Cheerful, with a ribbon in her hair - an exclamation point of togetherness on the top of the world. Her demeanor radiates gently. Like glowing flower petals floating to the ground, she plants a soft and shimmering trail to follow. While her distinctive Australian accent dictates her place of birth and residence, she is a woman of the earth, a gatherer of positive people, a leader of the world community. She is Leigh-Chantelle.
Originally, I planned to interview Leigh-Chantelle and publish a feature before her appearance at the 2013 Anti-Fur Society Animal Rights Conference, but something inside me said, I want to meet her in-person first. There’s something especially extraordinary I am meant to discover, learn, and share beyond our long-distance communication.
Good things come to those who wait, watch, listen, and allow the puzzle pieces to come together into a more complete picture, a deeper understanding.
At home, Leigh-Chantelle spends time with friends who are family and family who are friends. She follows her Australian Football League (AFL) team the Brisbane Lions, reads, swims laps in the pool, enjoys the beach, karaoke, and reality television.
From far away, author, blogger, international speaker, singer/songwriter, and Founder of the Green Earth Group and Viva la Vegan, Leigh-Chantelle wrote to me, “I love networking and meeting other people, road trips, and adventures.”
In-person, her written words chime with truth, “I try to lead by example to spread love, peace and compassion.”
At the conference, Leigh-Chantelle conveyed an extremely important, underlying, yet sometimes forgotten message, “Australia experiences the same animal rights issues as everywhere else in the world.”
As Leigh-Chantelle spoke of Australian rabbit farms in the food industry, the devastation of the Koala populations because of habitat destruction and the fur trade, sheep tail docking, castration, and mulesing (the removal of strips of wool-bearing skin from around a sheep’s buttocks) in the wool clothing industry, and the “nuisance wildlife” classification of Australia’s native Kangaroo, which permits hunting, the parallels jumped right out.
We may feel alone or isolated, but we are not. Leigh-Chantelle assures us, “You can do things by yourself today.”
“Veganism is easy, nutritious, tribe-building, and most of all, the best thing you can do to promote peace, love and compassion. Our vegan tribe continues to plant seeds of vegan evolution.”
Her pursuit to encompass all beliefs and skills together, mirrors her personal endeavor, which is also her community endeavor. Her myriad talents, as an example, attracts and encourages the skill and creativity of positive individuals.
Everyone plays many roles in life, but there is always one shining and stellar attribute we can contribute to attain both our personal and community goals. The writer communicates and disseminates vital information. The musician composes and vocalizes his or her sound to the masses.
As a connector of ideas and people, Leigh-Chantelle says, “It has to matter to you.”
“Many people make decisions based on what society, parents, teachers, religions, government, and media tells them is the best thing to do,” Leigh-Chantelle says. “Rights and ethics for most people are controlled by others outside of themselves. Until this is changed, people will still make the same sort of decisions.”
“Trust your instincts no matter what everyone else is doing and saying.”
“If we all can focus on our strengths and common ground instead of our differences, then our tribe is stronger and the focus is on vegan education instead of egos, drama, and splintered factions.” Leigh-Chantelle concludes, “I believe it can be done.”
Yes, I believe it can be done. The greatest step we can take is to look after each other and support one another.
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