Call Me, Call Me Any, Anytime
I received a call today about participating in a marketing focus group on auto care and the caller asked me as part of the questionnaire, “If money wasn’t an object, what would you love to spend your life doing?” I immediately replied, “Educating people about a social justice issue near to my heart – veganism.”
My friend and fellow vegan educator Colin Wright wrote an essay about engaging in vegan advocacy over the phone and I thought about his ideas at the moment I decided to shift the conversation into a potential vegan education experience (please read Colin’s excellent essay here and consider perusing the rest of his site for more information and ideas).
The caller (a 51-year-old gentleman named John) and I ended up talking for over 20 minutes and, in that time, he asked and I answered questions about plant-based nutrition – protein, B12… the usual – and I explained the ethical reasons for veganism to him, to which he said he agreed. His questions were insightful and he seemed interested in and agreeable to the answers I provided. It turns out he’d had a couple of close relationships with vegans in the past, so he wasn’t a total stranger to what I was presenting. I was sure to direct him to VeganEducationGroup.com and HowToGoVegan.org as resources for further information.
When the call was coming to an end, I thanked him for taking the time to speak with me and to ask me the questions he didn’t have to ask, as well as for listening thoughtfully to the answers. I ended by stating, “If you believe that causing unnecessary harm and death to innocent, vulnerable beings is wrong, then you stop engaging in behaviors that bring those results. To do that, you begin by living vegan.” He said, “I agree!” and thanked me for the conversation.
There was a time when I would have shied away from engaging a stranger in this manner for fear of not being well-received, but I’ve come to believe in taking the opportunities as they’re presented and educating about veganism clearly, consistently and unequivocally whenever I can.
The “V” Word
Slightly tangential note: There’s nothing “scary” or “off-putting” about the word vegan or the idea of veganism, despite what some large animal welfare corporations would want people to believe (and they propagate that myth to further their own ends and increase their profitability at the expense of the animals they purport to be “helping”). When presented in a calm, rational and respectful manner, there is nothing about veganism that drives people away. On the contrary, these ideas of nonviolence, fairness and true justice for all resonate deeply with those who hear them and frequently foster internal and external changes that can and will shift the current speciesist paradigm that demands the enslavement, exploitation and execution of the most vulnerable members of our global society – non-human individuals.
[I encourage all readers to click the blue links embedded in this essay and explore the information on those sites.]