Spreading veganism is a serious issue if we wish to raise the proportion of vegans across the board. The few surveys conducted support the theory of an increase in dietary and ethical vegans – but how can we build upon veganism’s burgeoning status?
You may be facing periods of doubt or frustration when it comes to vegan outreach – after all, how can you, as an individual, change internalized patterns of behaviour? Perhaps it’s time to re-think the ways in which you approach non-vegans.
You may already have embarked upon the first step: going vegan. Through this action, you already act as an example to others. But don’t forget, going vegan does not merely mean changing one’s diet and lifestyle. Veganism involves being aware of related oppressions and issues, including speciesism but also how the declining environmental climate disproportionately affects people of colour, as well as feminist issues involving the exploitation of female animals’ reproductive systems – the list goes on. The most important next step is the promotion of a veganism that is conscious of all these areas and oppressions.
We may have a long way to go but around the globe, but change is happening; dedicated vegan organisations struggle bravely on amid warzones, while in the West, vegan products and vegan supermarkets are swiftly becoming more popular. It has never been easier to go vegan – let’s reflect that.
Five things you can do to maximize your outreach
1) Use other channels of communication. Are you shy, and loathe to encourage others into conversation? Then perhaps social media or blogging is a less scary way for you to communicate effectively with others over veganism. Remember, it’s not your duty to respond to negative comments you receive via these channels either – often just putting your message out there will be enough to get people thinking, without you having to engage further if you do not wish it.
2) Join vegan organisations. Join your local and national vegan organisations to get the message out there. Not only can you end up raising money for great causes that can be used to turn more people vegan in the future, but running information stalls and promoting vegan-friendly campaigns is a great way to reach out to people regularly. You can also join The Vegan Society, and volunteer to hand out leaflets or run stalls by emailing volunteer[at]vegansociety[dot]com.
3) Encourage discussion with those around you. Do you live on a budget and can´t afford to donate, or just don’t have the time to volunteer? Then you can start promoting veganism among your own family and friends, proceeding to conversations with strangers as soon as you are confident enough. Demonstrating the ethical benefits of a healthy vegan lifestyle, underpinned with scientific evidence, is likely to help your cause the most. Be open for questions and remember what you used to think before you became vegan – this will allow you to effectively empathise with the non-vegan point of view, and prevent you from becoming overly reproachful. Making a connection with people is often easiest when talking in a small group about your own personal experiences.
4) Demonstrate with great recipes. Share tasty meals with co-workers, friends and family, and always be on hand with recipe suggestions should these treats pique their interest.
5) Flaunt it with fashion. Next time you need new clothes, why not shop for a vegan t-shirt - there are many vegan clothes options nowadays, sold by animal sanctuaries, vegan organisations and in specialist shops. It´s the most simple way to make people aware of veganism – just by walking on by.
It may sound cheesy, and you will have heard this before – but everyone can make a difference. So go ahead: donate money, volunteer, use social media, show off your vegan lifestyle, sign petitions, partake in direct action, adopt animals and spread the word out there. GET ACTIVE.
by Katharina Stracke
The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.