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I'll never forget the moment when I helped my friend become a vegan and she told me, "But just so you know, there's no way I'm going to become one of those vegans who become activists and who start scolding all those who eat animal products." I smiled at her and told her that there are many kinds of vegans, and that her transition to veganism doesn’t require from her AT ALL to participate in some sort of activism. In addition, I also told her that doing activism can be both positive and enjoyable for both sides, and not necessarily in the style she mentioned.
After a while, she began to post positive information about veganism in her social media accounts, and as an influencer she could see the beautiful responses to her way of activism. She even noticed some people who were positively affected by her posts. In addition to her activism through social media, she volunteers for quite a long time on a regular basis, once a week, in an organization that saves animal life .
Activism does not have to be a label you put on yourself. It doesn’t have to be negative, and it doesn’t have any certain definition. There is no one or two ways to do activism.
It can also be expressed even in a quiet activity, in "behind the scenes" activities, and in many different ways.
This blog, in itself, is a form of activism.
Here are some other ways of vegan activism:
1. Expose our environment to vegan food and show that there is a rich and tasty variety. Feed them with delicious vegan food or take them to try great vegan restaurants.
2. Get educated. Know what you’re talking about -
The very fact that we choose to enrich our knowledge about the vegan lifestyle and answer common questions, this is a very accessible and highly valuable way of activism.
3. Wearing of clothing with vegan messages evokes reactions from the environment and opens up opportunities for us to inform and explain to people more about veganism. I can’t count the number of times people approached me and started a conversation about the vegan lifestyle simply because they read my shirt. That's one of the reasons why I created Living Engine! Moreover, the clothing make it possible to identify people as vegans, and it proves to the people around us that Veganism is becoming more widespread and this reinforces the urge to examine the subject more closely. It makes them more interested in it.
4. Make Google Maps stronger! - Were you in a vegan or vegan-friendly restaurant? Don’t forget to share your experience with Google maps! This makes it very easy for our lives as vegans in a couple of ways:
- The fact that people see more recommendations about the vegan food in the restaurant will make them interested in trying the vegan dishes.
- The restaurant itself will get positive feedback about the vegan dishes and might create more options for more people to eat them. The more demand = the more supply.
- For new vegans, when they search for vegan restaurants, it will be easier for them to find because, like any search engine, vegan-related keywords will help them come up faster.
5. Google maps is not the only place to share your food experience. There are lots of other websites people use to search for recommendations. Yelp, TripAdvisor, Happy Cow, etc.
Post positive (truthful, of course!) reviews on your favorite vegan restaurants. If you have had a good experience at a vegan or vegan-friendly place, make sure that the internet knows. Positive reviews drive traffic to these restaurants, so this is a key way for us to make sure that businesses that are making food for us get rewarded and prosper.
6. Going to volunteer in animal welfare organizations or farm sanctuaries -
they always need an extra hand there! It doesn’t even have to be on a regular basis. You can choose how often you want to go. If you’re not sure how to find a farm sanctuary or organization in your area, simply search for “farm sanctuary in X” in Google (X = your city/country). I’ve tried it in several places in the world and found quite a few in each area. If you don’t have a farm sanctuary close to you, it can be even volunteering in a dog shelter or something similar.
7. Share your journey and successes on social media (improvement in health, weight, sleep, etc.) Be healthy. People will be more open to the idea of veganism if they have known someone personally who is thriving as a vegan.
8. Approach local cafes and restaurants and ask them to add vegan options to their menus. When I’m in a restaurant with friends or family and there’s not enough variety for vegans, I write a note or talk to the waiter/manager about it. Of course only in a positive way - something along the lines of: “It would be great if you can add some more vegans options on your menu! I’ll come here more often.”
If a place you used to go to doesn’t have any vegan options at all, you can also send them an email and tell your story and ask them to add vegan dishes. Example:
Hi X team,
I loved going to your restaurant and I really enjoyed your food. I became a vegan not too long ago (you can explain the reasons or not.) and I’d really appreciate if you can add some vegan options to your menu or create a vegan menu for your vegan customers so I can keep coming and enjoying your food.
Looking forward to your reply,
That’s it. Simple. You want to show how they benefit from adding vegan options to their menu. After all, a restaurant is a business and they are always interested in getting more customers :)
There are many other ways. Any positive action associated with veganism can be seen as activism, so vegans who try to avoid being activists can always find themselves being active in spreading the message in one way or another just by them being vegans.
Got any other ways you think are great ways of activism? Share in the comment below!