Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
“Kindness” by Naomi Shihab Nye
We’re adjusting to a new normal. There is no single right way to be a vegan activist during a global crisis. However, in a time touched with serious sorrow, serious kindness makes the most sense — kindness to ourselves, each other, the animals, and our shared planet. Many of you have already begun to find creative ways to adapt your activities to our safer-at-home reality. Others of you may be planning your next move.
Here, we share a few vegan advocacy ideas for our current period of physical distancing and, beyond that, for anyone who needs (or prefers) to do their work from home.
This blog post is full of ideas for staying active in the vegan movement. But, if you feel too depleted to focus on activism, give yourself permission to slow down. It’s OK not to be productive right now. The animals and our planet need healthy and strong advocates to fight for them.
1. Creative expression. Tapping into your creativity is an effective coping strategy. It’s no wonder that more people are writing songs, baking bread, and planting gardens. If you haven’t yet, allow yourself to do things that bring you joy, whether it’s working with clay, playing the cello, or knitting sweaters for animals who need them.
2. Process your emotions. Watch this webinar by Dr. Clare Mann, psychologist and author of Vystopia: The Anguish of Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World. She teaches us how we can transform our distress for animals that endure pain into powerful action for change.
Step up your social media activism
As more people turn to social media for entertainment, social interaction, and reflection, now is an excellent time to continue your advocacy efforts and make meaningful connections online.
3. Make new friends. Join one or more of the many vegan groups on Facebook and other virtual communities. If you have an idea for a unique group, start your own!
4. Use hashtags to encourage healthy eating. Many people are coming to terms with their “quarantine snack” habits and primed to eat in a way that’s better for their health, the animals, and the planet. Whatever your social media platform, consider using an existing hashtag such as #VeganChallenge, #WhatVegansEat, #PlantPowered, or one that you create yourself.
5. Share your message with video. Social media allows us to reach people all over the world and exponentially magnify our voice for animals. If you enjoy speaking or would like to give it a try, almost every platform offers an outstanding opportunity to broadcast your message. You can pre-record your thoughts and edit them into a topical series or go live and interact with your viewers in real time. Facebook, IGTV, and YouTube Live are a few platforms you could try.
6. Explore video from behind the camera. If you don’t enjoy being in front of the camera but have videography skills, you could cut together animated videos or videos that use stock footage. Video is a powerful way to communicate complex subject matter… so, why not put your skills to use for the vegan movement?
7. Move beyond the basics of social media. Watch our free webinar, Social Media Strategy to Maximize Impact for Animals. This live recorded webinar by John Oberg, longtime animal advocate and social media influencer, covers how to choose your best platforms, perfect your communications, build strategies for your content, and grow your audience.
Organize online events
With restrictions on in-person gatherings, most social events are happening online. Adapt your current activities or create all-new virtual events.
8. Host a film screening using an online conferencing tool. Film screenings are powerful vehicles for social change, and it’s easy to plan a virtual event. As Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA) did for their screening of The Invisible Vegan, you can even invite a guest speaker for a Q&A session. Many activists are using Zoom with great results. Their basic plan is free, but you’ll need their pro plan for meetings with three or more attendees that last longer than 40 minutes. GoToWebinar offers a free trial, and Intermedia AnyMeeting is offering their Pro Video Conferencing for free until 2021.
Join us at 1pm for a screening of The Invisible Vegan and a LIVE Q&A with producer Jasmine Leyva! https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81999207295
9. Organize a virtual conference or vegfest. Rather than cancel their 2020 event due to the COVID-19 quarantine, Indy VegFest proceeded with a virtual lineup of presenters via Facebook Live.
Today’s lineup! 🤩 All presenters will be using Facebook Live and streaming ON the event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/547322029457341/ Hope y’all can join us! 💚
#indyvegfest #2020indyvegfest #stayathome
Learn how they sprang into action to engage their community, what worked, and what they’d do differently in the future in this video from Indy VegFest board president Megan McNames.
10. Start a podcast! Outline the topics you want to cover and dive into a regular schedule. If you’re just getting started, do a 5-minute podcast and work your way up. You can also reach out to your fellow activists and invite them for an interview.
Try no-contact vegan activism
Here are some ways to share a vegan message that don’t require face-to-face interaction.
11. Add vegan stickers or emblems to your car. Whether you’ve parked somewhere indefinitely or you’re running an essential errand, your vehicle can act as your billboard.
13. Practice chalktavism. Write your thought-provoking vegan message in chalk to reach countless strangers.
14. Link to a vegan challenge or resource in your email signature. Not everyone will click, but some of your contacts will be curious enough to learn more.
15. Change your Wi-Fi name to something like “Watch Dominion” or “Go Vegan for the Planet” and give your neighbors something to think about.
Be of service to a vegan cause
Here is a range of service ideas to suit your skills and preferences.
16. Become a vegan mentor. For many people, going vegan can be overwhelming. That’s why vegan pledge programs often need volunteer mentors who can answer questions, lend an ear, offer encouragement, and share resources. Peace Advocacy Network (PAN) has moved their in-person mentorship program online and has a vegan pledge mentor sign-up.
17. Start one or more petitions (i.e., change.org, ipetitions.com, care2.com, avaaz.org). Use petitions to ask companies to adopt cruelty-free practices or offer more vegan options. You can also ask governments to include or improve animal welfare policies.
18. Translate vegan materials. If you know more than one language, you can translate articles or films that have a vegan message. Translation gives more people access to important information. You can start by adding subtitles to public offerings on YouTube. You can also reach out to writers and filmmakers to see if they need a translator.
19. Wield the written word. If you’re a talented writer, use your powers of persuasion. Put your activism into words by writing a post on your blog or guest blogging for someone else. Pitch opinion pieces to your local news outlets.
20. Use your unique skills to support a team with limited resources. Volunteer to help a vegan organization with fundraising, marketing, technical support, etc. Contact us if you’d like to volunteer with VegFund!
21. Help your local animal sanctuary. Collect jackets made from wool and fur in your local community and donate them to the closest animal sanctuary or wildlife rescue organization. Animals could use them during winter. You can also collect other items they need. Organize your pickup and drop-off using physical distancing measures.
23. Improve your communication skills. Download and view The Vegan Activist Guide to Strategic Communications workshop video, which was filmed at the 2019 National Animal Rights Conference in Washington, DC. Learn how to overcome the biases your audience may have and stir them to action.
Vegan nonprofits and small businesses everywhere in the world are suffering losses as their doors remain closed for public gatherings. Here are some ways to provide support.
26. Promote a fundraising campaign for an activist, organization, or sanctuary.
27. Distribute vegan meals to families in need. Take inspiration from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. He joined animal rights organization Mercy for Animals (MFA) and hunger-relief charity Community Solidarity to provide free vegan food for Brooklynites in need by purchasing from local vegan restaurants. This new partnership is called “Plants to the People.” Another organization, Seed Releaf, provides food relief during COVID-19.
28. Support your favorite vegan businesses by ordering delivery from them or buying their gift cards. Write reviews for them on HappyCow, Facebook, Yelp, or Tripadvisor. For a win-win scenario, use the abillionveg (abv) platform — they support animal rescue work around the world for every review.
29. Donate. If you happen to be financially stable, you can help a vegan organization achieve its goals. For example, your donation to VegFund allows us to continue supporting our grantees’ initiatives for a more compassionate, ethical, and healthy world.
There may be much uncertainty about the next few months, but we do know that there are always thoughtful ways to continue to advocate for animals, the planet, and human health. Vegans, after all, are no strangers to turning deep sorrow into deep kindness.
If this list of ideas motivated you to step up your social media activism, access the recording of our live webinar with social media professional John Oberg.