Vegan Boots and Happy Feet

28 02 2009

The Kiowa Vegan XCRThere are good-quality, leather-free shoes and boots available in the marketplace. Many of us have been wearing them for years. But many still believe sturdy boots need to be leather and make this concession in their otherwise animal-friendly lifestyle. Well, the options are out there and I’m going to proudly support one of them right now.

I said goodbye to my old vegan work boots (No Bull from Pangea) last week. Made entirely from cotton and synthetics, they held up to a lot of abuse from me for six years, but, feeling a draft on my toes, it was time to search for a new pair. My search took me quickly to Garmont – a company so proud of their animal-product-free boot alternatives that they went ahead and named them The Vegans. For a sturdy, all-around work boot, they sell the Kiowa Vegan, with a goretex lined option for all weather wear. And for a lighter hiking shoe, they sell the Nagevi Vegan, also available with an all-weather option.

Are they hard to find? Not at all. A quick search of their website ( led me to three locations very close to me. So I happily made my way into Robinson’s Outdoor Store in Victoria, BC, where the well-versed staff were happy to fit me with a new pair of Kiowa Vegan XCRs.

Cost-wise, there is no difference between these animal-friendly options and their mainstream counterparts. If you still cringe at the cost of a good-quality pair of boots or shoes, just remember how your purchase affects you and your world in the long run. A good boot will last at least twice as long as its cheap, box-store counterpart, and – in the case of Garmont’s Vegans – you’ll be lessening your impact on other species while proving a point that we can all affect change with our choices. There is great power in our wallets.

How do I like my new boots? I’m loving them! I spend a lot of time in the woods and these boots are light-weight and very sturdy.

Wait! I just heard the chuckle of the hardened construction worker who doubts that the Kiowa Vegan will stand up to the impact of a backhoe inadvertently running over his or her toes. It might not, my friend, but I have an animal-friendly option for you, too. Check out this high-top, steel-toed option from Moo Shoes ( This boot has been standing up to all sorts of wear and tear for years without giving an inch in its stance for animal welfare. You can absolutely kiss leather boots good-bye.

So here’s to happy feet for everyone!



Cows, Cars & Climate Change

31 01 2009

What’s the number one way you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and do your part to tackle climate change for us and our animal friends?


Drive less – right?


Wrong! The average family car – by most estimates – produces the equivalent of between 4 and 5 tons of CO2 (carbon dioxide) annually. Let’s go with the higher number to be on the safe side. Google it, do your own research if you like, but for now we’ll go with 5 tons of climate-altering fossil fuels being pumped into our atmosphere for every single car on the road.


So what could be worse than that? The answer – unbelievable to many – is meat production. Producing – and, therefore, eating – meat takes a much harder toll on the environment than driving your family car.


How is this possible? Let’s break it down:


• A pound of beef requires three-quarters of a gallon of oil to produce it. By the time a beef cow reaches its adult weight of over 1200 lbs., it will have “consumed” 283 gallons of oil, producing 2.8 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions over 5 years.


• Its manure will produce 20 lbs. of nitrous oxide (N2O) annually, a greenhouse gas that is 296 times more powerful than CO2.


• Its digestive system will produce 285 lbs. of methane (CH4) annually, a greenhouse gas that is 23 times more powerful than CO2.


• When you add these together, a beef cow will produce 6.8 tons of CO2 equivalent a year, considerably more than the average family car.


• The average meat eater is responsible for 3.8 tons of CO2 equivalent a year from eating beef.


And let’s step aside from climate change comparisons for a moment and look at three other key ways meat-eating impacts our environment:


• 90% of the packaging used in meat production is not recycled.


• A pound of beef requires 2,500 gallons of water to produce it, leading to water depletion. The Ogallala aquifer is losing 13 trillion gallons of water a year; some wells in Northwest Texas are already running dry.


• The waste from a cow, which is 130 times greater than it is from a human, often contaminates water systems and soil with disease-bearing organisms.


So, if you’re going to be a climate change activist, start right where it counts the very most – on your dinner plate. Eat less, or no, meat.1105174539_df02fbf370


5 10 2008

Welcome to Building An Ark, a site companion to the book ‘Building An Ark: 101 Solutions to Animal Suffering‘. This site, like the book, is dedicated to promoting easy, tangible and positive actions to help end animal suffering.