Here’s something many people don’t realize about me: I am most comfortable as, and prefer to be, a wallflower.
Despite this fact, I yearn to make an impact in this world. I want to share the vegan message and help others to make the switch to a vegan diet and, in the process, help save the lives of animals. But if you’re like me, and being front and center doesn’t come naturally to you, is endeavoring to make a difference in this world a hopeless case? My goodness, no.
2015 is going to be the year I push myself to do more and work outside of my comfort zone. (In fact, I recently leafleted for the first time!) But if you’re not there yet — not ready to work outside your comfort zone — there are plenty of actions my fellow introverts can take to support the vegan cause.
Here are a few ideas I’ve come up with already, but I would love to see this list expand because I know I’m not the only one that struggles with shyness. If you’ve got a tip to share on how an introvert can lend a helping hand towards the vegan movement, be sure to leave your feedback in the comments, or reach out to me on Facebook or Twitter. Your advice and activism tips are greatly appreciated!
1. Leave a podcast review. The more reviews a vegan podcast receives, the higher it will rank in search results and the more likely someone will stumble upon it and get a chance to hear about the vegan lifestyle.
2. Leave a book review on Amazon. People always look at reviews before a purchase. Write a review or recommendation for a vegan cookbook or book about animal rights and point shoppers towards helpful material.
3. Order vegetarian/vegan starter kits to leave here and there. If you check out my post on vegan resources, there are links to many websites that offer free starter kits. These little pamphlets are easy to transport and leave at the doctor’s office waiting room, a coffee shop, the gym, etc.
4. Leverage vegan messagewear. You can order the cutest and coolest t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, and more from places like Herbivore Clothing, Compassion Co, Alternative Outfitters, and Grape Cat (to name a few) that tout a vegan or animal rights message. Alternatively, you can pin buttons onto your bags, or stickers on your car. People might ask you a question about a t-shirt, so a button or patch or sticker or even socks might be a “safer” choice if you don’t want any questions.
5. Start a blog. Share your insights on the vegan lifestyle, tips, recipes, or whatever you are passionate about from within the comfort of your own home. You are in control of how much or little you share and interact with others.
6. If you own a venue, offer it up to host vegan events. Whether you own an art gallery, office space, restaurant, or some other accommodating space, offer it up as a location to support a vegan event — completely for free.
7. Volunteer your skillset for behind-the-scenes work. Do you have design skills, office skills, the ability to type well, free time to help with mailings, etc? Volunteer your time, talents, or services to support the outreach and efforts of a vegan organization or an animal sanctuary.
8. Write to your elected officials. You don’t have to speak with people face to face to necessarily make your voice heard. Writing to your elected officials on legislation that affects the food industry, animal agriculture, the environment, animal rights, or other topics related to the vegan movement is grassroots 101 stuff, baby.
9. Use social media, anonymously even. Similarly to starting a blog, create a Pinterest or Instagram account where you share vegan food pics and recipes, or a Twitter handle with important vegan news and information. You don’t even have to expose who you are, or anything about yourself for that matter. You can adopt an online persona that exists to broadcast the message of the vegan lifestyle. And the nice thing — any trolls you encounter can be reported and/or blocked.
10. Donate used blankets to shelters (or any other items of need). Check around with your local shelters, rescue centers, animal rehabilitation centers, and sanctuaries to see if they are in need of supplies. Donate or purchase what you can to help out these facilities.
11. Use comment cards. Whether you go to a grocery store, coffee shop, or restaurant, take advantage of the comment cards. Let the staff know you appreciate vegan food options, or request vegan food be added to the menu or inventory. If you’re at a restaurant, leave a note on the receipt with your feedback such as “Thank you for having vegan options on your menu” or “It would be greatly appreciated if you offered soy milk.”
12. Bring vegan food. Anytime you get together with your family, friends, or co-workers and you are responsible for contributing a food dish, bring vegan food (bonus points if you bring a recipe card, too). You don’t even have to say it’s “Vegan Lasagne” or “Vegan cheese.” Just bring your contribution and know that for every bite of food people take, it’s one less bit of animal flesh being consumed.
13. Donate your dollars. There are so many vegan organizations or animal sanctuaries or grassroots movements that need support, especially financially. If you have the means, make a monetary donation to support the efforts of groups that are trying to further the vegan message. Even $10 can make a difference — no amount is too small!
14. Live by example. Even if you never directly engage in conversations about your vegan lifestyle, there may be a time someone — a friend, a co-worker — mentions the topic of going vegan. If you casually mention, “Cool. I’m vegan,” you’ll probably blow this person’s mind by sheer virtue of the fact that they’ve been working side by side a totally normal, healthy person who’s been living on nothing but plants all these years. In living by example, you normalize the very lifestyle that tends to be stigmatized.
15. Donate your old car. Did you know you can donate your old car to The Humane Society? They’ll sell it at auction and keep the proceeds. You might even qualify for a tax deduction!
Additional Tips from Blog Readers:
The next couple of tips were provided from other bloggers, and I thank them for sharing these great ideas 😉
16. Contact international animal welfare organisations calling their attention to a specific issue you know about, with as many details as you can provide. They have their hands full and may not be aware of such. I did this when I posted about terror in the Chinese travelling circuses and received an extensive personal reply from Animals Asia. (From Carmen at Vegan Heart)
17. Writing to car manufacturers about providing alternatives to leather seats in the luxury range. Veganism is a lifestyle that should be accommodated at every level. (From Emy at Fur Out the Closet)
I guess my belief that introverts have a place in the activist ranks can be summed up by one of my favorite movie quotes:
Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.
How will you make a difference this year?