Many animal activists think of blogging as a useless activity that doesn’t accomplish anything. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
For example, in September 2010 (a year ago) I did a survey of Vegan Soapbox readers to determine how effective this website was, if it was effective at all.
I was surprised to find that:
- Some survey respondents claimed they “eat less meat” or that they “eat fewer animal products.”
- A larger group said they “donate more money to animal organizations.”
- Many claimed that they “bought more vegan cookbooks.”
- The answer that received the most votes was: “I do more animal advocacy.”
At last month’s Vida Vegan Con there was a panel about vegan activism as it relates to blogging. Of course I was excited about this panel! And as usual, I took notes, which are below saved especially just for you…
Vida Vegan Con 2011 – Activism Panel
Moderator: Jasmin Singer – Our Hen House
- Leigh-Chantelle Koch – Viva La Vegan
blog, cookbook, podcasts, videos, mentor
also runs a nonprofit group that puts on a enviro fest
“everyone has the skills and talents to promote veganism”
- Chelsea Lincoln - The Mill Room
began as “serious activist” by organizing protests/demos
was part of a successful campaign that included both “angry” activism and civil dialog
currently blogging and volunteering with animal rescue, likes hands-on
“activism is not just one thing” find your own niche
- Isa Chandra Moskowitz – The Post Punk Kitchen
fundraising – bake sales that also encourage veganism
“4 courses 4 causes”
chose to live currently in Omaha because they need more vegans and more vegan food
interested in local activism
- Ryan Patey
editor and founder of TOFU magazine
started by doing a couple vegan cookbooks
aim is to provide any vegan with a soapbox
- Sunny Subramanian
peta2 - youth, music, provides lots of liturature etc
fun to write wiith a young voice for a young audience
“it’s amazing to work for such a powerful organization”
Merging environmental issues and animal issues?
Leigh-Chantelle: didn’t use “v” word, didn’t market as enviro festival, invited veg food carts
How to “fix” vegan movement?
Ryan: try not to step on each other’s toes, try to find ways to work with other people from other issues
How to incorporate more activism into foodie blogs?
Chelsea: be true to who you are, daily life is blogable
Does fostering activism in kids/young people stick? and what can people do?
Sunny: tshirts and totes that encourage veganism, online petitions, replacing home products with vegan options, encouraging parents to eat veg, kids will stick with it if they have a community
How to make local events bigger?
Isa: media attention, taking part in campaigns that are already national/international, staying part of activism community
Does your previous experience come in handy in activism?
Leigh-Chantelle: music background has helped feel comfortable to speaking and interact with media
Ryan: music scene made it easier to travel for activism
Sunny: journalism background has helped
For anyone who has never considered themselves an activist, how to get involved?
Chelsea: ignore the word activist and just follow your heart to do the things you feel need to get done in order to make change
How do you avoid burnout?
Sunny: step back and take a little vacation when things feel overwhelming
Ryan: go outside and experience nature
Jasmin: find community and safe spaces
Isa: stuff like this conference
Leigh-Chantelle: community and football
Questions from audience:
- Inspired by Chelsea’s post about being ourselves and finding our ownbeauty – how does it relate to activism?
response: it helps you spread your message because people can feel your comfort with yourself, everyone can help themselves become better activists by accepting themselves
- How do you find that fine line between wanting to be approachable vs diluting the message; how to be honest without alientating people or seeming strident?
response: ask someone to read post before publishing, leave room to change and modify. you’re not speaking for everyone, you’re speaking for yourself. You can unpublish if you need to. Let the food do the talking
- How do we change vegan food into activism?
response: write letters to the editor about food, bake once a week for office and give recipes, organizing holiday event and invite nonvegans
- How to not be divisive?
response: it’s your blog and say what you want to say, just accept that vegans fight. Ask questions, engage the conversation. “the world of infightinng is the world of wasting time”
- How do you market events to attract the “inactivists”?
response: bake sales, meetups with activism component, build community and trust
- How to get media attention?
response: professional press release, find the vegans in the media, use CNN ireport, link your event to something else newsworthy
maintain media connections, celebrity, use your own story
ourhenhouse guide for getting media attention
- How to fuse our identities? (vegan feminist, for example)
response: consider people as people, complex beings
To read notes from other panels at Vida Vegan Con, the conference for vegan bloggers, please go here: http://www.vegansoapbox.com/topics/vvc2011/
UPDATE: The video from the Vida Vegan Con panel on activism. Here it is: