ Lord Byron ... Of all the gods who have ruled the minds and hearts of human beings since they first appeared on this earth, however fervently worshipped and highly-acclaimed, none has, thus far, been able to lift humanity above the mean, selfish, violent, cruel part of its nature. However hallowed be their names, they have all failed in fulfilling our greatest need ...

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If We Were They

Of the more than seven billion people who are alive on this earth as I write, not one, as far as any of us knows, asked to be born. To the best of our recollection, each of us arrived in this crazy world not by our own choice, but either by someone else's choosing or by chance. None of us was informed beforehand as to who we would be, what our lives would be like or the reality ...

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It Must Have Been Lovely

In October of 1970, as an anthem for the very first Earth Day, American singer-songwriter Tom Paxton wrote a haunting song painting a picture of the planet as it might one day be... devoid of the wonders of the natural world. “Whose garden was this? It must have been lovely… Did it have flowers? I’ve seen pictures of flowers, and I’d love to have smelled one… Tell me again, I need to know… The forest had ...

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Kicking the Cheese Habit

“Cheese consumption in the U.S. rose from 15 pounds per person per year in 1975 to more than 30 pounds in 1999. And you can thank the federal government. The USDA Report to Congress on the Dairy Promotion Programs for the year 2000 described how the government and industry worked with fast-food chains to make sure that cheese was prominently displayed in menu items.” ~ Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine   “But I could never give up cheese…” Have ...

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Is It Possible to REALLY Be Vegan?

We recently received a very thoughtful letter from a reader, echoing sentiments that we hear fairly frequently. In the hopes that our response might be helpful to others considering the finer points of veganism, we have reproduced both letter and reply. ... I’m a vegetarian who does consume eggs, cheese, and milk from farms where animals are raised humanely (or at least as far as I can tell they are raised humanely).   The whole issue of vegetarianism and ...

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The Importance of Being Vegan

“If a man earnestly seeks a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from animal food.” - Leo Tolstoy … Intellectually, most of us agree that inflicting unnecessary harm is unjustified – whether the victims are human or not. Yet somehow, most of the same people who subscribe to this belief are willing to turn a blind eye to such harm when they themselves receive some kind of advantage from it – whether the benefits are in the ...

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Another Chance

“The sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago... had they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands.” ~Havelock Ellis, The Dance of Life, 1923   From climate collapse to mass extinction, water shortages to world hunger, the catastrophic problems we face are clear indicators that we are in need of radical change; transformation on a global scale. At a time when the number of our species equals nearly seven billion, gone are the ...

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Could Veganism End World Hunger?

Whenever someone in the animal rights community suggests the concept of complete animal liberation, and therefore an end to the exploitation of animals, a common criticism and counter-argument to this goal is: “Humans can’t give up eating animals (or animal products), because then everyone would starve!” Not only is the idea of giving up their favorite edibles anxiety-inducing and even threatening to resolute omnivores, but it seems perfectly rational to them that, given the plight ...

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The Birds of the Down Industry

If you're considering buying a product stuffed with down or body feathers, the first thought on your mind probably isn't: "Where (or rather whom) did these feathers come from, and do I want to be supporting the industry that 'harvested' them?" But after learning about the animals involved in the down and feather industry, I hope that, like I did, you will become determined to make your household and clothing feather free. What is down? "'Down' is ...

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10 Simple Tips for the New Vegan

Despite the concerns many people have about vegan living being complicated and foreign, it's actually a lot more simple and familiar than most would think. Even if you're used to relying on certain ingredients such as meat, cheese and eggs, there's no reason that ditching animal products should be a big deal. Here are a few super-simple tips to help you navigate your way around a vegan kitchen: Fruit and Veg! Yes, you've heard it before, but ...

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