Vegans don't have much power. We are a ridiculous minority in this world and our voices are often met with eye-rolling, bogus "science", muscle flexing and even anger.
So, sometimes it's hard to pick ourselves up and feel like we're making a difference. Writing this blog helps me in a lot of ways. I can voice my opinions, educate people about meat and dairy and vent my anger all at the same time. But then, what about the rest of the day? What about 95% of my life where I just have to live, day by day, working, getting the subway, talking to people, going for coffee - not helping animals at all, knowing the world is going about its evil practices and I am so helpless?
Obviously - we can only dedicate so much of our time and mind to Veganism. I still want friends. I want to keep loved ones around who aren't Vegans. I want to buy pretty things sometimes (STILL VEGAN). I want to walk in the park and enjoying nature without thinking negative thoughts (although that's pretty hard in Central Park where I have to watch the ongoing abuse of innocent horses) I digress.
For all of the reasons stated above - it's a huge bonus when one accidentally finds a way to execute Sneaky Vegan Business!
What is Sneaky Vegan Business, you ask? It's a brand new concept that I just invented where Vegans find a sneaky way to influence the public in their everyday lives. It may sound bad, but come on! When I say "influence" I mean - steering them gently to consume less animal products without them even realising! This happened to me yesterday and I just had to share it with everyone.
While living in New York - I'm doing a Theatre internship and having the best time! My current job is managing the Theatre's online presence, which includes all their Social Media acccounts. This is such a typical job to give the young intern and I couldn't be happier! I literally spend my days on Facebook, it's great! So, what new superpowers did I unleash for Veganism, you ask?
One of the jobs I did yesterday was on "Foursquare" (for those of you who don't know what Foursquare is - it's a new kind of social media that I find utterly dull and pointless, but still find myself frantically "checking in" everywhere I go. Damn it! Sucked in again! I was updating the Theatre's Foursquare account to talk about the area around the theatre and attract customers. One idea my supervisor had was to do a "Dinner spots near the Theatre" list or something like that. Great! So, I began researching the area and compiling a list of the nearest restaurants that have a good rating. I didn't really think much of it and then....right at the top of the reviews for one restaurant I was about to "list" it said: "you HAVE to try the foie gras. It will blow you away!"
I take a deep breath.
I take a large sip of water.
I stare again.
I look around the office and make sure no one is looking.
That restaurant, just like that, without a second's thought, was deleted from my list. Now, this may make no logical sense - I cannot compile a list of Vegan restaurants in New York in a two block radius. Impossible. But, there are lines and guess what? Foie Gras is a line. A strong, bold, uncrossable line. I will drop down dead before I advertise a restaurant that uses Foie Gras. Obviously I don't want to advertise a meat-serving restaurant full stop and it makes me sad that there is a part of my job that could potentially give any of these places a shred of extra business.
So what do I do? Well...I finished the list, making careful choices where I could to find only restaurants that included Veggie options and seemed proud to do so (**insert Sneaky Vegan Dance**) and then promptly begun my next un-assigned list: "Healthy Spots Near the Theatre". I compiled my own list of Vegetarian restaurants and did anyone say anything or pull me up on it? No, of course not! Only praise has come my way (phew!)
As I sat at my desk, doing this work - I couldn't help but feel this small burst of pride. I looked around at all my co-workers and thought "how funny that none of you know there is a Vegan in the office, conducting secret Vegan business." You never know where Vegans are lurking and what they may be doing to make a difference - however small.
Our numbers are slowly growing and more information is absolutely getting out there, but we don't often think that we can do this ourselves! This is what helped me convert to Veganism! Every now and then I would see the word "Vegan" or "Vegetarian", always in a lovely bright green colour, looking so healthy and appealing....I would see "Vegan Brownie!" I would see "Healthy Vegetarian restaurant"....and slowly but surely, all these things were being retained by my mind, to the point where when I finally decided to just do it. I had the confidence that this was the right choice on a fundamental level. People are slowly realising this and the more "out there" Veganism is, the more people will notice. Even if it doesn't happen overnight, it's all about awareness.
My wonderful mother just spent a week on holiday with a good friend of hers - and just through leading by example and mentioning "Forks over Knives" a few times, this friend is now seriously thinking about switching to a Vegan diet and has even requested the film to watch.
Small successes. Big pleasures. We are getting there. Even my meat-eating best friend is making more Veggie-friendly choices, although she insists she will always eat meat, occasionally she says something that gives me hope.
We have more power than we think. We are all activists. United we are strongest, but even alone, we are mighty.
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