How to be a positive vegan and help our planet

Rosa-Maria Reinprecht’s philosophy, she explains to us, is this: “Live aligned with your emotions. Live aligned with your wishes, hopes and dreams. Do what you think really will make you happy. Give it a try. Be passionate. Be too much. Be too excited. Be too loving. Be too kind. I think, you know, that's the most important thing.”

It’s clear to anyone who’s lucky enough to cross Rosa’s path that she practices what she preaches. Rosa lives a vegan lifestyle in Vienna, Austria and has travelled to permaculture properties to gain insight into how we can better look after our planet. And, as if we didn’t already think she’s just incredible, she’s even baked organic, vegan banana muffins to share with us during the interview.

Rosa went vegan in April 2017.

Rosa’s veganism comes from a positive, compassionate place

“It doesn't come from a restricting myself place, or a ‘I wanna be so strict’ or a ‘I want to be the right person’ place.” Explains Rosa. “It comes for the world. It comes for the animals.”

“Life is so much more beautiful as a vegan. The joy of doing what you want to do is so much bigger than the joy of pleasing people. Pleasing our society.”
“Just look into your soul and try to see what truly brings you so much joy.” Rosa chuckles as she follows up. “And then you'll be vegan.”

But her perception of veganism wasn’t always so positive

“I always had this connection in my mind. I associated being vegan with being very extreme.”

“Like: ‘Being like vegetarian is okay but vegan is so weird.’ But then after a while, after thinking about it, I made this click in my mind.”

“I was like: ‘No. It’s actually so not weird. What we're doing is weird. That we're eating meat. That we're eating eggs and milk and all that.’”

Positivity oozes off Rosa. It’s refreshing considering the political, environmental and animal welfare landscapes, that Rosa has incredible awareness of.

We ask Rosa what she might say to herself before she was a vegan

She considers the question carefully, before replying.

“I would tell myself to think outside of the box. Because all of our lives we’ve been told: ‘Eating meat is super normal. Eating eggs is making you happy. Milk is making you happy.’

“But,” Rosa sighs. “It’s actually not. And the whole is the industry is so messed up.”

We can hear the frustration and upset in Rosas voice as she goes on. “And, like, there's nothing beautiful about milking a cow with a machine or cutting a cow up. There's nothing beautiful or normal about that.”

“You know what's extreme? It’s extreme to slaughter animals. That’s extreme. And it’s not extreme to eat a lot of peas. To eat a lot of spinach. That makes you happy. You know, to eat good foods. To eat colourful foods. Like there's nothing extreme about that.”

“Just think. Just twist your thoughts. Just don’t follow what everyone else tells you.”

“You just have to feel what's right for you. What does your body tell you? What does your heart tell you? Where do you want to go?”

Veganism has sparked both happiness and anger in Rosa

“I feel more emotions, I think, now I’m vegan. I don’t always feel happier, because I see more what's going on wrong in the world. I see more things I want to change.”

“But I feel happier when I eat. I feel happier when I buy good food. I feel happier when I go shopping and do my food.”

“I love buying good vegetables. That makes me really happy to eat something where I know no-one suffered from it.”

“It also makes me more angry being vegan. I can’t lie. I get frustrated and sad. To see that so many people still eat meat everyday. That they still drink milk everyday. That makes me more angry and unhappy. But within myself I feel more happy.”

Rosa needs others to see what’s happening to animals

“I got more into activism through Instagram. I watched a lot of interviews and then I got, all of a sudden, really frustrated. I felt the need to change the world.”

“I felt the need to make other people see. To make them see what I was seeing. What I felt was wrong. I wanted them to see that as well. Like: 'Let's all go vegan NOW!’

“And I still feel like that, but I felt it really strongly at the time. I tried to convince my mum my brother my friends. I talked a lot about vegan stuff.”

Her opinions about choosing kindness over convenience are pretty powerful

“Another frustration for me is about our way of thinking. As humans, a priority for us is our convenience.”

“We as humans feel like we have this right, this privilege to feel super comfortable all the time.”

“We have this argument of like: 'Yeah, I tried to be vegan but my store next door doesn't have soy milk,'” Rosa does a dramatic sigh as part of her impersonation. “'You know, I have to buy the cows milk. That's just how it is. You know? Because sometimes I just want to have my milk, you know? I just want to have my coffee, you know? I'm just human.'”

“I'm not saying we all have to be perfect. But I think we all have to prioritise what is important to us. Don't take convenience over your own ethics or morals.”

“I think it's an excuse for so many things. ‘I just want to have my tuna. I just want to have my burger. You know I just love meat, you know? That's just what I love.’

“I think it’s really sad. I don't think we're getting anywhere with that, with making excuses all the time. Why can't we as humans just do something? If you want to have a beautiful thriving planet to live on. Let's do it.”
“I think it’s important to live aligned with your morals and with the feelings inside you. Don't let convenience hold you back.”

Our conversation pauses here for a second. What Rosa is talking about hits a nerve, and we’re both stopping to think.

“We can't be perfect all the time,” Rosa acknowledges. “And you know, that's important too. But I think it's happening way to often.”

She wants everyone to pull together for a better world

“My highest priority is to have the lowest impact. It’s to save our planet. I see veganism as this beautiful thing. But, you know, now I see the big picture.”

“I don't want to focus on people making small mistakes in their veganism. That bothered me a lot in the past year. But now I want to see people eating less meat. I want to see people drinking less milk. I want to see how we can change as a whole.”

“There is a lot of people want to go, and are going, the same way. But they don’t connect. I would love for us to connect together.”

“To go together forward to, you know, a better world we wish to have. I want to see people doing that more rather than disconnecting.”

She’s been channeling her frustration into activism

“What depresses me the most is that activism is seen as a hobby. Like in a group of friends there’s one person who cares about the animals and the environment. And you know,” Rosa impersonates: “'That's so cute but like that’s her little hobby. But we’re the realistic people. We do the money. We care about the world because we know how things work.’

“I'm the one who always wants to do activism. It frustrates me that this isn't priority number one for everyone. I think it should be.”

“We prioritise money. We prioritise economy. We priorities materialistic stuff, having a wealthy life, over sustaining our earth. Sustaining our home. And thats whats really frustrating.”

“In politics, climate change isn't priority number one. And it's never priority number one.”

“How is it legal to destroy our home? That’s just blowing my mind. That's what frustrates me most.”

“I can't believe how politicians, how people who have the power to do so much, don't do anything. But like destroy everything. And they know everything.”

“They know how bad it is. They know how destructive it is, what they're doing. Of course they know. But they're not doing anything. And that’s, it’s for me, it’s like incredibly, I really don't understand how …” again, Rosas frustration is clear. “How is it is not rule number one always always always always first to save our planet.”

Rosa is a beacon of hope, staying positive in the face of it all

“I think everyone, every person, as soon as they get connected with nature can feel within themselves what they want. They feel,” she pauses. “They feel how beautiful our world could be.”

“I feel so hopeful. I feel we're all fighting for the same thing at the end.”

“We all want to live. We all want to have a good life. We all want to have good friends. We want to have a community around us that supports us. We all want to, you know, have a great life. Be loved. Love others. That's what we all want.”

“Of course we get distracted from that. But that's what we all want as humans. That's what I truly believe.”

“We're so not connected to nature anymore. Not at all. I mean, we’re thinking about buying air from somewhere else. That's a thing. To buy air to be healthy. I mean that's the craziest thing ever.”

“We don't feel what our hearts really want. I think when you do that. If you're able to do that, then I think we all want the same.”

“We all want a beautiful world around us that grows. I think that is really possible.”

When it comes down to it, she believes in community and humanity

“I think so many problems we're having are due to lack of community and lack of connection to nature. And connection to like to see who we are. To see why we are on this planet.”

“Everyone needs someone behind their back, you know. A safe place to live in.”

“It's important for humans to see that we’re not just destructive. That we're not these animals on the planet that only do bad.”

“It's important to know that, as humans, we have a big responsibility and play a big part on our earth. It's so important to know and to see.”

“I think what you're supposed to do, as a human, is to care for the people around you. And care for the world. And be kind and be loving.”

“This is what gives me so much hope.”

As we say goodbye to Rosa, her hopefulness has rubbed off on us. We’re left, despite covering a lot of pretty heavy topics, feeling just a little bit lighter. With hope for our planet. And a little bit less alone.

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