“I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
- Stephen Grellet
However, think about this: most of us are “anti-this” or “pro-that”; but since veganism is about “non-violence” (or should be), it is of vital importance that ethical vegans take a stand against many other social injustices as well. You can't be all things to everyone, but at the very least you can make a difference in the personal choices you make.
Drowning in a sea of “isms” (that are all inter-related) sentient beings are hurting out there unnecessarily.
“Veganism is not a limitation in any way; it's an expansion of your love, your commitment to non-violence and your belief in justice for all.”
Gary L. Francione.
Basically, there are three types of activist:
You can be a closet vegan with no participation in vegan activism at all.
Or, you could be a background activist, working on an online capacity through social media, writing letters, writing books, signing petitions, blogging, etc.
Or, you could be an “active” activist on the front lines participating in more face-to-face scenarios. Handing out leaflets, forming your own vegan club/society, setting up information booths, organising dinners, making videos etc.
Whether you are introverted or extroverted, there is a role for you.
For all activists, you can still be potently “active” in the personal choices you make in your daily life. There is no greater gift to the vegan movement than living a life of non-violence and leading by example for others to follow.
Non-confrontation, non-violence and education is the vegan movement's only worthwhile tactic in this day and age. Only through strong, creditable vegan education can we save ALL animals not just one or two species.
“The more confrontational you are, the more aggressive you are in telling people they're wrong or need to change, the more they resist what you're trying to say. If you can convey the message in a way that would be accepted, where you're not shaming the other person, it's a lot more likely to be effective...”
Dr Casey Taft, Vegan Publishers
Taft goes on to say “...it is crucially important to recognize that almost all vegans today are bucking tradition: they are total non-conformists and have undergone a deep consciousness shift and growth of compassion, that opened this pathway. Love and compassion for animals, our kindred travellers upon spaceship Earth, is usually at the very centre of their worldview and helped spark and sustain their veganism. But the vast bulk of humanity does not share this state of consciousness, or the depth of this compassion. Indeed, most humans have a hard enough time generating any compassion whatsoever for their fellow humans of another tribe...much less extending it beyond the species level.”
So, the only things stopping veganism are the $$$$$$$$. the slaughterhouse walls a veil of government protectionism and the palate pleasure of a meat-loving, under-compassionate majority who know no better.
This is our mission if we want to accept it. Quite a mission.
“However, our cause is not at all lost even with these people. We have not one, but at least three angles to our argument. If they are resistant to the animal rights issue, we offer the environmental issue... animal production is the second largest contributor to global warming. Are they willing to do anything at all to help curb global warming? OK...if they don't give a damn about animals, they probably don't give a damn about the environment either. So we bring out our biggest gun (metaphorically speaking, of course)... their own health and welfare. Now there's something in it for them. Selfish as they are, they may well respond to the scientific facts that ONLY a plant-based diet has been proven to extend life, whereas consuming animal products is now implicated as contributing to ALL of the major causes of death.”
Taft adds: “So we have a three-pronged attack: (1) Do you love animals? Then don't eat them. (2) Do you give a damn about the environment and global warming? Then stop eating animals. (3) Do you want to live longer and feel better and be happier? Then stop eating animals.”
Like most proselytizing vegans, I firmly believe that change will come sooner rather than later. So whatever type of activist you are, rest assured that you are playing a role in a vegan transformation.
Coming in December: “Spending Your Vegan Dollars Wisely”
- Published: 05 November 2014
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