7 ways to…Advocate for Veganism
This month, we're sharing ideas for vegan advocacy
So, you're vegan - that's amazing! Simply by abstaining from animal products you are doing wonders for the movement - helping to save hundreds of animal and human lives, as well as lessening destruction wreaked on the planet.
But perhaps you have been thinking that you would like to do more? If the answer is yes, then you're in luck, because there are so many additional things you can do to aid veganism - there is no one way to be an advocate.
If you're stuck for ideas though, and want some simple ways to get into advocating, here are seven tips to get
1. Utilise the internet
The internet is your friend - it is one of the greatest modern tools we have within advocacy, because it allows us to share the vegan message loud and wide.
It's also great if you're too worried or shy to advocate in-person and face to face with others, since it allows you to sit comfortably behind your screen.
But remember - even though you are behind a screen, your words still have impact, so be mindful of how you act when you're representing the vegan community. In general, angry rants on Facebook don't tend to encourage others to join the vegan ranks…
Easy ideas for online advocacy include signing and sharing animal rights petitions across Facebook, Twitter and other social networking platforms. Share news articles about animal rights' success stories, as well as those concerning mistreatment of animals - a lot of people are unaware it still happens.
However, be careful when posting distressing content or videos of animal abuse - yes, these can be very impactful, but not everyone in your social sphere will appreciate seeing it, and as a result, may switch off whenever faced with veganism in the future.
One of the most effective ways to use social media, for example, Instagram, is to post positive photos of new plant-based finds, like the latest dairy-free cheese to hit your local supermarket shelves.
Share your excitement with others, so that they can see the availability of vegan foods and how much veganism is growing - excitement is infectious.
Handing out leaflets is one of the quickest and most effective ways to spread awareness of veganism. It might seem like a daunting prospect to give pamphlets to strangers, but after you've passed out the first few, it will seem like a doddle.
Leafletting is a great non-confrontational way to get information out to the public, because it allows people to digest it in their own time. Although if they have questions, people may come back to you, so be prepared to do a little talking and advice-giving, too!
If you find the concept of leafletting too scary to do alone, do it with a friend, or contact a local animal rights group. If you're creative and good with words, why not make your own pamphlets?
Otherwise, The Vegan Society have tonnes of eye-catching leaflets bursting with information that will help you spark up interest in veganism - log on to their website (vegansociety.com) and print them out yourself or get in touch with The Vegan Society directly.
They can post them out to you if you're based in the UK. If even one person turns vegan after reading your leaflet, then that's hundreds of animal lives saved.
3. Get local
Perhaps you live in an area that's great for veganism (you lucky thing!) and your streets are packed with plant-based cafés, eco-friendly bulk food stores, monthly vegan fayres (in those merry pre-Coronavirus days) and local animal activism groups.
Make sure that you support these organisations as much as possible, to help them to continue operating and growing. If not, then give your town a helping hand towards veganism.
Whenever you visit a restaurant for eating in (soon to be allowed!) or taking away, leave behind a calling card, saying either 'thank you for providing great vegan options', or with a little note to politely request that they add more dishes to their menu.
Similarly, head to The Vegan Society's website where you can download and print out their useful guide, Vegan Catering Made Easy. Many restaurant owners might not actually know how to cater for vegans - so give them the easy-to-read handbook to get them started and answer any questions they might have.
Another wonderful way to spread the vegan word in your area, is to leave old books and copies of Vegan Life magazine behind at local hair salons, beauty parlours, libraries and gym reception areas.
Whilst people are waiting to be seen or relaxing, they just might pick up your vegan literature, and read something that changes their life forever.
4. Cook up some magic
It's safe to say that at Vegan Life magazine, we LOVE food, so we are pretty enthusiastic about promoting the vegan lifestyle through delicious treats and meals. Why not cook for your household and show them how simple and amazing vegan food is?
Likewise, host a picnic or garden party for your friends (up to six people can meet outside after 29th March) and whip up an assortment of plant-based goodies for them to enjoy. Head to our recipe pages for some foodie inspiration.
If you're keen to go a step further, why not organise a vegan potluck to take place in your town? Ask everyone that attends to bring with them a tasty plant-based dish, as well as a friend that is interested in finding out more about veganism.
5. Buddy up with an omnivore
Going vegan can be overwhelming, especially if you're lacking the support of friends and family. Do you know someone that is interested in veganism or considering transitioning? Reach out and offer your support - send them vegan recipes and shopping tips, baking hacks and answer any questions they have.
Talk to them about animal rights, environmental concerns and sustainability - sometimes talking can be a huge help on its own. Direct them to the brand-new Vegan Life Magazine Podcast, hosted by Jake Yapp (page 114).
It's both non-confrontational and hilarious, making it perfect for your buddy - talk to them about each episode afterwards. A support network can be invaluable when going vegan, so be there for them as much as you can.
6. Set a fundraising goal
Have you always wanted to run a half marathon? Do you struggle to go without eating chocolate for more than a week? Would you be able to give up using all forms of transport for six months? Set yourself a personal goal and use it to fundraise for a vegan charity or animal non-profit organisation.
Create a fundraising page through which people can support your goal by donating to your selected charity. Make sure to tell people who you're fundraising for and why, to encourage them to look into veganism and animal rights issues themselves.
7. Learn as much as you can
Knowledge is power - and powerful advocates make for a powerful movement. If you don't know that much about veganism or animal rights issues, it's difficult to actually advocate at all, let alone well! Clue yourself up by reading vegan books like Peter Singer's Animal Liberation, Jonathon Saffran Foer's Eating Animals and Ingrid Newkirk and Gene Stone's Animalkind.
Search for websites and articles online that will allow you to take your reading further and inform you on the latest animal rights campaigns. Check out the Vegan Life website (veganlifemag.com), The Vegan Society (vegansociety.com), PETA (peta.org.uk) and Humane Society International (hsi.org) for starters.
Watch films and documentaries that cover animal and environmental issues, including Cowpiracy, Seaspiracy, Hogwood, What The Health and Blackfish. It's also helpful to learn about other forms of oppression, such as racism and sexism. A good place to start is with Aph and Syl Ko's book, Aphro-ism and the blog, Everyday Feminism (everydayfeminism.com).
Finally, look into the work of successful advocates that are using their strengths to do their own personal forms of activism, whether they are good at cooking, campaigning, debating or bodybuilding.
A few names to check out include Ed Winters (AKA Earthling Ed), Genesis Butler, Seb Alex, Greta Thunberg, Monami Frost, Paul Kerton (AKA Hench Herbivore), Gemunu de Silva, Max La Manna, Gaz Oakley (AKA Avant-Garde Vegan), Maria Slough (page 44) Evanna Lynch (page 18), Victoria Featherstone Pearce (page 42), Karin Ridgers (page 57) and Laura Gaga (page 102). Everyone has something to offer, so look to your own strengths, learn to do them really well, and use these combined with impactful knowledge, to be the best advocate you can be.