It was very happy to see today that Tesla is now offering a vegan-friendly model of its cars, primarily meaning no leather.
Not that I’m about to rush out and buy one anytime soon (you can get a leather-free Subaru for quite a bit less). But it’s gratifying to see people with means pressuring luxury automakers to rethink “luxury” automobiles. Kudos to Leilani Münter (pictured above) for using her sway as professional racecar driver to ask Elon Musk to offer this option. Before her, Mark and Elizabeth Peters, shareholders of Tesla, presented their request for a vegan model at a shareholders meeting. These voices made a difference. Not that leather-free Teslas are going to singlehandedly put an end to the horrific leather industry, but this positive action might get people thinking about how they view leather — something we don’t usually think about.
Leather has long been synonymous with luxury — whereas in reality, it is synonymous with cruelty. And the leather industry is notoriously rough on the environment. So while I’d love to see Tesla, as an environmentally friendly company, remove the leather option entirely, these things take time — and this is an important first step.
What will the world look like when leather is no longer viewed as a luxury material but as something tragic and sad? When environmentalists realize that wearing leather (or getting this option in your electric car) is anything but helpful to the environment?
That day will come. For more and more of us, it has already arrived — and the more we see positive actions like this, the more awareness will spread.