Sandworms and Spice: Being Vegan on Dune

4 min read

Welcome, fellow travelers of Arrakis! In a universe filled with sandworms, spice, and intrigue, one might wonder, Can one still uphold compassionate values amid the tumultuous sands of Dune? Fear not, for we shall embark on a journey through the desert, armed with stillsuits and spice, to uncover the secrets of being vegan in the Dune universe.

The Vegan Path in a Desert World

Arrakis, or Dune, is a planet where water is more precious than gold and the flora and fauna have adapted in fascinating ways to the harsh environment. For a vegan traveler in this universe, the key to sustenance lies in understanding and respecting these adaptations.

The first step to vegan survival on Dune is to embrace the local plant life. Despite the scarcity of water, some resilient plants have carved out a niche in this harsh world. Xerophytic plants, which have adapted to conserve water, can provide nourishment. These might include the fictional “Arrakeen cacti,” capable of storing moisture in their thick leaves, or the “spice melange” plants, which, in moderation, offer unique flavors and nutrition without harming the ecosystem.

Kangaroo Mice: The Clever Foragers

It’s no wonder that a powerful warrior, Paul Atreides, would choose his Fremen name Muad’Dib after the strong and resourceful kangaroo mouse. Observing their ingenious survival tactics, such as using their big ears to collect water to drink, can teach us much about sustainable foraging and living in harmony with the land. Eating the kangaroo mouse diet of seeds and desert plants can guide you to nutritious sources that require minimal environmental impact.

The Perils of Harvesting Sandworm Bile

In Dune: Part Two, stealing sandworm bile, the bright blue liquid called “the Water of Life,” is fraught with danger. Not only is it a violation of the sacred bond between the Fremen and the sandworms, it also unleashes untold chaos upon the desert. Let us heed the lessons of the past and refrain from such folly. Instead, let us honor the sandworms as guardians of the spice and stewards of the desert, ensuring that their bodies remain undisturbed beneath the sands.

Sandworms Aren’t Taxis

In the annals of Arrakis, riding sandworms not only disrupts the delicate balance of the desert ecosystem but also risks angering the mysterious forces that govern the sands. Instead, let us marvel at the sandworms from afar, honoring their role as guardians of the desert.


Using Our Language to Respect Our Fellow Animals—Including Humans

In Dune: Part Two, the Harkonnens call the Fremen “rats”—well, we think there is no greater compliment! The Harkonnens’ derogatory use of the term is a call to action for us to challenge our perceptions of and biases against other beings, no matter the species. The Harkonnen mislabeling of the Fremen as another animal species inadvertently highlights a fundamental truth: All of us share a common bond. By recognizing that every animal is someone and living in a way that honors everyone’s rights, we move closer to a world in which labels of division give way to bridges of empathy and understanding.


In the first Dune reboot, Gaius Helen Mohiam says to Paul, “An animal caught in a trap will gnaw off its own leg to escape,” a testament to their survival skills. Here on Earth, we can help animals whom hunters trap and kill by never buying fur or any other animal-derived material. In Dune: Part Two, Paul Atreides references the Bene Gesserit’s comment, saying, “Die like an animal,” when he kills [spoiler] at the end. It’s a device to show he’s not a perfect leader. But we can all learn from our mistakes. Whether a kangaroo mouse, a sandworm, or a human, all animals deserve respect and freedom from exploitation.


Sustainable Living on Dune

Being vegan on Dune is about more than just food—it’s a holistic approach to minimizing one’s impact on the planet’s delicate ecosystem. Conserving water, adopting renewable energy sources like wind or solar (harnessing the power of the relentless desert sun), and supporting local, sustainable spice production can contribute to a harmonious existence on Arrakis.

So let us tread lightly on the sands of Arrakis, extending our kindness to all beings, from the smallest desert mouse to the great Shai-Hulud, as we navigate the stars guided by universal compassion. Let’s bring that compassion back to Earth, where most of us live on terrain much kinder than the stormy, turbulent desert. Unlock humanity’s fullest potential by respecting all of our fellow animals by not eating them, riding them, or stealing their body parts.

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