|Board Member Spotlight on Keith Iding|
|March 1, 2012|
We're excited to feature Keith Iding, a truly thoughtful and compassionate board member. Thanks for all that you do, Keith!
Q: Can you describe your path to a plant-based diet?
A: When I was a kid, no one I knew talked about vegetarians. It just wasnít on the radar, but I definitely did not care for meat with bones and veins and stuff showing. I identified with
animals, thought they were all my friends, but the reality then was that you had to eat meat to
be healthy. I remember as a teen that I had an album by the Association, and a band member,
Gary Alexander, was described on the back cover as not eating meat. I was amazed at that
disclosure and the idea was planted that one might not need it to survive.
In my 20's I joined a study group that included some older lifelong vegetarians, people in their
70ís and 80ís, and they were looking and sounding pretty good. That was when I decided to
give it a try - I had dinner with a vegetarian friend and his wife, and they shared their favorite
recipes and sources to get me going. I actually never looked back, just proudly stuck to the
change, because I didnít have to feel guilty any more. Then I struggled with the idea of milk
and cheese and eggs, and whether they had nutritional or ethical validity. I decided that it
was more important to be consistent with my values and I went vegan almost 20 years ago, in
time to make that a lifestyle by the time my son came along. We raised him vegan and he has
always been a healthy looking example, big and strong for his age. Going plant based has been
nothing but positive.
Q: How did you first get involved with Northwest VEG?
A: The first NW VEG event I attended was the VegFest held downstairs at First Unitarian Church.
That place was impressively crowded, great attendance. Howard Lyman was one of the guest
speakers and I took lots of photos. I was already a vegan and a member of that church, so I felt
inspired. When I learned that NW VEG sponsored regular potlucks, that was like finding lost
relatives. NW VEG came to my rescue when they chose that venue for their ever more popular
VegFest event, and I looked for ways to contribute and get more involved.
Q: What are the key responsibilities that you have taken on as a Board Member?
A: I see myself as a reinforcement to try to help keep things balanced 'across the Board.' As a
basic role, I try to be there for tabling vacancies, and to support activities I believe in. For
instance, I really like the book discussion groups, so, I offered to help manage the online
presence and to assure that we have a meeting place and a moderator. I also like being
involved in the monthly dineouts, so I am now involved in the planning and helping with
arrangements and tracking participation. I am looking forward to helping to expand both of
those activities. I also try to weigh in during discussions around votes, to highlight what I see as
key points worth consideration.
My main interest with NW VEG is to try to help get the message out. I am trained in video
production and photography, so I thought those were skills to bring forward. Guest speakers at
NW VEG events are experts who can best define the cultural change we support. When I see a
packed room of 50 people witnessing a persuasive talk, I feel a strong need to try to expand the
audience. I enjoy trying to capture the message and share it. These days the Internet gives us
previously unimagined connectivity to the rest of the world, and I have tracked the viewers of
what we post on our media page from all over the world. I also have set up cable TV interviews
to help promote our events and attract new members and volunteers.
Q: What is your favorite thing about Northwest VEG?
A:I really like the way NW VEG has rallied around its principles. We know what we are about;
defining the change that we all agree is necessary for real future sustainability, for improving
human health through dietary change, for improving the lives of animals by respecting their
identities as evolved beings just like us, and for reducing our destructive impacts on the world
through less animal agriculture. We are on a mission, we know it, and all the facts are with us.
I also like the people in NW VEG. I feel like they are all family. We are united by a common
purpose and we share a lifestyle of caring and respect. This is not just a group who sponsors
dining events. We believe, along with others all over the world, that we are tied to bringing a
message of essential change, and we try to do this in the best ways we can imagine and carry
out. Our strength is that we can accomplish so much more than any one individual.
Q: Anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
A: Our time is certainly a defining moment for the future. The planet is awash in people. Our
combined appetite and our sense of purpose will decide the true sustainability. I just came
back from a public meeting promoting solar energy use. We heard about incredibly huge Asian
populations and about how the future depends on our willingness to let go of fossil fuels. We
went through an itemized energy audit so we could all be aware of our individual contributions
to global warming. The impact of diet was never mentioned, even though animal agriculture
accounts for more global warming than all transportation combined, uses 3/4 of the worldís
fertile lands, produces most of the water and airborne organic pollution, and requires more
than 10 times the water use needed to support a vegan diet. Our culture has a blind spot when
faced with those details, and our media is unlikely to enlighten us because everything seems
to be about money and profit. Itís really up to us as individuals to live by what we see as truth.
Thatís why I encourage anyone reading this to align with NW VEG and join our family to change
the future one life at a time.
I would also like to extend an invitation to anyone who wants to help with recording our events
or planning new ways to share media and promote our educational agenda.
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