About

Charlotte Stephanie Malerich (that’s me) works and writes near the District of Columbia. I live with one human and two rescued rabbits who would like you to go vegan.

Writing

Mainly, I write long fiction that can be broadly classified as fantasy.  That’s for a few reasons.  1) Folklore and mythology strongly influence my work.  2) I like physics and chemistry but some of the finer points escape me and it’s easier to just write “it’s magic” than “Once fission was initiated, the neutrons from the fission of the rod combined with the lithium-deuterate to produce tritium and deuterium. The high temperatures and pressures caused the deuterium and tritium to fuse, which produced helium, high heat, X-rays and neutrons; the bomb exploded and released heat, X-rays and neutrons.”

And 3) I do not like the world as it is. Writing imaginatively lets me think through how it might be different. Gender, race, class, and species come up a lot in my writing, subtly or overtly. So I write fantasy because stories are “objects to think with,” and, because stories (if nothing else) are enjoyable, they are healthy and creative and easy ways for human beings to relate to one another and the world around us.

Veganism

What is “vegan,” you ask?

To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, a vegan is a decent human being.

The most obvious mark of a vegan is dietary: a vegan eats an entirely plant-based diet, which means no animal flesh (including fish, Catholics), dairy, eggs, honey, or any other by-product derived from animal sources.  In addition, a vegan wears no animal products like fur or leather, and avoids other products which come from animal sources, as well as products that are plant-based but are tested on animals.

Some people choose a vegan diet for their health.  Some choose a vegan diet because it’s more environmentally sustainable than other diets.  Or people choose a vegan diet because it just tastes better.  All of these are valid reasons for eating vegan food.

At its heart, however, veganism is an ethical standpoint: an expression of respect for animal rights/interests.  Ethical vegans recognize that every sentient being has interests that deserve to be respected, most importantly an interest in living, and living without pain and without suffering.  Animals are sentient: they have nervous systems, they experience pain and emotions like fear, anxiety, and pleasure.  Humans and other animals are alike in this way; plants, bacteria, and viruses are different.  So vegans choose a lifestyle that conforms to this basic truth by refusing to take part in activities (like eating them) that violate animals’ rights.

An ethical vegan, by the way, also ought to recognize that humans are animals, and oppose violations of another human being’s rights as much as s/he opposes violations of a cow, chicken, or fish’s rights.

From my perspective, veganism is also an anti-exploitation stance.  Exploitation, very simply, is the use of a person’s body, labor, activity, etc., without just restitution.  In moral terms, if I use you as a means to my own end, that is exploitation.  I have treated you as an object, not a person, with ends and interests of your own.  This is a problem for individual rights (because an object has no recognized rights) as well as for social structures that define some people (human or not) as exploitable.  Vegans ought to oppose not only speciesism (the systemic exploitation of people based on their species, just as racism is the systemic exploitation of people based on their race) but also all exploitative systems, like patriarchy, slavery, and capitalism.

None of this is easy.  But it is sensitive and sensible.

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6 Comments »

  1. Hi, more of a question than a comment. I’ve read this, https://csmalerich.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/vegan-catholic.pdf and wondered if you are still a practicing Catholic. I am a vegan Catholic and found your article very encouraging especially with so much opposition in the church. Many thanks.

    • csmalerich Said:

      Hi Sharon,

      It’s interesting you ask, because I’ve been thinking about posting something about this. The short answer is, I am no longer Catholic and I consider myself an atheist. That said, I do appreciate your comment and I’m glad the article is helpful for you — because I do think vegans need as much support as we can get.

      Cheers,
      Charlotte

  2. Sharon Said:

    Hi Charlotte,

    Thank you for getting back to me. I guess I am not surprised that you left the church. There are so many of the dogmas that I find hard to swallow. Including the, ‘Body and blood of Christ’. I don’t think it is the place for me either.

    Best wishes,
    Sharon

    • csmalerich Said:

      Yes, the Church leaders do not make it easy for progressive folks to stay, though I can imagine some people on the other side saying the same thing. I think I stopped going to church because I stopped feeling I needed it. I found community and connections in other ways.

      Have you read Zealot by Reza Aslan? That was helpful for me. It’s a very clear look at Jesus as a historical person. It clarified for me that Jesus was in fact the kind of person I would very much like to support and model myself after (minus the Jewish nationalism); it also clarified for me that Jesus is not unique in that regard, which I find even more hopeful that imagining him as a once-in-two-millenia, god-on-earth kind of guy. There are lots of people who have spoken up about injustice, in solidarity with the poorest and most marginalized people, and sparked social movements. Having role models isn’t quite the same as having faith in a god, but for me, it’s a surer foundation for life and much more adaptable to a changing universe than organized religion.

      All best to you!

  3. Sharon Said:

    Hi Charlotte,

    I have read ‘No God but God’ by Reza Aslan and watched lectures by him. He is very good! I will try and get a copy of Zealot. I too believe Jesus is worth imitating/following, as is Thich Nhat Hanh, the vegan Buddhist who founded the Mindfulness Center – Plumb Village, in France. It is such a great example of how the world could be. And as you say there have been, and are many others, though not all get there names in the head lines or are worshiped as God.

    Great talking to you,
    Take care,
    Sharon

  4. thatssojacob Said:

    Hello Charlotte! I’ve decided to read and follow 10 interesting and new blogs a day every day of May 2015, and yours is today’s #7! Feel free to come visit me when you can at http://www.thatssojacob.wordpress.com, and follow if you like what you read. Happy blogging!


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