How to spread our way of life.

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Dsalles
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How to spread our way of life.

Post by Dsalles » Tue May 15, 2018 8:12 pm

Many vegans are live-and-let-live, but I at least would all like there to be more of us. How do we spread veganism?
First of all, why are we happy to keep it to ourselves? The world could be a much better place if there were more of us.

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Wed May 16, 2018 2:10 am

The best way seems to be to share personal stories, and avoid anything people will take as an attack or a moral claim. It's hard, since it is a moral issue.
Just talking about how this or that made you feel like X and you feel better being vegan. Also, objective things like climate change can be good arguments, if you promote reduction, you're more likely to get people on board, and then reduction can turn into elimination once they realize it's possible. For many people, they just can't imagine themselves being vegan from where they are.

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Dsalles
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Post by Dsalles » Wed May 16, 2018 5:42 pm

Has that non-threatening approach worked?
I hate to bring up other fundamental changes in society like the abolition of slavery but that one was profoundly moral, as well as utilitarian.

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Post by Porphyry » Wed May 16, 2018 7:38 pm

I'm not sure that there is a formula that can be applied in all circumstances. Some people do not want to discuss ethical issues, others are very passionately committed to their current stance. When I look on my own life and how I have changed my mind on a number of issues I observe that it was a fairly slow process. There is a lot of misinformation about being vegan and perhaps that can be countered when it is brought up. I tend to send people to a youtube vegan site. I think it also depends on how skillful you are at handling disputes. There are a range of possible approaches:
1. Humor. Cracking jokes about flesh eating can be an effective way of opening up a discussion.
2. Data. Particularly health related data. This is tough, though, because there are a lot of conflicting assertions, so this approach can take a long time.
3. Philosophy. Drawing out the implications of a flesh eating approach to life can be helpful provided the person you are talking to values consistency. Not everyone does.
4. Setting an example. Living as a vegan and simply letting people know in an easy and natural way can open the door to further discussion. Like when someone invites you over for dinner you can let them know you are vegan and if that is a problem you'd be happy to bring your own meal so as to not burden the cook.
5. Historical. I value this approach. There are communities that have been vegan, or vegetarian, for many generations. Most of these are religious, but they are a valuable resource even if you are not religious yourself. Jains, East Asian Buddhist Monastics, Platonists, Seventh Day Adventists, some Taoist communities, etc. These often have the plus of being kind of exotic for most people and therefore inherently interesting. Knowing the history of these groups and how they instantiate their dietary commitments can be a way to introduce some people to the fact that many people down through the centuries have followed this way of life.
6. Personal stories and anecdotes. While not scientific, personal stories are often a way of making the vegan way more real to people. Data and inference are, for many people, abstract and difficult to internalize. Stories are more accessible.
7. Developing a public voice. Not everyone is inclined this way, or capable in this way. But some people are skillful at developing a youtube channel, writing a book, creating a blog or a facebook page; things like that.

I'm sure there are others, but these are a few I thought of in response to your post.

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Wed May 16, 2018 11:16 pm

Dsalles wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 5:42 pm
Has that non-threatening approach worked?
It's more of a grass-roots approach. Street evangelism is very effective... but it also puts a lot of responsibility on individuals to spread it.

Institutional approaches are probably better, and they benefit from veganism being safe and socially acceptable.
Dsalles wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 5:42 pm
I hate to bring up other fundamental changes in society like the abolition of slavery but that one was profoundly moral, as well as utilitarian.
Well we don't want to end up with a civil war. Violence worked better in the past than it does now. We live in a very different world, and analogies aren't great. But there is this:

The Cotton Gin was one of the primary drivers of abolition, because it made it economically plausible. We need to see the same from a vegan perspective, with people switching to veganism or plant-based replacements becoming more prominent.

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Post by Dsalles » Thu May 17, 2018 9:21 pm

brimstoneSalad wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 11:16 pm

Dsalles wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 5:42 pm
I hate to bring up other fundamental changes in society like the abolition of slavery but that one was profoundly moral, as well as utilitarian.
Well we don't want to end up with a civil war. Violence worked better in the past than it does now. We live in a very different world, and analogies aren't great. But there is this:

The Cotton Gin was one of the primary drivers of abolition, because it made it economically plausible. We need to see the same from a vegan perspective, with people switching to veganism or plant-based replacements becoming more prominent.
I would not want a civil war, no. But your country is the only one that had one to free slaves. Everywhere else it was done peacefully. Actually I do not know this for sure but from the few cases I do know, the US was the only place that had a huge war over it.

The Cotton Gin example is very interesting. I think a few, well-placed entrepeneurs can make a big impact. Make it easy. Where I live it is very difficult to be vegan, and I am almost there. I do sometimes give up and eat cheese mostly due to social awkwardness.

People here have an adverse reaction to veganism, although not as bad as their reaction to illegal drug use, abortion or atheism. The reaction against homosexuality has changed drastically, and most people do not smoke anymore. So changes do happen here. I got a little sidetracked, but the point is, even though veganism is ridiculed, it is not considered as bad as some other things.

Two people I know here started eating more meat on advice from their doctors. They say they were not getting enough of certain nutrients.

But you are right, making it easy to eat non-meat is key. I want to do something in that direction. I want to provide nutrients and taste.

But there also has to be an imperative, because I have seen the argument made against veganism: yes meat is not necessary, but so what, lots of things I do are not necessary. I do not imagine that anybody here thinks eating meat is just an anti-utilitarian choice. We all know it is wrong.

Anyway Thanks for accompanying me in brainstorming
Last edited by Dsalles on Thu May 17, 2018 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Dsalles
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Post by Dsalles » Thu May 17, 2018 9:43 pm

Thank you for your thoughts, Porphyry, I agree with them.

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Post by PsYcHo » Thu May 17, 2018 11:43 pm

Dsalles wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 8:12 pm
Many vegans are live-and-let-live, but I at least would all like there to be more of us. How do we spread veganism?
First of all, why are we happy to keep it to ourselves? The world could be a much better place if there were more of us.
I think a good place to start is with accepting that Veganism isn't mainstream, and acknowlodging that anything not mainstream will be met with sceptisism.

I never took Vegans seriously because the ones (Vegans) most likely to interact with me were the militant type; they thought their heated justifications would shut down my arguments against Veganism. But the thing they overlooked was that most people like me don't neccesarrily use logical reasoning when debating on the internet. It's often just yelling into the void based upon the beliefs you already hold.

I joined this forum to argue with the angry Vegans... for fun. (The original name of this forum was" The Vegan Atheist". I liked his vids about religion.)

But I didn't meet a bunch of angry Vegans here. I met several understanding individuals who questioned my beliefs, but didn't try to make me feel like an idiot for not following their dietary path.

I think the best path is gentle persuasion, while understanding that even gentle advocation will be met with animosity at times. Responding to animosity with more animosity does nothing to achieve the end goal of educating those who will be perceptive to the general message that Veganism is the more moral path.

Be an advocate, but be gentle, and ignore those who engage with animosity. The persons most likely to listen will see their(those who use knee-jerk attacks against Vegans) animosity, and be more likely to listen to your non-provactive message.

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Post by Lay Vegan » Fri May 18, 2018 1:44 am

Whether it be writing a book, filming a video, participating (or donating) to a campaign, delivering a speech, or just conversing with others (in real life or on Internet forums like this one) they're all are great opportunities to spread veganism. I’d avoid thinking in terms of “converting,” people since we’re not a cult, and people tend go on the defense when they feel their way of life is being threatened. Try instead to think in terms of exposing or influencing others toward veganism.

Different strokes for different folks holds *some* merit, but the less aggressive and more rational & compassionate approach is probably more effective. Again, if most people feel they’re being threatened or challenged, they’ll just close their ears. Plus, public shaming, shock tactics (gory footage, fear appeal) and blatant anger can only go so far before the effects begin to fade on your audience. Reasoned discussion has a much longer-lasting effect. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLqLe0nciz0 Pugnacious activism is also mentally taxing and self-destructive (Gary Yourofsky is a perfect example).

I think we can best help to spread vegansm by making it “the new normal.” By engaging openly and honestly with non vegans about all aspects of our lifestyle (ethics, health, environment), being empathetic toward the unique challenges people face in being vegan, and just “living by example.” I don’t think veganism always has to be some dramatic political statement or solemn vow. Also, supporting vegan/plant-based alternatives (mock meats, synthetic fur & leather) make our lifestyle more attainable, and much easier to stick to.

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