Today, there are many facets to the Vegan movement. At one point it didn’t seem like there were, and you generally had a collective of hippies that you assumed were the only “true” vegans because of their crunchy lifestyle and the air of lentil/ tofu that wafted off of them when they walked by. Today though it’s much more wide-ranging than that. With technology you don’t have to just stand in front of a business or law office to protest. Now you can do so with blogs, Facebook posts, online petitions, etc; the expression and volition in which tech is used are enormous. It’s not just on the internet, though, that vegans are stepping up and showing that this lifestyle is legit.
You’ve got athletes who are proving that you don’t need to eat the flesh of another living being to perform at your best. One of the biggest names in plant-based athleticism is Brendan Brazier who has done all sorts of endurance events and founded one of the most popular vegan supplement companies; Vega. Scott Jurek and Rich Roll are ultra-marathon runners that not only run really far, but they win races too. You’ve got bodybuilders such as Torre Washington who are demonstrating you don’t need animal protein to build a physique that rivals any carnivores. There are NFL players such as David Carter, aka the 300lb Vegan. MMA even has plant built fighters like former pro fighter, Mac Danzig. They are all pushing their bodies to extremes on a vegan diet solidifying the fact that we do not need to eat other sentient beings to push your body to its limits.
You’ve got your millennials who are grabbing a hold of the movement with vigor and pushing information into places it’s never reached before. With the explosion of the internet we are seeing all sorts of people posting about their vegan transitions on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and more. Statistically, the millennials have become the largest percentage of vegetarians/ vegans out of the last few generational period. It’s believed they could be the one’s to really help this movement gain some traction. Some of the biggest social media users, not expressly millennial, are the Vegan Bros who’s message if one that is much more palatable for younger generations.
You’ve got the activist who is loud and will protest with reckless abandon to prove that their argument is truth. These include people, and celebrities, such as Jane Velez-Mitchel who is hands down one of the most boisterous when it comes to ethical veganism. One of the most well know people in animal welfare circles has to be Paul Watson, co-founder of Greenpeace (I didn’t link them for personal reasons) and the Sea Shepherd. You’ve also got well known animal rights advocates such as Will Potter who has taken more of a legal approach to his activism, but is still just adamant as others and pushes right to edge. Speaking of pushing to the edge, you’ve heard of Gary Yourofsky? Yeah, he’s one of the BIGGEST and absolutely LOUDEST advocate for animals and veganism. You may have seen him on this video below…
There is also the vegan that everyone despises; you know the holier than thou one who has that certain air of superiority in their voice that turns you off and makes you never ever think of going vegan in your whole life? They hold those words to annunciation and make you feel even shittier than you do? There’s so much condescension in their voice you are nearly driven to violence, not compassion. Ya, I knew a bunch of these jackasses way back and it’s partly what turned me off from this movement. Now if I meet one of those assholes I just ignore them, there’s not many of them left. I could name a few names but them I’m being just as big of a douchebag, so we will let you judge for yourself.
I know I’ve missed a bunch of people and ways in which activism can be represented. But I couldn’t forget one of my new favorite podcasts which is hosted by my SHVP teammate, Scott Spitz. His new podcast, The Rational Vegan, approaches activism in a, you got it, rational manner. I wrote and re-wrote a description of the podcast, but cannot sum it up any better than Scott, so here’s a snippet from the site explain the Rational Vegan.
“If we wish to promote a more ethical and compassionate way of living to the rest of the world, then it is in our own best interests to ensure that the vegan message is one that can be supported with both appeals to emotion and intellect. We need to hold ourselves to a both a high intellectual and ethical standard. If we do not, someone else will, which will in turn give the impression that veganism is either irrational, or is rife with inconsistencies. It is up to us to counter and challenge the widespread misinformation about what veganism actually is, and what it means to live vegan. – The Rational Vegan”
My point in all of this is, vegan activism takes many forms. We all have a voice.
For instance, I’m not a sign holder. I’m not a rabble-rouser. You won’t see me out there asking for signatures for a petition. You won’t see me busting down doors to labs or anything like that. I’m more like a vegan ninja.
My friends, family and co-workers all know about my veganism. I try not to bring it up, I just let it sit there. It’s when they ask a question that the box gets open. I try my best to choose my words and explain why the lifestyle benefits me physically, morally and ethically. All the while, not putting them down for their lifestyles. That approach won’t get anyone anywhere. They know about my blog and I get private messages from folks all the time asking questions. I am happy to open up and explain.
Because of joining Strong Hearts Vegan Power, it’s like wearing a big VEGAN sign on the front of our jerseys. Oh, well, that’s because we do wear those. But again, the shirt design are not condescending are printed with “We’ve vegans and we’re better than you!” That shit is frowned upon and again, would just turn people off. I’m proud to wear the shirt and be there if anyone needs me to be.
Of course, you are here on my blog and it’s another extension of the activism I am comfortable with. I have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. I use them all and repost meme’s, links and articles that I find interesting enough to pass along.
So, I’m curious: What is your type of activism? What are you doing to help promote veganism?