Things You Can Do: Wearing, Sharing, Being.
Being vegan is not a passive state. It is, in essence, a passionate, active and extremely conscious way of life. And though the vegan community is made up of unique individuals, we share a common choice: a dedication to actively participate, whatever our circumstances, to create a positive imprint on this Earth through our actions, words and presence.
Often, it can feel like day-to-day life takes its toll on our activism. Whether you’re studying every waking moment, working 18 hour days to get by, or you’re facing the daunting task of filling a plethora of free time, veganism is ever present, but we feel like we still could be doing more.
I’m here to dissuade you from the notion that little means less. Activism is broad, with many avenues to explore and use. Below, are a few ways, both little and large, you can easily incorporate more vegan awareness into your everyday life:
Decorate yourself vegan.
“What do you mean, you’re ‘Fighting Animal Testing?'”
Myself? I’m currently working full-time without much time to get out of my work clothes. When I am, I’m usually curled up in bed or falling off the climbing wall. However, each day, work or no work, I arm myself with my cruelty-free eyeliner and my ‘Fighting Animal Testing’ bag. My makeup, along with my stance on cruel cosmetics companies, is bared to all those close enough to take notice.
Why wear vegan?
In reflecting our beliefs visually, we create an opportunity for questions and an opening for a dialogue on vegan choices and activism. Our fashion choices emulate our sense of self, and so fashion is a perfect platform for activism. Also, don’t forget the added benefit of being visible to other vegans in the vicinity as, for many of us, having vegan friends in ‘real life’ isn’t the norm. By wearing vegan you might find yourself connecting with more vegans and creating a stronger community around you.
How do I wear vegan?
Adorn yourself with badges, patches, bags, jewelry, shoes, makeup, scarves, shirts, skirts, hats, socks, and more. If you’re studying, a vegan pencil-case full of eco-friendly stationery is a wonderfully sneaky idea (anybody want to borrow a pencil?).
Support your fellow vegan artists and designers by visiting their high street and (mostly) online shops. All Glamour No Guts has to be one of my faves for cruelty-free fashion has a great selection of vegan and anarchist clothing and patches! Or, if you’re feeling creative, you could always make your own vegan goodies to wear. The beautiful simplicity of wearing vegan is that you can wear as little or much as you want. Tailor to you. You can wear slogans, images, comics, or simply “vegan”, I can’t really tell you where else to go from here as your taste, and budget are utterly personal and unique to you. Let your style become an even heightened exploration and example of your values.
Tattoo yourself vegan.
Our skin, as well, is a canvas on which we are able to express ourselves. Tattoos, though not for everybody, can be a beautiful way in which we convey our values. Vegan tattoos can be an indicator to non-vegans about how seriously we feel about our veganism and can be an excellent way to open up a dialogue. Ensure your tattooist uses vegan materials and you’re good to go!
Volunteering and protesting are a vital part of the vegan community and a fuckin’ great way to meet other activists.
Why share my time?
What better way to draw attention to causes that need it than display them to others? We know petitions and protesting can work: only a few years back the EU eventually banned the sale of animal-tested cosmetics due to years of pressure from animal rights groups and the public. Petitions, protesting, and people create change; it’s crucial to support charities, organisations, and projects which seek to safeguard and promote the rights of humans, animals and the environment in an appropriate and ethical manner.
How can I contribute?
Volunteering and activism can be a wonderful experience for personal growth and reflection, however, remember that the focus is not your personal gain. Know your strengths and qualifications to ensure you’ll be an asset. What are you most passionate about? Do your research. Find a legitimate cause that would benefit from your participation and get in contact!
Donating is a useful way to support good causes if you can’t spare your time. Now, I know that ‘spare cash’ is a term that many of us aren’t familiar with, myself included. However, if you ever find yourself with a few extra pennies, why not find somewhere meaningful to donate it?
Many non-profit organisations and projects are run purely by volunteers and are funded only through donation. Even the smallest amounts of money can make such a positive difference for worthwhile causes.
How do I donate?
You can find a suitable charity to donate to, however, it’s not just charities that need donation, investing in a Kickstarter campaign or something similar could be more down your street. You could be supporting the production of a vegan documentary, the creation of a new melty, available-worldwide, vegan cheese or line of ethical footwear. Supporting prospective vegan businesses could be the tipping point in bringing vegan cuisine, retail, and media even more into the mainstream.
If you’re unable to donate, that’s okay. Instead, share and find other ways to donate that don’t cost you time or money. For example:
Clicking takes less than a second. Not everybody can afford the money or time to volunteer, or travel to a protest. The power of the internet is astounding; providing an excellently effortless way to help and share awareness with the information that is so available to us.
Why is social media effective?
Words are the primary way in which we, as humans, communicate – especially in our social media-driven age. It makes sense that words have a profound impact upon us, whether spoken, written or typed. Sharing our own or other’s words on social media has the ability to inspire and inform, and provides support for those who need it.
How can I share?
Did you know there’s websites you can visit every day, to donate food to animal shelters? No? Well now you do. Yes? Well now you’ve been reminded to visit freekibble.com 🙂 – and just have a search for other websites and apps that allow you to donate for free! Some kind of activism only takes one second of your time, so don’t lose hope if you’re short of time and of cash.
Share these websites on your news feeds, blogs, vlogs and walls. Share your activism, your volunteering, artwork, literature, anything! Your passion can be communicated on social media sometimes more easily than in a conversation. Be brave, have your facts ready, and utilise your space!
Baking and cooking delicious vegan treats for your non-vegan loved ones is also one of the surest ways to convince them that veganism isn’t the horror it’s branded.
Why share my treats?
One of the hardest hurdles for any non-vegan is the idea of ‘giving up’ all their favourite foods. Sharing a mouth-watering bite with a cynical omnivore can be a catalyst for their change – “wait, what? You’re telling me this pie is vegan?!” -a deprivation of ‘nice’ food will cease to be a plausible excuse in avoiding the leap to veganism.
How to share the food wealth?
I know, I know. That vegan cupcake is your special cupcake. You put your whole day aside to bake those double chocolate peanut butter cupcakes. You deserve your vegan cupcake. So, I’m not saying that every single yummy vegan treat you eat has to be tested by your non-vegan friends, just give them a bite now and then.
Aaaaaand, last but not vegan-yeast(that B12 tho)-least:
JUST BE VEGAN.
Being Vegan in itself is one of the most influential things you can do.
Aside from the cruelty we seek to avoid, our very presence in a room is a Vegan one, allowing others to view their own lifestyle choices from an altogether different perspective than they are used to. It’s a choice that has the capacity to inspire and elicit questions:
“Why are you Vegan?”
Non-vegans are required to critically examine their own food and lifestyle choices without even a word from us. Our lifestyle often answers for itself:
“Why aren’t you?”