Eugenia Chow, a young environmentalist and the proud founder of @vegan.hk which aims to show people that being vegan in Hong Kong is possible!
Why did you turn vegan?
Eugenia: It was last May 2017, when I was finally enlightened to the harsh realities of animal agriculture and the simple steps I could do to “be the change [I] wish to see in the world”. My school ran a two-week programme for students to learn more about our society through engaging with issues that extend beyond the classroom. I thought I made the mistake of selecting the strand of Cultural Preservation (I found that my appreciation towards cultural heritage in Hong Kong began to diminish as opposed to grow), but just as everything seems to happens for a reason, it was during this period of time that I finally exposed myself to the abundance of documentaries that detail the commonly disregarded problem of factory farming.
Starting with Cowspiracy, I was first educated about the sheer amount of energy required and waste created through the process of raising, slaughtering, and transporting beef. To state some quick facts, “animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions – more than the combined exhaust from all transportation” and “agriculture is responsible for 80-90% of water consumption in the United States”. The majority of the world’s crops are used to feed animals that are slaughtered for human benefit, whereas these crops could be used to feed the starving population instead. I was shocked at the colossal amount of damage I was causing towards the environment just by maintaining a ‘regular’ diet, and I was revolted at the idea that I was contributing towards both human and animal suffering. After plummeting into this rabbit hole of ‘reality-TV’, I was instantly washed over by a wave of guilt. However, it was the powerful visuals from Earthlings that gave me the final push towards veganism.
Was it hard to transition into a vegan diet?
Eugenia: My transition into veganism was almost instant, and I have not craved the taste of meat since. My love for nature, the Earth, and animals, and my desire to nourish myself with things that make me feel healthy and happy made veganism a simple and obvious choice. It would not be genuine if I claimed all this without putting my words into action, therefore, my reasons for turning vegan are: everything. Although challenging at first, the challenge is what makes it so exciting for me to discover new places that offer vegan food, and it is what drives me to explore new restaurants and share them through social media. I try not to be “preachy” about my veganism to those prefer to consume meat, but I am overjoyed whenever I meet someone who shares the same beliefs. I am constantly amazed at how supportive the vegan community is, and it is a regular reminder of how proud I am to be a part of it!