Some time during the 1940s, the word vegan was coined by one man. One man - Donald Watson. To anyone who believes that one person can't make a difference, let that sink in. Donald Watson gave a name and a voice to a movement that was previously unheard of, and that name is still in use over 70 years later. His new term gave meaning and substance to the idea that animals are thinking, feeling, sentient beings rather than mere commodities. Without Donald's influence, the vegan movement wouldn't be where it is today.
If you're one of many people who believe that one person can't change the world - please reconsider. In fact - scratch that - you must reconsider. One person can in fact make a momentous difference, especially thanks to the rise of modern technology and global communication. Through the use of the internet - which is by far the greatest invention in modern times - one person can reach thousands. Decades ago, such a thing would have been unimaginable - but not now.
"One person can in fact make a momentous difference, especially thanks to the rise of modern technology and global communication."
I've heard it time and time again - non-vegans telling me to give it up, because nothing's going to change. 'The whole world isn't going to go vegan overnight... so why bother?' is a common question. I honestly struggle to understand the reasoning behind this particular sentiment. When we think about previous triumphs for liberation throughout history - i.e. the abolition of black/white segregation - who do we think of? Large groups of people or individuals? Obviously, the answer is the latter. Specifically, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks come to mind. These people were mere individuals, and yet they achieved great things... world-changing things. Perhaps, in the current age of the internet, where we are able to reach massive audiences without falling victim to regulation or censorship, these two influential people would have reached even greater heights.
This is why I find it quite silly when non-vegans tell us to 'get off our arses, get outside and actually do something productive.' They don't realise that the internet is our greatest blessing and asset, and using it properly can do more for the animals than any 'physical' work ever will. Through the internet, we can spread uncensored and unregulated information out to the masses. Decades ago, this simply wouldn't have been possible. Commercial forms of media (film, television and radio) very rarely make any attempt to highlight or acknowledge animal cruelty. Perhaps they're scared of igniting too much controversy, or perhaps they just don't care. Either way, it doesn't matter, because we now have a much more reliable form of mainstream media to utilise, and we should all be very thankful for it.
"Through the internet, we can spread uncensored and unregulated information out to the masses. Decades ago, this simply wouldn't have been possible."
Michael Jackson said it best - If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change. Truer words have never been spoken. If we wish to make significant changes to society, we must begin by focusing on, analysing and altering our own actions. A message that starts with one person can eventually reach billions. Even if our message only reaches one or two other people - that still means we've made a difference. Every change, every effort - no matter how big or small - is always worth it. Always.
Ways you can make a real difference for the animals
- Create a social media business page or blog to spread the word about veganism
- Cook vegan foods for your friends
- Share information about veganism on your personal Facebook or Twitter page
- Join vegan/vegetarian forums and provide tips and help for those transitioning into our lifestyle
- Talk about veganism with your friends
- Join Vegan Outreach, a not-for-profit volunteer-fuelled organisation that works to end cruelty to animals
- Create a club for vegans and vegetarians in your local area
- Wear clothing displaying messages about veganism when out in public
- Sign online petitions
- Keep on top of protests in your area and join in whenever possible
- Boycott companies that promote animal cruelty
- Praise and show your support for companies that release vegan options (while continuing to boycott their non-vegan options), prompting them to introduce more vegan varieties
- Make sure everyone around you knows just how fantastic veganism is!