How we can all do our bit when it comes to vegan activism – in a way that works for us
Vegan activism – a phrase full of connotations, and one that can incite fear and panic, but also passion. Perhaps when you first encounter it, your mind conjures visions of chained protesters and angry mobs proudly marching for their cause through a city centre. But the truth is, vegan activism can take many forms – some that might surprise you.
The Everyday Activist
For some, a direct encounter with graphic images, videos and footage is something that pushes them into more ethical choices. However, these images and videos can end up having the opposite effect and push people away. Why? Because they aren’t prepared for this. Their minds at that moment aren’t open to seeing what we want them to see, and it puts up barriers instead of breaking them down.
Not everyone feels comfortable with traditional activism, and that’s where everyday activism comes in. There are many ways you can advocate veganism in your day-to-day life using your own skills, talents and interests. In fact, we’re counting on you to do so.
1. Allow Conversation
There are many ways to carry out everyday vegan activism, but our biggest tip is to allow people to ask questions. Help people feel comfortable asking you questions. You may have heard “what about honey?” a million times, but by being open and encouraging to someone who genuinely wishes to learn more, you’ll have a greater positive impact than making them feel silly or getting annoyed. Encourage, don’t discourage – and show them the way.
Food can be a touchy subject, and generally people just hate someone else telling them what they should be eating, wearing and using (even if it’s for good cause!). If you educate people rather than dictate, it’s much easier to get your point across. You keep their attention and stop them switching off or getting angry and frustrated at you.
2. Share the Food, Share the Love
We all love food. Eating is much more than just a way to source food for most of us. Eating can be a comfort, a treat, a celebration, a social activity. So, when you first introduce the idea of removing or reducing foods a person has been eating all their lives – they may well panic!
If you love cooking, then hop on your social media and share the wonderful meals you’ve been making – and don’t forget to tag Veganuary so we can see your amazing creations! Include the recipe details as well, and you’re sure to get positive and inquisitive feedback. Plus, your friends will probably want to try out your tasty treats. (It’s more simple than ever to cook vegan. Don’t believe us? Have a look at our easy vegan recipes now!)
3. Shout About Skincare
A lot of people find a great mascara or moisturiser and stick with it, occasionally trying something different, before heading back to their firm favourite. In fact, there is a common misconception that vegan and cruelty-free products are less effective than their counterparts and more expensive.
Help smash that assumption by sharing your favourite products and where to get them – and don’t forget to say they are vegan and cruelty-free. You’ll certainly pique people’s interest. You can also share videos of your favourite vegan make-up artist or beauty blogger on YouTube to show just how gorgeous vegan make-up really is.
4. Eat Out in Vegan Style
Eating out can make people nervous and it’s often the thing that puts many off going vegan properly. A non-vegan might think we only eat at 100% vegan eateries, that we can’t enjoy traditional-style food on holiday and that if we do eat at a non-vegan place we’ll end up with chips and lettuce. Au contraire!
Chat to local food places (or even reach out to new places or restaurants you’ve eaten in a couple of times) to see if they would consider adding a permanent vegan option (if they haven’t already). Perhaps they would be interested in a vegan-themed night too? Don’t forget to share your findings online and with your friends and family. By promoting veganism as easy, more people will be intrigued to try a plant-based dining option.
5. Dealing with Negativity
Sadly, there will always be somebody who doesn’t ‘get’ why you live the way you do. They will take delight in trying to catch you out, and generally make you feel uncomfortable. This type of person clearly has no interest in learning from a genuine perspective, and just wants to provoke. If someone is still trying to antagonise you after you’ve provided relevant facts, the easiest (and best) thing to do is agree to disagree and move on!