We are being told by other vegans that “we” need to be “active” and do some “activism”.
Though, do you need to be yelling at people, wearing a mask or gaffa tape over your mouth to be an “activist”?
Or are there other forms of activism that a person could do to promote veganism or animal rights.
What is Activism?
Before we start talking about the different types of “activism”, we need to understand what “activism” actually is.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “activism” as:
a doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue
* political activism
* environmental activism
borrowed from German Aktivismus, from aktiv active + -ismus -ism
What Types Of “Activism” Is There?
Now this is where it gets interesting.
To some, the ONLY form of activism there is are things like “Cube of Truth” or “Direct Action Everywhere”. Or last week’s poorly thought out Beerburrum piggery protest.
Except it isn’t.
There are any number of things that can be done that are type of activism.
Wearing A Pro-Vegan T-Shirt
This in itself is a form of activism as it exposes people to veganism. We know from marketing and Google’s Zero Moment of Truth, that consumers need a certain number of exposures to an idea/product/service before they are ready to buy.
Wearing simple, non offensive vegan t-shirt can help with increasing awareness of veganism.
Making A Plant-Based Meal
Yes, I do understand that this isn’t exactly promoting veganism, though as food plays such a major part of our social activities it does help to bust the “nothing but lettuce” myth surrounding veganism.
Something that I do, is when I have a business meeting with a client, I request that they order something that is vegan suitable. I have also found that most chefs are actually eager to do this as it gives them a chance to exercise their creativity, and make something they are passionate about.
Of course, this all depends on the type of place that you are eating at, and how you bring this request up with the wait staff.
Then during the meal, once business is out of the way, the conversation usually turns to questions about why I am vegan, how long, etc. It isn’t too hard to have a rights based discussion with them when they have brought up the subject.
This is where you set up a table at a market or event, and have conversations with people when they turn up.
The Vegan Information Project are a good example this.
This is different to “cube” events as there are no mask, “suffering” videos, etc.
Start A Blog or Podcast
I genuinely believe that this is the best form of activism that a person can do.
You can do it under your own name or create a nom de plume, you can have your own blog or guest post on someone else’s.
Why do I recommend blogging and podcasting?
For the simple fact that it gives the best return on investment (ROI).
All you need to do is write/record something once, and as long as the website is hosted somewhere it will be online. (There are free podcast hosts so you don’t even need to pay to have your podcast online).
For example, this article I wrote in 2014 still gets traffic from search engines.
If you structure your posts right, they will start creeping up the rankings and may even appear on page 1.
Now compare this to attending a “cube” event.
They usually last 3 hours. If we include 30 mins travel time there and back, total time is 4 hrs.
Multiply that by the 30 people who attend these events and you have 120 hours spent on an activity where once it is over, it’s over. (Yes there are some who record their “conversations” and put them on YouTube, though that doesn’t help the person who is faceless behind a mask).
Now consider this article.
It is about 1,000 words, took me about 3 hrs to write. Then once it is published about 20 minutes today to post online in different groups, platforms, etc.
Total time 3hrs 20 minutes. (40 minutes less than a “cube” event).
Now if the 30 people who attended a cube event did the same, and linked to each other’s articles, the reach and SEO power would be so much greater.
The potential audience for this article is worldwide, whereas a “cube’s” audience is only limited to those who are pass by the location at that time. Let’s say 300 people.
120 hours have been used to reach a possible 300 people. In the marketing world, this is a poor ROI.
Compare that to the article I wrote about the movie Lucent in 2014.
As you can see below, in the last 3 years it has been read over 1800 times. And that is with no promotion, outside of VeganPolice.com.au.
Doesn’t that seem like a better ROI to you?
So What Should You Do?
Really, that is up to you.
Do you to be an anonymous backdrop to someone else’s fame, or do you want to make an impact yourself?
If you simply want to yell at or scare people, you probably know what the answer is.
Whereas if you want to create something that you won’t be embarrassed about in a year or two, your best bet is to avoid “cube” events.
One Last Thing
Whatever type of activism you choose to do, you shouldn’t be pressured into doing it.
Nor should you put your own safety at risk. Becoming a martyr for the cause doesn’t help anyone.
It shouldn’t cause you distress, despite what some say, nor should it be something you do to give you life meaning.
Anything that you do end up doing, should be done to promote or create a better understanding of veganism or animal rights, not to make you famous or for your Patreon supporters.