I was recently on holiday in Alice Springs, Australia, where I got to meet fellow activists Renata Peters and Timothy Putnam from the Alice Springs Vegan Society. I also had the chance to help out at their wonderful vegan education stall at the Sunday markets!
I enjoyed helping out, and many people came up to us interested in learning more about veganism and trying a delicious free vegan cupcake. We had many great conversations, and there were definitely a few new vegans out there afterwards.
I love face-to-face advocacy, people are generally much more friendlier in real life than online. People like Renata and Timothy are my role models, and I hope to have my own vegan education stall one day like theirs. I'm quite a shy person, and mainly I do online activism and use my design skills to create vegan education resources for other advocates to use. But I'd love to practice and learn how to talk to and educate people face-to-face as well as they do! It's really the best feeling standing at a stall on the street or at a market promoting veganism to the public.
Some people say that vegan education doesn't work. Some are scared of using the word "vegan" because they don't want to scare people away. But the reality is, creative, nonviolent vegan education does work, and it doesn't scare people away! Many people come up to us and are genuinely interested in learning about veganism and why to go vegan. We are always friendly and non-confrontational, and that's a very important thing.
Educating people about veganism creates new vegans. It decreases the demand for animal products. It raises awareness. It is changing the world - one new vegan at a time! I am excited to see more and more people going vegan and wanting to go vegan these days, proof that vegan education really is working!
Don't be afraid of getting out there in your community and spreading the message of veganism and animal rights. There are many ways you can do vegan advocacy, such as having a stall on the street or at a market, making youtube videos, inviting non-vegan friends over for a vegan dinner, painting a picture, giving a speech, there are many possibilities so get creative!
Don't give up if you try it and no one tells you then and there that they're going to go vegan. The most important thing is that you are out there, speaking the truth and being a voice for the victims of animal exploitation. With every person you talk to, you are planting seeds. We can't control when those seeds will sprout, or if they will sprout, but at least they've been planted, and that's what matters. Focus on those who are interested in hearing what you have to say instead of the people who don't want to listen. And there will be many who will be interested and open to learning about it.
We need grassroots vegan activists all over the world, speaking out and educating others about veganism, and teaching people that other animals are not "things" for us to use, they are sentient individuals who deserve the one right not to be viewed as the property of another, no matter how well they're treated. After going vegan, educating people about veganism is the most important thing we can do to help nonhuman animals. It's a thousand times more effective than a petition or single-issue campaign, because it focuses on all uses of animals, and it strikes at the roots by reducing the demand - rather than attacking the supplier (which is only there because of the demand anyway).
Please be a clear, consistent, nonviolent voice for other animals. There are so many ways you can do it, so find a way that works for you. Let's work together to create a better world! ♥
I'll end with a wonderful and inspiring poster by LiveVegan, featuring another photo of the fabulous Alice Springs Vegan Society market stall and a quote from Howard Zinn: