I hope to be a 5-star human

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Photo by Mel Elías on Unsplash.

Many of us have experienced the rating systems of ride apps like Uber and Lyft. Living in Arizona, my name became a joke in 2016 when I worked as “Phoenix Huber the Phoenix Uber driver.”

I just had to ensure my driving wasn’t a joke — and stay above 4.6 stars. Bribing passengers with free gum wasn’t going to cut it.

Pressure to measure up follows us many places besides work — school, social media, even family. With humans constantly watching to see how well you do, it got me thinking… What if animals left you a review?

There’s less accountability in our relationships with animals. (Maybe unless you’re a professional animal caretaker?) We generally don’t feel anywhere near the same social pressure to treat animals with high standards. …

This may be an unpopular opinion among my left-wing peers

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Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

It wasn’t just theatre school, San Francisco, or the media that made me frustrated with certain aspects of a staunch left-wing outlook on life. When I wrote 3 Liberal Things that Annoy Me as a Liberal, I was also thinking of the animal rights movement.

A 2018 Gallop poll said there were 5.5 vegetarian liberals for every 1 veg conservative. The ratio for vegans was 2.5 to 1. Moderates, too, were far less likely to be veg*n than those of us on the left.

Given the nature of groups, it’s no surprise the animal movement seemed even more liberal than that. With a big left-wing majority, the conservative vegans I met surely felt shy about sharing their politics. …

I was determined to thrive on a slaughter-free diet, so I asked how

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Photo by Graph Wyatt on Unsplash

I went through a change when I was about 12. After dissecting a squid in science class and visiting animal rights sites, I never saw creatures the same again.

They weren’t here for us to eat or use. Pigs existed to enjoy their lives, just like a dog or any conscious life form wants to. I might have superior intellect to a fish, but they deserved protection and consideration too.

Yes, nature was cruel and animals had to eat each other. But modern human civilization was about using our knowledge and kindness to make life nicer than it would be in nature. …

You may feel ecological, humanitarian, or animal sorrow that cuts deep

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Photo by David White on Unsplash

Grief. I recall studying its stages when my mom had died of cancer. But grief does not only pertain to losing a loved one. Grief arises even in our relationships with far-off, unknown people and animals — and with Earth itself.

I already knew we were unified by personal loss. I’d thought less about “global grief” — how the world’s woes, too, weighs on us all. Here are just a few forms you may have experienced:

  • Ecological grief: over climate change and environmental devastation
  • National or cultural grief: about the state of a nation, community, or people in conflict
  • Humanitarian grief: we grieve hunger, disease, homelessness, and natural disasters that blight our fellow…

You’ll love the heated debate between Noah and Huberto (will you?)

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Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Candid Café

by Phoenix Huber

2021 Prologue

Hey, everybody! So this old stageplay I wrote in college has been sitting in my Google Drive gathering DUST. It’s a story about 4 unsuspecting strangers who meet in a café. They all somehow wind up having this loooooooong, intense discussion about veganism! That’s the lifestyle and philosophy where people eat plant-based and try to avoid anything that harms an animal.

As you’ll see, the casting is split between a skeptical omnivore, an ex-vegan, and a new and experienced vegan. The balance of personalities should (hopefully) be funny. If not, your $0 back! …


Only slightly more original than, “If you were a fruit, you’d be a fineapple”

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Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash.

Those poor abandoned pick-up lines.

They were just sitting there. All 9 of them, in my Google Drive. For years! Like innocent pineapples stranded on a beach, waiting for someone to feed them to a vegan.

If you or someone you know is a vegan who has had as little luck in dating as I have, you’ve come to the right place!

You see, I almost hit the jackpot once. I met a sexy animal-loving electrician man. He texted me a plant-based pick-up line… and some other things. “I WANT TOFU TONIGHT,” his T-shirt read.

I was soy happy to be on the receiving end of such a delicious pun. However, I had forgotten to take my B-12 supplement for a while and couldn’t think straight. The perfect pick-up line evaded me and — alas — by the time I got back to him, he had already ditched me for some yoga girl named Lilianne. (In the stock image, Lilianne is represented by the evil sapphire blue pineapple lurking in the shadows!) …

#3: This man was silent an entire year to inspire compassion for defenseless animals

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Photo by Benjamin Wedemeyer on Unsplash

I adored animals as a child. I was unaware though that many animals were not treated as well as my dog Max. Once I found out about factory farming and other topics during my teenage years, I made a change that would shape the rest of my life — I went vegan.

Most of my encouragement to do this came from unknown internet writers, undercover investigators, and anonymous activists. They would never know how grateful I was for their work. But as I wrote previously, I was lucky enough to have met several inspirations in person!

First there was my high school English teacher, Brittany Michelson. She went on to curate Voices for Animal Liberation, a book about the stories of diverse animal advocates. At 16, I fell in literary love with the self-growth writer Steve Pavlina, who blogged about his vegan diet. Then I met a musician-painter couple, Will and Madeleine Tuttle. The two gentle souls fused their artistic talents, spreading seeds of kindness wherever they traveled! Will shared the reasons why a shift to veganism could help us create more world peace. …


I read Nina Gheihman’s guide today and — spoiler alert — it was awesome

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Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

Today I gained a new vegan-spiration in the form of Nina Gheihman. Something she did really impressed me. 1 month into her plant-based journey, she made her own booklet she could send folks when they wondered about her new lifestyle. 3 years later, she updated the booklet and posted it as a popular Medium article.

Why this inspires me is I imagine how great I would have felt if I’d done such a project myself when I started. To share information in your own words can be the fastest way to master it. Plus, you tweak your understanding based on feedback you get. …

Thanks to these kind souls, I started to find myself as an advocate for animals

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Photo by Gabriel Bassino on Unsplash

When I was little, my parents put on a documentary for me called “Amazing Animals.” I was blown away by the unique species, their beautiful colors and shapes and sounds, and the diverse ways they survived and thrived. My favorite animals growing up ranged between cheetahs, ants, pigs, a donkey I met named Jenny, moose and reindeer, our family dog Cloe, and more.

But once I became sold on animal rights and wanted to help people shift their “speciesism,” I would have cheekily told you humans were my favorite animal.

Humans are the animal who have the power to be heroes or villains to other animals on such a huge scale. …

Sometimes, strict rules help — and you can use past wins to plot your future excellence.

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Photo by Benigno Hoyuela on Unsplash

When I went vegetarian around my 12th birthday, I did it to help animals. A side effect was that it strengthened my discipline. It provided a reference experience I could look back on, to believe in my ability to change.

I know some people struggle to be veg. For whatever lucky reasons, eating meatless came easy to me. I loved all the plant food and even lost my taste for eggs and dairy. Once I left the house, I committed to eating fully vegan.

If only every habit change had been so easy! I wanted to quit binge-watching TV, for example. To write daily, and to have a healthy morning routine. Unfortunately, the bad habits I created during my teenage years felt like a gigantic ball of tangled yarn, which would take at least a decade to unravel. …


Phoenix Huber

An effusive Pollyanna and vegan trans woman. I’m passionate about making life joyful and kind. Get in touch with a private note on an article you liked.

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