The vegan journey of Maui musician-publisher-activist-philosopher Carlos Garcia began about 16 years ago in Los Angeles. “While distributing free magazines, I found an advertisement for a Music and Healthy Food Festival,” he recalls. “It looked good, so I volunteered.” To avoid turning off people, the festival wasn’t advertised as a vegan event, but it was.
Through the festival Carlos met another volunteer, Shaun Monson, the writer and director of the film Earthlings. Narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, Earthlings used hidden cameras and rare footage to expose the cruelty of the exploitation of animals for profit. “I hadn’t given much thought to veganism before the festival, but shortly after the festival we were invited to view an early cut of Earthlings, I went vegan during the film,” Carlos recalls. “I was done. There was no way I was going to support that abuse.”
A few years later Carlos made another big change. One day in 2007 he was stuck in Los Angeles traffic, and it took over an hour to go three quarters of a mile. This was the last straw. Carlos had enjoyed past visits to Maui and decided to make a permanent move. Within weeks after his arrival, everything began to fall into place. For over a decade Carlos has been a stalwart of the Maui vegan scene, organizing events, developing projects, building community, playing drums for many local and international musicians and spreading the vegan word.
Perhaps Carlos’ best known creation is Living Aloha Magazine. Founded in 2014, the print and online publication serves as “a guide to health-conscious living for individuals, the community and the planet.”
“People all over the world relate to the concept of living aloha,” he explains. “I am looking for advertisers and financial backing to help Living Aloha grow strong throughout Hawaii and extend to the mainland,” Carlos notes. “With funding to expand the publication, we can help people grow more conscious about what they are eating and make a lot of changes worldwide.”
“I want Living Aloha to become a mainstream publication with a strong vegan message. Not many people go from McDonald’s to reading VegNews, but, attracted to topics like health, massage and natural foods, they might go from McDonald’s to Living Aloha,” he reasons. “Once you’ve got their attention, you can introduce vegan themes about protecting the environment and being happy without meat and dairy products. Each issue of Living Aloha features a vegan section that grabs your heart.
“There are beautiful things about the Hawaiian concept of aloha – taking care of the land and taking care of yourself and your loved ones,” Carlos reflects. “The one thing missing to make it truly aloha is veganism. Once you make an animal bleed to death for a meal, you are losing aloha. If you really want to practice true aloha, add the compassion of veganism and share it with the world.”
Carlos envisions a second vehicle for sharing, a Living Aloha Center on Maui. This health-music-dance complex with all-vegan restaurants and shops would include consulting on diet, lifestyle and cooking.
To achieve true aloha, activism is essential, Carlos believes. “Waste products from millions of cows pollute thousands of miles of rivers and oceans. And driven by ruthless, disgusting corporate short-term thinking for profit, companies like Monsanto try to destroy healthy soil and control all the food production. This is not aloha. We have to get rid of all of it.”
If you are interested in getting involved, Carlos welcomes volunteers with publishing experience to write articles or develop advertising sales. Carlos may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310-488-1911.