Just look on any social media site like Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, etc. and you may want to distance yourself from the vegan community with all the judgement, negativity, and anger many spout. I completely understand the nasty rage, I feel that sometimes when someone laughs and yells “bacon!” at me when I’m trying to explain the horrendous conditions in slaughter houses. Yet, from my experience the goal of activists should be to create the greatest change, both on an individual level and institutional, by educating others about the cruelties, health hazards, food imbalance, and environmental destruction caused by animal agriculture as well as passing laws and encouraging corporate policy changes that improve the conditions within the sector.
To do this effectively, I have found that being positive, uplifting, and addressing issues by emphasizing the benefits from changing dietary habits or actions create the most change. A negative attitude paint the movement as a dogmatic quasi-religion with angry, bitter, and crazed participants; by focusing on the positive aspects of being vegan, I notice that people are more willing to take steps in a more plant-based direction. I don’t want to condemn anyone who advocates for the animals, any effort is fantastic and may reach those who need a more direct and shocking revelation, but I’m speaking from my personal experience. This also does not mean glossing over the atrocious violence within the animal agricultural system, but rather painting a picture of change rather than doom and gloom, as seen below. Check out some ways to be an effective advocate for the animals, environment, and other people!
- Educate, don’t preach. Answer the question at hand, like if someone asks you “why don’t you eat meat?” going off about the egg, dairy, and meat industry, the environmental destruction, the food imbalance, etc. etc. may be overwhelming and incoherent. Rather, create a dialogue by keeping the response short, sweet, and engaging. “Why don’t you eat meat?” “I learned about the terrible conditions in slaughter houses, and was so happy to learn that I could opt out of supporting that industry by reducing my meat consumption and eventually cutting it out. What makes you ask?” etc. See this article for more tips and ideas!
- Watch/listen to positive role models. Some people who seem to really understand the vegan message, but share it in a positive, inspiring way are Bonny Rebecca, Fully Raw Kristina, and Rich Roll. Know more? Comment below!
- Eat good, wholesome, delicious food that makes you excited to participate in the lifestyle! Some great resources for delicious, whole-food, plant-based recipes can be found in the food section of this website. On a similar note, when making food for others, really nail a few great (and necessarily WFPB) recipes like Chocolate Chips Cookies, Mac N Cheeze, and Buffalo Chickpea Dip. Wow the crowd, and you’re doing the best advocacy you can!
- Find a form of veganism that works for your lifestyle. Check out this post about Different Ways of Being Vegan. Whether it’s plant-based, raw, HCLF, or even just taking steps down the reducetarian path, whatever works for you is the best way!
- Discover what makes you passionate and dedicated to making change. Not everyone will be inspired by the environmental damage caused by animal agriculture to make a change, but if that’s your passion, don’t water it down for their sake. Look into the various motivations, like environmental, health, humanitarian, or animal welfare. You don’t have to choose one, your motivation can be intersectional, but really knowing which one lights a fire in you helps your advocacy, since people can see your passion!