Changemakers | Joanne Kong
How did we met up with Joanne?
In 2018, during the organization up until our second Green Food Fest in Jessheim, we were delighted when Dr. Joanne Kong reached out to us about the festival. Green Food Fest was a small local plant based food and inspirational festival held in the heart of Jessheim. A town not far from the Norwegian airport in Gardermoen, called Oslo Lufthavn. She and her husband Paul, flew out to join us. I don’t think we ever had met a kinder, more humble, down to earth and loving couple. Maybe us meeting was “compassionate destiny”?
Who is Joanne Kong?
Dr. Joanne Kong has been praised throughout the country as one of the most compelling advocates for plant-sourced nutrition today. Raising ethical awareness that greater compassion for animals and our planet are vitally necessary for transformative growth and positive world change. Her talks have been described as “a positive message about the way our daily choices can make the world a better place for others and for ourselves,” “making a difference and encouraging positive change to happen,” and “enlightening and provocative.”
Her highly-praised TEDx talk on veganism, at over 850,000 views on YouTube, is placed on numerous websites internationally. Kong is the author of If You’ve Ever Loved an Animal, Go Vegan. She is profiled in the groundbreaking book Legends of Change about vegan women who are changing the world. She is included in Unbound Project, a multimedia and book project that celebrates the inspiring women who have been at the forefront of animal advocacy around the globe.
Joanne does so much wonderful work and she will be contributing to our blog now and then. She also have some very interesting projects coming up, that she will share more about later. So stay tuned for that. For now, we asked Joanne some questions, because we would love for you to get to know her better. Ladies and Gentlemen, we give you the lovely Joanne Kong.
Would you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I am Dr. Joanne Kong, a university professor from the United States. I’m also a vegan and animal advocate and met Elin and André Gundersen in 2018 when they invited me to speak at their Green Food Fest in Jessheim, Norway.
There is no doubt that the movement towards the plant-based lifestyle has expanded around the globe. As people become more and more aware that a choice as seemingly simple as what they eat has major impacts upon so many things. Their health, the environment, and our sense of identity as innately compassionate beings.
Elin and André personify just how powerful this movement is. It’s taking shape at the grassroots level, from amazingly dedicated individuals who are working tirelessly to create a more peaceful and compassionate world for today and future generations.
What is your passion in life. What drives you forward?
My passion in life has always been to help and uplift others to recognize the unique gifts and powerful emotions we have as human beings. Professionally, I am a classical concertizing pianist and music has always been a means of awakening inner spirit and heartfelt feelings in my listeners.
Advocating for veganism is really about the same thing, to put all of us in touch with our spirit, to see and sense the life energy that fills all of us, our kindred animals, and the natural world. I have always felt that I needed to take on a role that is bigger than myself!
How did you end up doing what you do?
With so many challenges in the world today, I felt the need to motivate others to realize the power they have as individuals to make a difference. Any energy, our whether through thoughts or actions, become manifested in the world around us! I have been advocating for veganism, animals and the planet since around 2015, speaking and writing about the critical importance of our lifestyle choices to sustainability, health, and our identity as innately compassionate beings. I look forward to contributing to the blog as a way to share ideas and educate others!
What are your best tips for a sustainable lifestyle?
To me, a sustainable lifestyle is really about simplicity. It is about nourishing our bodies with foods as close to their natural state as possible, and staying away from processed and refined foods. It is about honoring our natural resources and not destroying them, for we are just one tiny part of an interconnected web of life. And above all it is about living with gratitude for the life we have been given, creating a kinder and gentler world through the actions we take every day.
Where do you find inspiration?
There are too many individuals to name, but I am constantly energized and motivated by all the advocates I have come to know around the globe. I am continually inspired by this famous quote by Margaret Mead:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
I am also motivated to work by knowing that we advocates must be a voice for the voiceless, the billions and billions of innocent animals who are killed. This is the most devastating cruelty and violence happening on the planet today, and despite the fact that most of the world still exploits animals, I know I must continue to strive and raise society’s awareness.
If you could give one advice all human beings, what would it be?
Move towards a plant-based diet! Every time we sit down to eat, we can make a huge difference. And remember that veganism is not just a diet, and it’s not a destination. It’s a journey in which we constantly grow, lessen the suffering of others, expand our circles of compassion, and ensure our survivability. Certainly our planet will survive, but will we?
What do you think is lacking in our communities and commercial markets today?
Sadly, human culture has grown to prioritize materialistic goals that have put us out of balance with the natural world. Rising urbanization and industrialization, the pursuit of profit and wealth, consumerism, destruction of our natural resources — all of these have created a world that is not only unsustainable, but one in which we accept, even if subconsciously, the use of force and violence against others who have an interest in living that is just as strong as our own.
On the positive side, we are seeing the tremendous growth in meat alternatives, plant-based products, cruelty-free products and fashions, and more and more people protesting animal exploitation. Consumers and industry leaders must support eco-friendly techniques such as vertical farming, hydroponics, aeroponics, veganic and regenerative agriculture, expanded greenhouse capabilities, marked reductions in chemical fertilizer use, and implement programs and policies to reduce food waste.
A new future of food that is both sustainable and compassionate is possible!
Thank you Joanne!
Is she not great? Yes, she is! We will end this blogpost with a link to another talk from Joanne: The Act of Courageous Compassion That Can Heal Our World. Watch out for upcoming blogposts from Joanne!