If ever I need retail therapy, my drug of choice is books with stationery, especially notebooks, a close second. Time stands still when I am browsing in a bookshop which makes it best as a solitary activity, any sense of someone else getting fidgety and bored curdles the moment like cider vinegar in soy milk. I use online bookshops if I am looking for particular titles or want to send books as gifts, but as the high street has become a homogenous, culture-free, theme park of shopping with the demise of small independent retailers of any sort (and the demise of real choice), I feel I am doing my bit to try and keep books available. I have never bought an e-book for myself; they are the meat-substitute of the literary world.
Since January, when this vegan enquiry began, I have acquired five new cook books, two books on nutrition and another five books on veganism with reference to agriculture, food production and climate change. I have never learnt so much in so short a time. I am clued up on nutrition sufficiently to know that the global western diet as a piece, not just the eating of non-human animals and products, is harmful to health and shortening the lifespan of adults and children everywhere, and I understand better than ever that all the choices I make in my everyday life, all of them, are interconnected and affecting an entire ecosystem, namely this blue planet.
I am also acutely aware that I can’t stand on my own in front of the galloping horse of global capitalism like Emily Davison and stop 57,000 cows a day being slaughtered and going through the golden gates of just one fast food chain, or turn the Earth’s thermostat down as easily as I turned down the one in my own house to save resources, but I do know that I can use the vote Emily and other women fought for me to have. No vote is a wasted vote. And if the choice is hope over fear, then there is only one choice.