One of the things that excites me most about being a vegan is the conviction that I am taking steps to no longer contribute to aspects of society that I find unacceptable: farming and the production of ‘meat’, the exploitation of animals, destruction of habitats and unsustainable living practices, to name a few.
But more and more I am finding that I also want to become an active vegan. I want to advocate for a way of life that I feel so passionately about, because I can’t see an outcome to veganism that isn’t positive. As a quiet vegan, however, this has brought with it an anxiety: how can I, a private, non-intrusive, fairly awkward being, make an active contribution to the vegan movement beyond my dietary choices? This is something that has been tinkering away at the back of my mind for some time time now, and I’ve been taking some steps to address it.
For a start, I’ve written this, and you are reading it. The committal of ink to page is in itself, if not to convert, at least here to share, inform and hopefully interest. Writing this blog brings me an unexpected amount of joy. Aside from the act of writing itself, I have come to realise that it makes me really happy to share the changes that I have made, and continue to make, in my life; all the while knowing that these changes have a tangible, wider benefit.
And so, one change can lead to another. Sharing the changes I’ve made to my diet, by creating and writing recipes, has inspired me to want to get more involved in the vegan community, whatever this means; be it a group of friends, Twitter followers or signatories on a petition. I’ve become a firm believer in the positive impact that can come from social media and online sharing – the world is now open. Sometimes the information we have access to is harrowing, painful and hard to shake, but this can only be a good thing. Imagine if we still didn’t know what happens in the farming industry. How leather is produced. The impact the dairy and wool industries have on the animals that are processed through them. The treatment of animals at tourist attractions, shrines, beaches and even still in Central Park. The sharing of knowledge and information is a machine for change.
With this in mind, I started to look with more interest at the smaller organisations I’ve seen mentioned on Twitter and Instagram. You’d be amazed at what you can stumble upon by looking at a picture of someone’s vegan lunch. In one such instance, I was looking at a photograph of (most probably) a vegan doughnut, which drew me to a linked picture of someone in Japan wearing a cool t shirt bearing a vegan slogan, which led to comments about where it came from and the resulting discovery of the Mino Valley Farm sanctuary in Spain! Here is the result of that little wander through picture-browsing:
Meet Coco, my new ‘Best Friend Forever’ sponsored sheep. Coco was rescued from a farm when she was deemed of no more ‘use’ to the farmer, and now lives a lovely life: enjoying lying in the sun with her friends and eating flowers. You can find out more about Mino Valley Sanctuary here.
This is only the beginning of my quiet vegan activism. Gently telling the world, one written piece or photograph at a time, about the next vegan discovery – be that cause or cake. Consciously consuming, supporting others and putting my earnings to positive causes like Coco, because let’s face it, I think she’s probably more deserving of an extra €5 a month than one of the many, many other ways I could find to spend it online during a bout of Thursday afternoon ‘research’.
I’ll be writing updates each time I find a new and exciting way to be quietly active, and hopefully one day someone will start their chain of active veganism with one of my recipes, or from some of my words.