I just returned from the Vida Vegan Blog Conference where I learned tons, met lots of new friends, and fell in love with Portland. I will share my conference notes and thoughts soon, just like I did with the AR Conference.
But today I’m heading out to do my favorite kind of activism: leafleting.
Today is the first day of school at my local university, UNLV. The first week is always the busiest time full of new and returning students. The freshmen are easy to spot with their wide-eyed optimism and curiosity. And that is why leafleting at college campuses is not only more effective but also more gratifying than leafleting elsewhere – ostensibly, college students want to learn.
At Vida Vegan Con Colleen Patrick-Goudreau gave a talk that touched on this concept of wanting to learn:
“I always say that I’m not asking people to live according to MY values; I’m urging them to live according to their own.”
“And I actually believe that people WANT this information; in fact, I think they’re quite desperate to make a change to feel better physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I know this because I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of witnessing thousands of people transition to being vegan; that is, feeling empowered enough to make choices that reflect their own values of compassion and wellness.”
And while I agree with Colleen that most people want this information it’s also true that college students are one of the groups most receptive to receiving this information. So, to reduce waste I focus most of my leafleting towards college students.
I strive to make my animal advocacy as effective as possible by saving as many animals as possible. That’s why I’ve read Change of Heart and that’s why I keep a blog called Selling Compassion that’s all about using psychology, sociology, and marketing data to improve animal activism. Change of Heart author Nick Cooney recently said:
From my experience, I think the two most effective things that we as individuals can do are:
1) Putting printed literature and resources for veg eating in front of people, through passing out Vegan Outreach leaflets and/or leaving stacks of leaflets or Vegetarian Starter Kits all around our towns
2) Getting people to view factory farming/animal cruelty videos and veg resource info either online or in person. We do this mainly through paid facebook ads, which are really really inexpensive and produce an incredible amount of change in people’s eating habits.
If anyone here wants to help us get veg starter kits in the hands of people who want them – and this only takes a few minutes a day – check out http://www.take5save5.com We use MFA’s starter kits.
So today I’ll head out with a stack of pamphlets from Vegan Outreach and I’ll hand them out to college students, teachers, and others who are on the college campus. I’ll say things like “Free information about saving animals?” or “No judgments just info,” or “Easy ways to prevent violence.” I’ll probably hand out about 500 or more in a couple hours. And hopefully I’ll inspire a few people to make a change and think about the “face on their plate.”
And then after I’ve spent a few hours doing some face-to-face vegan activism (and getting a little vitamin D while I’m at it) I’ll do a bit more blogging and put together a post about Vida Vegan Con. Stay tuned…
UPDATE: To read notes from the talks given at Vida Vegan Con, please go here: http://www.vegansoapbox.com/topics/vvc2011/