People are slowly waking up to the plight of farmed animals and the term “vegan” has made its way into the mainstream lexicon. Vegan options are popping up on menus everywhere and store shelves are stocked with more vegan products than ever before. Yet, there is still a long way to go, and sometimes it can feel as though the world isn’t paying attention. Heartbreaking undercover investigations are released regularly. Big Ag and certain congressmen continue their efforts to block even the most feeble protections for farmed animals. People that know the origins of their food and have other options still choose animal products.
The other day I was flipping through radio stations in my car on the way to work. Unable to find anything worth listening to, I stopped on a random station. When the commercials ended, the DJs spoke about the scientific method of titration and applied it to various disciplines. This is how they explained titration: titration is taking one substance and slowly adding in another, one drop at a time, until a chemical reaction occurs. It may take a while to get there and seem for a time as though nothing is happening, but eventually one final drop pushes it over the edge. I was never all that into science class — and I realize that this is a very stripped down version of the concept — but it resonated with me nonetheless.
I began to see titration everywhere. Practice and commitment, little by little, transform unfamiliar tasks into new habits or skills. Go way back, for instance, to the first time you tried to ride a bike sans training wheels. Most likely you weaved and wobbled, and probably didn’t make it very far before you made contact with the ground. But you kept at it until one day you just got it and were able to effortlessly glide over the pavement, wind in your hair.
Titration applies to our environment and the people with whom we surround ourselves. For better or worse, they often slowly influence us.
And then I realized that this concept of titration applies perfectly to animal advocacy as well. One of the most effective ways to be an advocate for the animals and bring about lasting change, in my opinion, is to reach people little by little. Meet them where they are. Inform and inspire by living by example. Be a voice for the animals. Plant seeds.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Be kind.
- Share really good food. Especially baked goods.
- Live your life honestly and joyfully.
- Make and share cookies.
- Don’t judge.
- Loan out (or giveaway) copies of vegan literature.
- Remember that you once ate meat, too.
- Share information in a way that is appropriate for the audience and environment.
- Invite people over for a home-cooked vegan meal.
- Recognize the steps people take towards eating less animal products.
- Be a cheerleader/support system.
- Share your story (here’s mine!)
Someone might not feel compelled or ready to make changes now, but one day they may. Showing your enthusiasm and support (and thereby debunking the stereotype of the angry vegan) and preparing a great meal for someone could ultimately help make them more receptive to the vegan message when, for example, they later hear about an undercover investigation on the news. You never know what will happen. The seeds you plant can sprout in ways and places that may surprise you — and often in ways you may never see.
While I would love to see a vegan world some day, an all-or-nothing mentality does little to advance any cause. It’s true that some people will never change, but many people can and will. And whatever that change means — whether it is to go vegan, to be vegan-at-home or vegan-before-six, or to do Meatless Mondays or make one vegan meal a week — collectively, it all makes a difference. Little by little, any step taken to reduce suffering is helpful. If everyone went veg even just one day a week, it’d save well over a billion animals. That’s huge and definitely worth celebrating.
Here’s to planting seeds of compassion and helping to bring about change for a kinder world.